Juanita Maurice Phillips Brinsmade of Biloxi, MS, beloved wife of Akbar F. Brinsmade, passed away peacefully June 11, 2014.
Born in Standard, LA, on August 14, 1920, to Ray Alden and Birdie Hudson Phillips, Mrs. Brinsmade graduated as high school valedictorian in Kelly, LA, and with a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA on a full academic scholarship. After a brief teaching career in Clarkes, Louisiana, Mrs. Brinsmade worked for Shell Oil in their Houston, Texas laboratories, where she met Mr. Brinsmade who was developing airplane fuel during World War II. The couple married in Houston, June 16, 1944, and began a life together that produced three children and moved the family to New York City; Los Angeles, CA; Caracas, Venezuela; Charlotte, NC; Madison, WI; Cumberland, MD; Castle Rock, CO; Slidell, LA; Diamondhead, MS; and Biloxi, where they survived Hurricane Katrina and rebuilt after the devastation to their home.
Mrs. Brinsmade was a devoted mother, homemaker, and teacher, and was also involved in various civic organizations. Very creative in the home arts, Mrs. Brinsmade not only designed and sewed most of the clothing for herself and her two daughters, she also fashioned draperies, slip covers, other linens, church bazaar items, and many gifts for friends and relatives. Birthdays and other special events always featured one of her delicious and beautifully designed cakes. Her clear soprano voice was a delight whether lifted in church hymns or Broadway show tunes. After her children were in school, Mrs. Brinsmade began a second career in education, teaching science and home economics for 20 years at Slidell Junior High School in Slidell, LA, until her retirement in 1987. Mrs. Brinsmade was also an active member and often an officer of many community groups over the years, which included the Republican Women's Club, the Louisiana Retired Teachers' Association, Beta Sigma Phi, Cub Scout Den Mother, Future Homemakers of America, homeowners' associations, church Ladies' Circle and special committees.
In recent years, Mrs. Brinsmade enjoyed tending to her plants, maintained her interest in current events and continued to assist her husband in his scientific writings, while Mr. Brinsmade lovingly cared for his wife during her several health crises. She welcomed any opportunity to visit with family, friends, and former students, and greeted all with a cheery word and warm smile.
Predeceased by her parents and her brother R. A. Phillips, Jr., Mrs. Brinsmade is survived by her husband, Akbar F. Brinsmade of Biloxi with whom she celebrated 70 years of marriage; daughters, Anne Hudson Brinsmade of Prince Frederick, MD, and Charlotte Lynn Brinsmade Odom of Baton Rouge, LA; son, Robert Bruce Phillips Brinsmade of Cocoa, FL; grandchildren, Carey Young (fiancé Jimmy Taylor) of Huntingtown, MD, Brian (Holly) Lignelli and Tony (Jessie) Lignelli of Chicago, IL, Nicholas (Sierra) DeFelice of Dunkirk, MD, Joanna DeFelice of Brooklyn, NY, Taylor (fiancée Christina Luke) Odom of Washington, VA, Travis and Kayla Odom of Baton Rouge, LA; great-grandchildren Alaena, Jacob, and Zachary Gadwill, Luca, Amelia, Rocco, and Margaret Lignelli; brothers Max Phillips of Fort Worth, TX, and Earl (June) Phillips of Mandeville, LA; brother-in-law Lyon L. (Betsy) Brinsmade of New Braunfels, TX, and a host of nieces, nephews, and friends. She will be remembered fondly by all who knew her.
Memorial service and interment were at St.Stephen's Episcopal Church and Cemetery in Wimberley, Texas on Tuesday, June 17, 2014 (the day after her 70th wedding anniversary). In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society ( www.lls.org).