PORTAGEVILLE - Mrs. Audrey Cornelia Smith Hatchel, 95, died peacefully in her sleep on July 6, 2007, at Community Hospital in Anderson, Ind. She looked forward, as she said, to being "carried by angels into the Presence of Jesus." She had been living in Anderson since March 15, 2006 under the care of her nephew and niece, Gilbert and Darlene Stafford.
Mrs. Hatchel was born in Covington, Tenn., Oct. 20, 1911, to the late John and Cora Smith. The Smith family moved to Portageville when she was 7 years old.
In 1930, she married Jesse L. Hatchel. Mr. and Mrs. Hatchel were among the first families to establish the First Church of God in Portageville where they served in many capacities over the years. For many years she served as secretary of the congregation, working alongside her husband who served as treasurer. For over 70 years she was a Sunday school teacher, first, of children, and in her later years, of senior adults. Often she served as supply preacher for pastors who had to be away from their pulpits. She also spoke at special services in camp meetings, rallies, and missionary gatherings. She was a co-founder of the local Women of the Church of God serving in many capacities including President, Historian, and Spiritual Life Director. She taught special courses in the local congregation such as one on Basic Christian Doctrine, and wrote curriculum for the first Vacation Bible School the church had. She worked at Segal's Department Store and then for 30 years, until her retirement, in baby wear and the ladies dress department of Marr's Clothing Store in Portageville.
In addition to her parents, preceding her in death were her dear Christian husband, Jesse Lee Hatchel who died February 7, 1987; all five of her siblings: Albert Rudolph Smith in infancy, J. Dewey Smith, Jesse Trice Smith, Orell Elvesta Stafford and Mary Ruth Pery; a nephew, Morris Smith; and a niece, Sue Hatchel Propst.
Surviving her are two brothers-in-law, J. L. Hatchel of Sulphur Springs, Ind. and D. C. (and Arietta) Stafford of Anderson, Ind.; two sisters-in-law, Deen (and Jack) Luttrell of Shreveport, La. and Betty (and Jack) McCauley of Clinton Township, Mich.; her beloved nieces and nephews: Inell Walker (and Vester) Robinson of Portageville; Charles (and Diane) Hatchel of Indianapolis, Brenda Hatchel (and Bill) Maurer of Marmora, N.J.; Deloris Smith (widow of Morris) of Shreveport; Myron Smith of Hot Springs, Ark.; Faye Smith (and Louis) Christian of Bossier City La.; Tami Smith (and Bruce) Branch of Benton, La.; Lani Smith(and Randy) Brown of Keithville, La.; Denna Smith (and Bobby) Ogden of Benton; Wendell Lee Smith (and Bob) Hamil of Scott City; Ruby Shirlene Smith (and Gery) Frech of Boyne City, Mich.; Garry DeWayne (and Margaret) Smith of Southaven, Miss.; Nancy Sue Hunt (and Jerry) Lawlor of Edmond, Okla.; Gilbert Wayne (and Darlene) Stafford of Anderson, Ind.; Larry Dale Stafford of Rockville, Md.; Rodney Kent (and Donna) Stafford of Fairfax, Va; Alicia Ruth Achten (and Larry) Burbidge of Beaverton, Ore.; George Colbourne of Rockville, Md.; and many grand and great-grand nieces and nephews who also knew her as a beloved aunt.
"Miss" Audrey, "Sister" Audrey, "Aunt" Audrey, as she was variously known, will be remembered for her steadfast faith, her gracious hospitality, her love of family, her cooking, and for her desire always to look her best.
Visitation will be from 6-9 p.m. on Tuesday at DeLisle Funeral Home in Portageville. The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, at First Church of God, 500 King Ave. in Portageville with Pastor Robert E. Kespelher officiating.
Burial will be in Portageville Cemetery.
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Memorial gifts in honor of Audrey C. Hatchel may be given for
The new Family Life Center First Church of God
500 King Avenue
Portageville, MO 63873
Checks are payable to First Church of God