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Barbara Jane “B.J.” Smith Gadd

Barbara Jane “B.J.” Smith Gadd, 58, received the best Christmas present ever, rejoicing in the heavenly choir and seeing the face of Jesus on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017. Born on July 10, 1959, in Amory, she was a daughter of Illa Ree Basham Smith and the late Curtis Taylor Smith, Sr.

B.J. graduated from Amory High School with the class of 1977. She then attended Itawamba Junior College (IJC) before obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Music at the University of Mississippi. She married her loving husband, Ronnie, on May 19, 1984, and they were blessed with two children, Hannah and Harley. She was most pleased with her children’s accomplishments and was an especially devoted and supportive mother. B.J. was a very proud member of the Ole Miss Alumni Association and the Ole Miss Pride of the South Alumni Band. She loved everything about the Ole Miss Rebels and was a very active fan.

B.J. had a special disposition for teaching and her career led her to many different places where she impacted many children and students. After graduating, she began her career in music by directing a performing group, The Miracles, at the Baddour Center. She then worked as a choir director for the Aberdeen School District, where she touched many lives, from elementary students to high school level students. She was very supportive of her students and attended every sporting event and activity that she could. Later, B.J. worked as the First Baptist Church “Wee Wisdom” preschool director.  After spreading God’s love to numerous children who adored her, she left there to pursue a career as the Nettleton High School choir director. B.J. had a passion for encouraging students of all ages to be their very best self, and she fostered a joy for learning about music. She often served as a “second mom” or “Mama Gadd” to countless students who knew her and loved her. Before retiring, she served as the music teacher for the Monroe County School District at Hatley Schools.

B.J.’s strong faith was the center of her life, and her purpose was to spread God’s love and help others. She attended First Baptist Church of Amory and was a member of Central Grove Baptist Church in Wren, where she was a member of the choir. She enjoyed working in both children’s ministries as well as music ministries. She would always quote her favorite Bible verse, Philippians 4:13: “For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” She was a huge inspiration to all who had the blessing of meeting her. B.J. was known for her spunk and enthusiasm, and she always reached people through her kind nature. It is an understatement to say that she reached many children and students through her teaching and passion for music. She was well loved, and she will remain in the hearts of those who knew her forever.

B.J.’s family brought great joy to her life, and she enjoyed spending time with them. In her spare time, she enjoyed canning. She loved to bake for all occasions, and she was known for making stunning and delicious cakes. Most of all, B.J. loved her family. She was always there for her children throughout every event in their lives, and she cherished them both beyond measure.

B.J. leaves behind a legacy of strength and inspiration. Fret not because she is singing praises in her Father’s Holy choir. And if she could speak to us from Heaven, there is no doubt that she would say one thing to all of us: “Hotty Toddy! Now, go do something good for somebody!”

B.J.  is survived by her husband, Ronnie Joe Gadd, Wren; mother, Illa Ree Smith, Wren; daughter, Hannah Elaine Gadd, Oxford; son, Harley Benjamin Gadd, Wren; sister, Vicki Langford (Dale), Wren; brothers, Curtis “Buddy” Smith (Susan) and Robert Smith (Tracy) of Wren; nieces and nephews, Taylor Langford (Molly) and Kelly Matthews (Jim).

She was preceded in death by her father, Curtis T. Smith, Sr.

Her funeral service will be at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017, at Central Grove Baptist Church in Wren with Bro. Dennis Smithey officiating. Burial will be in Liberty Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Tommy Ash, Tim Blake, Roger Cavazos, Taylor Langford, Dale Langford, Buddy Smith, Robert Smith, and Will Smithey.

Visitation will be Wednesday, Dec. 27, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday, at the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to be sent to the B.J. Gadd Memorial Scholarship, P.O. Box 703 Amory, MS 38821. Donations may also be made directly to her scholarship fund through Renasant Bank.

Memories and condolences can be shared with her family at EEPickleFuneralHome.com