Columbia County lost quite a special person earlier this month.
Malvie Lee Giles, who died Nov. 10, was known throughout South Arkansas and, to tell the truth, it is difficult to estimate exactly how wide a path she forged in life or how far it took her. We first heard praises and respect for her many years ago and it didn’t matter if we were in Magnolia, El Dorado or Camden, or many other communities, folks there knew Malvie Giles.
We couldn’t think of a better description of her than “powerhouse,” as Dr. Giles was referred to in her obituary.
She was born here Jan. 8, 1928, one of two children born to Henry and Daisy McCray, and, from the beginning, was destined to become a success, a leader and a person whose service to community was widespread. From being valedictorian of her Columbia High School graduating class to earning her bachelor of arts degree and two masters degrees and being an educator, Dr. Giles was a powerful and talented example and influence.
We cannot say it any better than these words included in her obituary:
“She was a woman of great faith, working diligently in her church community wherever she was. She served in the Cornerstone Baptist Church in California, then St John Baptist Church, Little Rock, before returning to her beloved Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church in Magnolia. She toiled tirelessly as a minister of music, Bible teacher, workshop facilitator, prison ministry member, and world traveled missionary. She traveled to Africa 12 times, visiting eight different countries. She was active in church leadership and conferences. She was even bestowed an honorary doctorate degree from Arkansas Baptist College.
“Dr. Giles never said no to a request for her presence to sing or whatever task was requested of her in building God’s kingdom. She sang for governors and presidents, television appearances and commercials. She stood as long as she had the strength to do so, with a big beautiful smile on her face. And now she has transitioned to her reward. She will long be missed and her memory cherished by her nieces, nephews, cousins and a great host of friends.
Thank you, Dr. Giles for all you were and all you did. Yes, you will definitely be missed.