Barney Edwin Smith, always the Showman, really lived the Shakespearean adage, “all the world’s a stage,” having been famous throughout the United States and over 93 countries through his Toilet Seat Art Museum, while in San Antonio, Texas. We are blessed by the many wonderful tributes showing Barney’s mutual love and support that have been memorialized in print and online.
Some highlights of his personal life include winning the state art contest as a second grader, leading to a lifetime of art; and falling out of a tree at the Cazee house and breaking both arms, saying he was falling for Velma Louise Cazee, and eventually marrying her August 27, 1939; a marriage lasting almost 75 years. At 12 years of age a teacher had him memorize the poem, When Earth’s Last Picture is Painted, which he still quoted word for word in his 98th year of life, wholeheartedly believing in God’s Providence and Faithfulness. As a teenager he was privileged to attend the 1936 World’s Fair at the Texas Centennial, influencing and prompting many ideas for art in everyday life. Barney was also a high school football hero, playing right wing and right halfback positions and grew up working in his father’s sheet metal and plumbing businesses, setting foundations for an entire life of physical fitness, and work ethic. In his adult life he was a Leaderman Pipefitter in the Houston shipyards during WWII. He was educated in Sevierville, TN, at Tennessee Bible Training School, and stayed to work in the college helping to move it to Cleveland, TN, when it was renamed Lee College, circa 1951, (now Lee University). Throughout these years Barney and Louise had three daughters; Brenda Joyce in 1941, Patricia Dianne in 1945, and Julia Elaine in 1948, saying he was always in the doghouse with four women in the house. Speaking of dogs, a dog was always in the family. Barney’s favorite, a dachshund named Genie, was taught to pray. Barney would put a piece of food in front of the kneeling pooch, who would whine as if she was praying and only get the food when he said “Amen”. Genie would go on their many RV trips all across the USA. For many years, they would take an overseas trip. On one occasion he fished off the back of their cruise ship in the North Sea and the chef cooked his catch for him. Anywhere he could wet a hook, he would do it, which he must have acquired from his mother who loved to fish. Both gave us amazingly delicious fish fries! Working in and out of a plumbing shop all of his life led him to eventually work with toilet seat lids into his 98th year of life. After retiring as a master plumber, Barney decorated over 1400 of them before he got physically tired and put his Toilet Seat Art Museum up for sale, selling it to a fun couple who transformed the crowded collection into a fantastic museum at The Truck Yard in The Colony, Texas. Barney’s life was chock full of surprises; he loved his visits from people around the world and all the attention it afforded. If you were driving down Arbutus Avenue anytime in the last 50 years, Barney may have stopped your car in the street and asked, “Have you seen my Toilet Seat Art Museum? Come on in!” And you probably would.
Barney’s life ended peacefully, from natural causes, on the eve of July 23, 2019, surrounded by loving family.
Barney is preceded in death by: His beloved wife of almost 65 years, Velma Louise; daughter, Patricia Dianne; parents, James Milton and Dorah Pearl; sisters, Evelyn and Lula Mae; brothers, Roy Lee and Leo; and; in-laws, Velma and George Cazee; and many other loved ones.
His survivors include: daughters, Brenda Joyce Sellers and Julia Elaine Murders; seven grandchildren; twelve great grandchildren; two great-great grandchildren; numerous nieces, nephews, and extended family members, with special mention to Barbara Smith, Wanda Smith, and Alice Russ; and many friends around the world and Brookdale Hospice.
Services will be held 1:00 PM Saturday, August 3rd at the Eastland City Cemetery, with a visitation to start at 11:00 AM at Edwards Funeral Home Eastland.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Cal Farley’s Boy’s Ranch (PO Box 1890, Amarillo, Texas 79105-9985) or a charity of your choice.
Online condolences can be made at www.edwards-funeral-homes.com.