Patricia Anne Cordonnier Smith, PhD


Dr. Patricia Anne Cordonnier Smith, 86, passed away on July 3, 2019, after a brief illness.
Patty was born the beloved only child to Lavelle Harrell Cordonnier and Dr. Byron Joseph ("B.J.") Cordonnier on August 26, 1932, in Supply, OK. Dr. Cordonnier's medical practice took the family to various places during her childhood, including residency in Chicago, IL, but eventually they settled in Enid, OK, where she grew up and attended school. Patty graduated from Enid High school in 1948 and went on to attend The Hockaday School in Dallas. Eventually she would attend The University of Oklahoma, as her parents did. She studied French and Social Studies, ultimately earning a bachelor's degree in education from OU, and was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority.
She married William Raoul Brown Jr. in 1952 and eventually moved to Midland, TX, when Raoul, an engineer with Phillips Petroleum, was transferred. They had two sons, William Raoul Brown III and Christopher Patrick Brown. She dedicated her time to family but continued her passion for learning and for people. One day, she received a phone call asking her to substitute teach World History at Cowden Junior High School and, although had no plans to pursue teaching at the time, agreed to do it. After three weeks, the principal asked her to stay on permanently, and thus began a long and successful career in education.
Patty loved being in the classroom, and kept up with many of her former students, who are now Midland's current citizens and leaders. She taught government to ninth-graders at Edison Freshman High School - now Midland Freshman - before moving to Midland High School to teach history. She decided to return to college during the summers, after her first marriage ended, and earned a master's degree in Administrative Supervision from Phillips University in Enid, OK. She proceeded to earn a PhD in Administration and Supervision from Western Colorado University in Grand Junction, CO.
In 1970, Patty married Dr. Joe Taylor Smith, a fellow MISD educator, coach, high school principal and superintendent. They spent many happy years together, traveling whenever they could. Over the years, Patty was involved in professional organizations and held many District posts, including Instructional Services Director at Midland High School as well as a National Honor Society sponsor. She was asked to help start the Character Ed program at MISD - identifying traits to emphasize in the school district, such as courage, compassion, respect and responsibility. She served as Director of Social Studies and Character Ed for MISD and pursued this passion for the majority of her career. This ultimately led to the establishment of the "Storytelling Festival" in Midland in 1992 - which continues today. The Festival brings nationally acclaimed "tellers" to Midland each year to teach children and adults through stories, instilling and encouraging those positive character traits. Patty retired in 2014 after 52 years of dedicated service with MISD. She was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Midland, Kappa Kappa Gamma Alumni chapter, Delta Kappa Gamma Society, and was a member of PEO.
Patty is survived by her husband of 49 years, Dr. Joe T. Smith; sons Trey Brown of Comanche, TX, and Chris Brown and wife Brenda Cary Brown of Irving Texas; and granddaughters April Brown Gavin and husband Brian Gavin of Alexandria, Virginia, and Kristen Michelle Brown of Austin, TX. She is also remembered by sister-in-law La Rue Giesler. The family wishes to especially recognize niece Beverly Armstrong and longtime family friend Abbigail Navarette for all their loving care and support.
Funeral service will be held Tuesday, July 9, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. at First United Methodist Church in Midland, TX, followed by burial at Resthaven Memorial Park in Midland. The family requests any memorials be directed to MARC, 2701 North 'A' Street, Midland, TX 79705.
Pallbearers will be Trey Brown, Chris Brown, Brian Gavin, Rick Armstrong, David Adams, and Ricardo Torres. Honorary Pallbearers, recognizing the Midland Storytelling Festival tellers, will include Charlotte Blake Alston, Jasmine Cardenas, Willie Claflin, Donald and Merle Davis, Rex Ellis, Annalon Gilbreath, Barbara McBride-Smith, Laura Pershin Raynor, Antonio Rocha, Sue Roseberry.
Arrangements are under the direction of Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home & Crematory of Midland. Online condolences may be made at
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Published on July 6, 2019
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