Elder Betty Jean Smith Booker, D. Min
Faithful Daughter, Sister, Mother, Aunt, Nana, Friend, Professor, and Parishioner
Betty Jean Smith Booker, quietly transitioned on Tuesday, October 29, 2019. Born in Columbia, South Carolina on March 5, 1942, the fourth child of Brazil Everett Smith Sr. (deceased) and Jennie Lee Mozie Smith (deceased), at the age of two she was relocated to Washington, DC where she was educated in the District of Columbia Public School System. Education, both spiritual and secular, were of utmost importance in Betty's life. Her children will tell you, "Mymom loved going to school and getting degrees."
Following public school, Betty continued her education at the District of Columbia Teachers College (Washington, DC) and in 1972, earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in business education and a minor in English. She went on to earn a Master of Business Education degree from the University of the District of Columbia (Washington, DC) in 1980.
As can be seen from the preceding, Betty was rooted and grounded in spiritual knowledge and leadership. When the Smith family relocated to Washington, DC from Columbia, South Carolina, they aligned with the Trinidad Baptist Church, Washington, DC, under the pastorate of the late Reverend Shellie Lee Gardner, with whom Betty remained until his retirement from the Randall Memorial Baptist Church.
Although 1012 Florida Avenue was the official Smith family house, Lawrence street (the Booker home) became the second official family house. Many family gatherings were held there, and if you traveled from out of town, you stayed there.
Elder Booker was affectionately called Betty and Betty Boo by her siblings, Mymom by her children, Mom by BJ and Nette Nette, Gamma by Dani Boo, Mom by Daniel L. Booker III, and Nana, her most favored name, by the other grands and great grands.
Under Rev. Gardner's leadership at Randall, Betty, as a young adult, became a member of the senior choir. She headed the Christian Fellowship Singers and made their anniversary robes. Betty also served as a Sunday School and Vacation Bible School teacher, a trustee, and, for many years, chairman of the Trustee Board. She also helped organize the annual Everybody's Birthday celebrations that were held in July. For many years she chaired the church's anniversary as well as the pastor's anniversary celebrations.
Betty absolutely loved being a member of Randall and no other church quite measured up to her beloved church. There from its inception to the end, Elder Betty Jean Smith Booker was the last original member of the Randall Memorial Baptist Church.
Following Rev. Gardner's retirement, the Reverend (now Bishop) Earl A. Ross was called to pastor the Randall Memorial Baptist Church (now New Smyrna Missionary Baptist Church, Washington, DC). Dr. Booker remained under the pastorate of Bishop Ross and was a faithful and contributing member for over fifty years. It was at New Smyrna that Elder Booker became an ordained minister. She and her pastor, Bishop Earl A. Ross, shared a very special, longtime relationship. They enjoyed joking with each other. They shared a bond that couldn’t be broken.
Praise and worship was in Betty's blood. In 1978, she started attending United Pentecostal Church around the corner from her house when New Smyrna did not have a service. She became the adopted daughter of Pastor Harvey and Mother Lewis. United became her second family and it was there she the received the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
Elder Booker never tired of learning about the Lord and believed in supporting ministries that increased her spiritual maturity. For decades she has been a regular contributor to Jimmy Swaggart Ministries.
Not only was Elder Booker ever ready to frequent God's house, she was also meticulous in the selection of her church attire, and no outfit was complete without a carefully coordinated hat, shoes, purse, and sweet-smelling fragrance, especially on Sundays. She loved jewelry and always had to wear a watch.
Family was another significant facet of Elder Booker's life. She enjoyed being with family and participating in family events. Betty had no problem showering her family and those she loved with gifts and was not slack in making provisions for them. Betty Booker was so excited about the birth of her first grandchild that during the blizzard of 1979, with the help of her children, she shoveled the steps, sidewalk, and street down to the corner so that nothing would hinder the birth of her namesake, Betty Jean King, affectionately known as BJ.
Elder Booker was skilled in many areas. She physically tore down walls, put up sheet rock and paneling. She knitted and crotched blankets and quilts for her family in their favorite colors and even made jewelry for herself and others.
Elder Booker has several favorite Scriptures, but the one closest to her heart is “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Betty enjoyed quartet music and going with her friend, Mrs. Bing, to WUST to hear the quartets sing. She also enjoyed country music, secular and gospel. Two the of many songs she enjoyed were Earlston Ford's “Before Your Life Is Too Far Gone” and The Sensational Nightingales' “See You in the Rapture”.
Dr. Booker joined the faculty of the Maple Springs Baptist College and Seminary in 1998 as an adjunct professor. In the words of Maple Springs Executive Director Tim Washington, Dr. Booker "was a person of great integrity, morals and ethics" who "brought dignity, character and a wealth of knowledge" wherever she went. She was pleased to serve in whatever capacity she was needed, often assisting students, fellow faculty members, and the administrative staff in a volunteer capacity. Dr. Booker was a faculty member in the Church Vocations, Religious Education, and Bible and Theology Departments of both the Bible College and the Seminary Divisions. She served as department chair of Church Vocations in the seminary division, and eventually rose to the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Dr. Booker was also a professor at the Greater New Hope Crusade Christian College in Baltimore, MD for four years and a member of the United Baptist Ministers Evening Conference of Baltimore, MD and Vicinity, Incorporated, where she served in various capacities, including News Commentator, Conference Usher, and membership on the Devotional, Public Relations, and Banquet Committees. She has also served as keynote speaker at seminars and conferences and has presented numerous seminars and workshops. Dr. Booker often taught Bible Study on 1340AM WYCB on Saturday mornings.
For more than 20 years, every Tuesday, Dr. Booker attended the Renaissance Senior Academy, under the directorship of Lisa Weathers, at Galilee Baptist Church, where she was one of the Bible Study Teachers. They often enjoyed delicious lunches and field trips. Every Tuesday for 20 years, Rev. Booker (as she was called), Ms. Mary Russell, Ms. Mary Walker, Deaconess Laura Brown, and Teresa Russell always sat at the same table. She was especially close to Dea. Walter and Mrs. Jordan, Rev. Thomas and Lillian Byrd, and Ms. Mary Russell. They learned together how to make jewelry and other crafty projects.
Elder Booker also attended, and sometimes taught, Bible Study on Thursdays at The Gathering with Pastor Richard Swain at Christ Church of Light and Salvation. She enjoyed the fellowship and often bragged about Pastor Swain’s cooking, especially his potato salad.
If you were blessed to ride in the 1969 Green Dodge Dart or other vehicles you were privileged (sarcastically) to hear the music of Charlie Pride. Just ask any of her children, siblings, or nieces or nephews. Charlie Pride and radio station WMZQ was automatic in any of her vehicles.
Some of her funny rituals were only touch the first paper towel, always write the mileage down whenever you were driving her car. Never leave dishes in the sink. To her family she was Betty. Outside of that if her name her response was always Betty Jean Smith Booker.
Dr. Booker was a patient at Fresenius Kidney Care for approximately 15 years. She always made sure she arrived at least by 5:15am although she didn’t need to arrive until 6am. Mr. Washington, her parking buddy, would faithfully tap on the hood of her car at the exact time on dialysis days to wake her up. Thank you, Mr. Washington, for always looking out for her. Thank you, nurses and other patients, for being her early morning family three days a week.
Left to carry on her legacy are her five children, Jennie Lee Booker, Pastor Vanessa Denise Booker Willis (Reverend Kevin David Sr), Reverend Daniel Louis Booker Jr, Minister Marsha Lynette Booker, and Derrick Linwood Booker (Devita Shaunta ); grandchildren Minister Betty Jean King (Minister Vincent Arness,), Lynette Denise Thompson-Cole (David Lee), Danielle LaWanda Ross (Karlston (Ice) deceased), Gabrielle Kay Willis, Ivana Joy Willis, Daniel Louis Booker III, Andrѐa Nicole Willis, Kevin David Willis II, Danae Lynise Booker, Derrian Shauntay Booker, Derrick Linwood Booker, Ayana Yelis Cooper and Ayesha Yasmeen Cooper; great grandchildren Mikale Devon Thompson, Makhai David Thompson, Kaiden Alexander Ross, Kyelle Alexis Ross, and Heaven Leigh Coles; Greysen Simone King, Bennet Jonah King, and Bryson Neziah Booker, her longtime friend, Daniel Louis Booker Sr and Regina Booker; and her siblings, Delores Ann Frye, Jacqueline Florine Petty, Dr. Sandra Anita Howard (Dr. Robert Lee Sr), Vivian Mozene Saulters, Patricia Martin Smith, Sharon Smith Badon, Arnold Smith Sr. (Joyce Marie), Ronald Smith Sr (Yvonne Belinda), Renita Smith, David Daniel Smith Sr (Angie), Denise Smith Copper, and LaVerne Smith Graham. Elder Booker also leaves a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Elder Booker, now resting with her Savior, has rejoined her father, Brazil Everette, mother, Jennie Lee, big brothers Brazil and Rodney, and baby sister, Cordelia (Dee Dee).