Glenna Pearl Smyer, 97, daughter of William and Nora Sigman, was born in Elk Creek, Missouri, in Texas County on July 24, 1921. She went home to be with her Savior on March 16, 2019 at Morning Side Assisted Living East in Springfield, Missouri, following a long bout with congestive heart failure.
She was united in marriage on December 11, 1939 to Rev. Payton Smyer in West Plains, Missouri, and to this union, four daughters were born: Myrna, Carla, Colene and Carol Jane. Today, this family includes three sons-in-law, Charles Jent (Myrna), Frank Howell (Carla), and Harvey Hank (Colene); two grandchildren, Bradley and Tiffany Jent; two great-grandchildren, Payton and Preston Herd; and two nieces, Betty Waters Carlson and Virginia Francis Coats.
She was preceded in death by her husband Payton Hubert Smyer; daughter, Carol Jane; her parents, Will and Nora Sigman; and two sisters, Dollie Waters and Hazel Francis.
Pearl spent her lifetime in the Texas County area, where she raised her family as well as performed the duties of a minister’s wife. Although she was known by others as having a quiet manner and being extremely shy, she was recognized by members throughout the community for her gifts of baking and quilting.
Many hours of her young life were spent on child care, which seemed the usual for every new mother. She washed and ironed clothing, gave hundreds of baths, sewed up rips in dresses, shortened the length of hems in a frugal attempt of passing garments to the next in line, and endlessly replaced lost buttons. Additionally, she tirelessly stitched angel costumes out of blue, yellow, pink, and white crepe paper for her little girls to proudly wear in Christmas programs.
Then, each evening after her family had gone to dreamland, she would sit at the kitchen table and practice her stitches as she followed the easy quilting patterns given to her by the Steely Chapel Church Ladies’ Aid Society. In fact, it was a well-known Smyer family joke that her husband teasingly accused her of accidently getting a raveling thread on his plate for dinner.
However, unbeknownst to Pearl, the ability to cook and quilt she had frequently used in her earlier life as a mother, that she considered as “just something everyone did at the time,” would be used by her Heavenly Father in an extraordinary manner to help the downtrodden in society. At age 88, now a widow, Pearl’s motto of never spending much time looking back over life propelled her into that of creating a ministry during her winter years by using her ability to quilt as a way to provide warmth and comfort for abused children within the Greene County area. Having accumulated numerous barrels of cloth scraps from her years of quilting, the Holy Spirit replayed in her mind a comment her son-in-law made after having served as a CASA worker when he stated, “Most abused children are pulled from their homes wearing just the clothes on their backs.” Recalling these words, her soul was troubled for several days until a solution formed in her mind. Thus, not saying a word to anyone, she went into action.
As a result, day after day, she spent countless hours in her basement sewing room creating machine-made scrap quilts in various sizes for the little children that were in need of comfort. As she tirelessly cut and sewed the quilts, her motivation was to picture in her mind their smiles while being wrapped in threads of love. When her friend Ruby witnessed her efforts, she offered support by delivering batting and additional supplies toward the effort. As a result, almost 700 quilts were donated to CASA, Isabel’s House, and Glendale Garden’s Nursing Home in Springfield.
Then, at age 95, when anyone walked into Pearl’s kitchen, it would smell just like a bakery due to the tantalizing goodies she had prepared for people in the community. When her group of friends from Mt. Pisgah Freewill Baptist Church held their holiday bake sale, she would stay up all night creating fried pies, donuts, enormous cinnamon rolls, cookies, brownies and pies of every flavor just so they could continue to help their fellow man.
Consequently, on the morning of the bazaar after the hot bakery items were carefully packed in the car, it appeared like a parade moving down 910 Patton Avenue in Cabool, as people followed behind her red Oldsmobile, desirous of purchasing a delicious goodie made by Pearl before they were all gone. Startled by it all, she would peer through the rear window exclaiming, “What is wrong with people? It’s just bakery stuff!”
Services were held Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. at Evans Funeral Home with Pastor David Carroll officiating. Burial was in Steely Chapel Cemetery under the direction of Evans Funeral Home. Pallbearers were Dale Flanagan, Quincy Flanagan, Montie Friend, Arlene Friend, Roland Smyer, Payton Herd and Preston Herd.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Pearl Smyer’s name be sent to Mt. Pisgah Ladies’ Aid, Cabool, or Regional Hospice, 3405 W. Mt. Vernon St., Springfield, MO 65802.