Early Settlers of
Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
The influence of a good woman: Renva Smith Acree
In physical stature she was small. In influence and good works she was stalwart and productive. She wore many hats: teacher, wife, mother, pastor's wife, grandmother, tireless worker in so many areas of expertise, friend, encourager. Friends knew her as Renva. She was the gracious wife of the Rev. Troy Acree.
She left this
world rather suddenly on
For many years she and Rev. Troy Acree had lived on the outskirts of Blairsville toward Young Harris. Her influence was scattered from these mountains throughout the state and into the nation and world.
How could one so quiet and humble have such an impact on others?
I gave the question some thought and came up with three R's. She would relate to the three R's, educationally, for literacy education was her long suit. But she became who she was through her raising, her religion, and her relationships.
As to her
"raising," she was born into a preacher's family on January 11, 1927 in
Gwinnett County, Ga., daughter of the Rev. Dr. L. E. Smith and Leone
Moon Smith. She had one sibling, a brother, Les Smith who chose a
military career as his life's work. Stability was a characteristic of
the Rev. Dr. Smith family. Unlike many Baptist pastors who moved every
two or three years, Dr. Smith was pastor for 39 years at the
In rearing her, Renva's parents were loving but firm and, unlike many PKs (preacher's kids), Renva grew up active in the church and having her father as her pastor. The Christian religion had a major place in her entire life. At an early age she gave her heart to the Lord, and kept her religious development tuned to God's will for her life. Her mother was an excellent role model of a pastor's wife, even though Renva did not know at the time she needed such a role model for her own life.
play an important role in who we are and
who we become. When it came time for college, Renva
Smith chose to attend
She had already
met a young man considering the ministry-Troy Acree.
They met at the statewide speakers' tournament sponsored by the
Discipleship Training Department of the Georgia Baptist Convention.
They had more time to develop friendship at Ridgecrest Baptist
Her role of mother and grandmother saw the birth of four children, Wanda, Allen, Marc and Penny, and seven grandchildren, all of whom were Renva's pride and joy.
For 30 years
Rev. Troy Acree served as a pastor, mostly
relationships with others, she met Ms. Mary Allred
at the Georgia Baptist Assembly in Toccoa, Ga., in 1979 and heard the
lady speak on the great need of adults who were functionally illiterate
due to circumstances that had prevented their learning to read or
write. In 1980, she and Rev. Troy Acree
attended a conference at
In 1983, as she
was a member of the Georgia Baptist Convention Woman's Missionary Union
Executive Board, she went to
as a trainer in four areas of literacy work: Adult Reading and Writing
(ARW), English as a Second Language (ESL), Conversational English (CE)
and Tutoring Children and Youth (TCY). She was much in demand to lead
conferences to train literacy workers throughout
She gave much
credit for her interest in literacy education to her elementary school
teacher, Mrs. Goss, at the
In 1988, she
set up a successful after-school tutoring program at
T.U.L.I.P. is an acronym for Towns-Union-Literacy-Instills-Pride, an organization which she helped to organize and which maintains several sites in the two counties for training literacy workers and for tutoring students with special needs.
Multiple honors and accolades through the years were conferred on Renva Acree because of her hard work and community service. She always accepted them humbly. Some were Georgia Mother of the Year; Chairman of National Literacy Education Committee, American Mothers, Incorporated; Community Service Award, Old Unicoi Trail Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution; Chaplain, Executive Board, Georgia Mothers; and for ten years on Georgia WMU Executive Board.
My life has
been enriched because she was my friend. We shared many insights on the
journey of life from the time we were young minister's wives in the
Hebron Association at
The last time I
talked to her she was telling me the happy news of a student whom she
had tutored for many years through various levels of the young lady's
education. "She will be entering the Dora Hunter Allison Spiva School of Education at
The story of the young lady could be multiplied many times over about persons Renva Acree touched positively: They go forth to help others as she helped them.
c2006 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published
Dyer Jones is a retired educator, freelance writer, poet, and historian.
She may be reached at e-mail email@example.com;
phone 478-453-8751; or mail