Local woman remembered for her caring spirit, love of family

Dianne Travis
Dianne Travis

Dianne Goodin Travis spent 35 years as the secretary at First Baptist Church and used her role to touch countless lives in the community.

Travis, 76, died Aug. 3 but has left an indelible mark behind.

Born and raised in Newton, she met her husband of 52 years, Gary Eugene Travis, and the two moved to Shelby where she began work at First Baptist Church.

Tony Tench, former pastor of First Baptist Church, said he worked with Dianne Travis for many years.

“She was a great support for all of us and our ministry,” Tench said. “She was very caring and was ready to serve in whatever way she could.”

He said she did an excellent job keeping the church records and staying up to date as technology changed.

“Bottom line, she truly was a beloved member of our ministry team,” Tench said.

Her son, Ben Travis, said she helped many people throughout the years.

“I would go up there after school… and there was always somebody in her office praising her and thanking her for the work she was doing,” he said.

Ben said his parents adopted him when he was 5 months old, and Dianne Travis was a devoted mother who took great joy in the role.

“When I was adopted, she just honed in that love and radiant energy,” he said. “It sort of changed her.”

A member of the Beta Sigma Phi, a non-academic sorority, she was crowned queen and through the organization, did various good work in the community.

“We get a lot of phone calls and a lot of people coming by and telling things about her,” Ben Travis said. “She would literally stop what she was doing and go way out of her way to help anybody.”

He said when he joined the US Marine Corps, she was concerned but supportive.

“She was a soft spoken and loving person and the thought of her son being in the Marine Corps worried her,” Ben Travis said. “She would write letters not just to me, but to my whole platoon. She would write them all letters as if she was their mother.”

He said that was who she was, a person who would always go beyond what was expected of her and who was always thinking of others.

During her years at the church, Dianne would handle everything from making bulletins to going out to comfort people who had lost a loved one or were struggling with challenges.

“That’s my biggest blessing in my life, is getting to witness that kind of humanity,” Ben Travis said. “I hope for the remainder of my life to carry that on and keep that spirit alive.”

He said she was a member of Eastside Baptist Church and in her free time, she enjoyed cross stitching and was an avid reader who would go through a book a day.

Carol Ann Hoard, who worked with Dianne Travis at First Baptist, described her as someone who was always professional and always dressed in a suit and heels.

“She loved her family. She loved Ben, her son,” Hoard said. “She was a hard worker, and when she started there were just typewriters, she had to go from typewriters to computers. She always came across as so professional, but she had a fun side to her as well.”

A celebration of life is being held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20, at Eastside Baptist Church at 1165 Wyke Road in Shelby.

Rebecca Sitzes can be reached at rsitzes@gannett.com

This article originally appeared on The Shelby Star: Shelby woman remembered for her love for family and community