Senior Report: Jennabeth Smythe

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA. (KPLC) -Jennebeth Smythe is a woman whose many years as secretary to the Calcasieu Police Jury earned her a place in the hearts of many associated with local government.

Her recent death calls to mind professionalism that will be remembered now and in the future.

It's hard to believe, for some in parish government, that it's been 17 years since Jennabeth retired.  Her last meeting, February 23rd 1994, was a memorable one, when the late police juror Darrel Derouen's tribute was a good bye like no other. He sprang over the police jury table to give her a big hug.

That was a memorable night and Jennabeth's recent death February 4th again calls to mind her years of service which spanned three decades. Former Calcasieu Administrator Mark McMurry says her legacy was her professionalism.  "Jennabeth was the quintessential perfectionist and professional. Her minutes made probably all of us sound a lot smarter than we really were."

Her official signature can be found on thousands of documents in the parish archives. McMurry explains, "You might be reading the minutes to see what that discussion was when that particular ordinance or resolution was passed and her name is at the bottom of every one of those. The signature is indelible in my mind and I'm sure in most of the employees minds around here who have to research those minutes."

Kathy Smith is now the parish secretary, but Jennabeth was her mentor and friend.  "Jennabeth had a flair for enjoying life. She lived life to the fullest. Everything she did she put 100% into it. I think that's why she was so well known in the community and successful at her job as well as her contributions to the different organizations she was involved in."

Jennabeth's spirit will no doubt live on in the hearts of those she touched over the years, as well as in the parish archives where for years to come those researching records will see that familiar signature. Jennabeth had suffered a series of strokes in recent years before her death February 4th. She worked for the Police Jury for 33 years.

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