Dorothy (Dartie) Ann Smith Flynt
Dorothy (Dartie) Ann Smith Flynt was nearly a Halloween baby, born Oct. 30, in Fairfax, Ala., to Annie Grace House Smith and W. Albert Smith. She was a cute, green-eyed little charmer to whom soldiers traveling to nearby Fort Benning during WWII gave their spare change, filling her red plastic purse. Her father pastored Baptist churches in Sheffield and Gadsden, and she graduated high school in Gadsden. Following his path, she attended Howard College (now Samford University,) where she majored in speech/theater and English. She retained an interest in college and professional theater and was a longtime season ticket holder at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Although she appeared on stage, participated in the Miss Alabama Pageant and modeled for Birmingham’s elite department stores as a way to acquire stylish clothes, her preference throughout life was back-stage, where she won two Masque Awards for makeup design. After graduating college, she served as a summer missionary in California before beginning her career as an English teacher in Gadsden and Tallahassee, Florida. As a middle and high school teacher, she especially related to troubled male teenagers with learning problems. Her empathy, creativity and patience was life-changing in many of their lives. She taught until the birth of her first son, then elected the life of a full-time mom. As a deacon and lay leader at Vestavia Hills Baptist and Auburn First Baptist churches, she continued her family tradition of ministry to others, combining puns, witticism, creativity, stylish clothes and hats with mission trips to Alaska and Spain (where she helped build and paint churches,) teaching vacation Bible school and English-as-a-second-language, coordinating Loaves and Fishes food programs for Auburn’s poor and elderly, chairing the church’s library committee, working in Women’s Missionary Union and as secretary of the Pilgrims Sunday school class, directing and narrating worship programs, and proving for decades that piety need not be boring or drab. An authentic southern “steel magnolia” who bravely bore health problems for a quarter of her life without complaint, she won converts as much by her courage as by her fiercely-held Christian faith.
She is survived by her husband, Wayne Flynt, sons David (Kelly Rogers Flynt) and Sean (Shannon Rogers Flynt), grandchildren James Dallas, Harper Swann, and Ambrose Doss, brothers Everett (Marylee) and Charles (Sandra) Smith, and a host of beloved nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Gifts in honor of her life may be sent to the Dorothy Flynt Missions and Ministry Endowment at Auburn First Baptist Church, 128 E. Glenn Ave., Auburn, AL, 36830. Auburn First Baptist Church will host a memorial service at 11 a.m. on Feb. 21, 2020.