Dessarine "Dess" Phillips Smith was born on Monday, February 25, 1929, in Wheeling, Louisiana to Napoleon Alexander Phillips and Larcenia Fobbs Phillips. Dessarine was the seventh of ten children. At the age of 12, she accepted Christ as her personal savior and was baptized at New Bethlehem Baptist Church by Reverend Albert Patterson under the leadership of Pastor Henry Brew.
She received her elementary education from the Historic one room Phillips Colored School. The school’s benefactor and namesake is her grandfather, William “Bill” Phillips, Sr. She graduated from J.W. Gaines High School, Valedictorian of her class.
She married L.J. Smith and into this union two children were born.
She was the family’s historian, easily passing complete genealogy information from today back to her great grandmother Eliza (Jess) Phillips born in 1835.
On Friday, March 31, 2023, Dessarine gained her heavenly wings. She was preceded in death by her parents Napoleon Alexander Phillips and Larcenia Fobbs Phillips, one child, her siblings: Doretha Berguin, James Elmore Phillips, Johnnie D. Phillips, Oretha Douglas, Napoleon Roy Phillips, Theda Maxine Smith, Viriece Marie Winslow, Lorene Baker.
Cherishing her memories are her loving children: Sharon Gail "FiFi" Wyatt, Stafford Loys Davis, Stanley Earl "Butch" Davis, Sandra Lynne "Peaches" Davis and Sylvia Lorene “Lil Mama” Phillips.
Grandchildren: Elanda, Demira, Rashaud, Rashawn, Tangela, Prentice, Terman, Danekqa, Adrian.
Great-Grandchildren: Ryane, Dietrich, Wyatt Leo, Averi, Zola, Anais.
Her sister: Ethel Mae Phillips Walker.
Special Nieces: Ester Jean Phillips, Mary Earline Berguin, Jean L. Christopher, Myrtle Lee Winslow-Hadnot,
Gervasia L. Phillips-Onezine, Laura Baker-Thompson, Vera M. Douglas and
Devoted cousin Shirley Perry: Ms Edwina Gammage, a dear longtime friend and a Stand-In-Mom for her children: friend and confidant Shirley A. Ashford: faithful, dedicated and loving caregiver Delia A. Reed: and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.