97 Years Escaping “Valleys of Shadows of Death” Edwena Smith Taylor and Hezeree Jackson Smith 

Edwena Smith Taylor and Hezeree Jackson Smith 

Handwritten by Edwena Smith Taylor, eldest daughter, Edited by Al Calloway

In our modern society, many people choose not to trust the Sacred Words of Holy Bible.  Mrs. Hezeree Jackson Smith, turned 97, May 14, 2022, is not one of those, in fact she is just the opposite! She explicitly trusts Sacred Words of the Holy Bible, KJV, preferably. Her five living children of an original eight, can attest to this fact, and that she has escaped from many “valleys of shadows of death”.

As a tidbit of this truth, hear her major escapes of just the last 13 months. Her fourth daughter, Onetta Justine Drayton became deathly ill and entered hospice in May 2021. Though injured herself, Mrs. Hezeree travelled to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to mother and minister to Onetta, who later, passed away in August. At the Memorial Service at McWhite Chapel in Ft. Lauderdale on December 11, 2021, Mrs. Hezeree had the attendees in stitches of laughter as she shared her pregnancy experience of Onetta. In September of the same year, she was stricken with the Covid-19 virus, and underwent 44 days of quarantined illness. Then in March, she underwent colon cancer surgery! As if that was not enough, on Good Friday, she fell, but did not break a single bone! Having escaped and survived this deluge of events, circumstances, and experiences, we can hardly wait for her to emerge from her current “valley of the shadows of death” into the sunlight of abundant life one more time!

On May 14, 2022, joy was the order of the day because, to honor her 97th birthday, Ethel overruled her mother’s wishes to “not make a big deal of it”. Ethel, her four siblings (Edwena, Dwight Errick, Jacquelyn, and Hezekiah), Mrs. Hezeree’s grands, great grands, great, great grands and those of her nieces and nephews of her nine deceased siblings, plus extended family members showed up in a “Drive by or Zoom in” surprise party. Mrs. Smith was overjoyed!

One of her life’s greatest joys have been sharing her ancestral history as a native-born Mississippian. Her Father, Hezekiah Jackson and Mother, Blanch Williams Jackson were landowners of 23½ acres in the early 1900’s. Around 1960 or thereafter, when a lawyer declared, without a shadow of doubt, that Mrs. Hezeree’s dad never could have put property in her mother’s name, she challenged him. He met the challenge, did his research, and found the three and a half acres deeded to her mother, just as she said he would. He was astounded!    Mrs. Hezeree has passed on three and a half acres of that land, land and a home that was owned by her maternal grandmother, Mrs. Lucy Williams, as well as a Broward home and property, to progeny, as generational wealth.

Mrs. Hezeree has walked through many “valleys of the shadows of death” and each time, she victoriously emerged from each valley into the sunlight of life.  She shared gospel and light with her husband, children, the churches, and the world as a Foster Grandparent, Mother of the International Chaplains of Florida, businesswoman and owner of Fair Deal Beauty Shop (currently evolved to Ethel’s Beauty Salon), wife, mother, and musician.

Recently, Hezeree said to a daughter, “What do you think of asking the Westside Gazette to write an article on me and post the names of everyone who called, came, and showered me with gifts to commemorate my 97th birthday and post the amounts of money? Since a “picture is worth a thousand words” here’s “thank you” to all your wonderful family and friends who drove by or zoomed in to wish her the best birthday ever!

She publicly thanks each of you through the Westside Gazette!



About Carma Henry 24585 Articles
Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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