Reflections of Life
Otha Lee Fowler DeShay was the second of five children born on April 7, 1930 to Clarence and Minnie Lee Fowler. A native of the Webberville community, she moved with her family to Utley for a brief period of time before making Bastrop her permanent residency.
Otha accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and personal Savior at an early age, was baptized and united with Paul Quinn A.M.E. Church, Bastrop, TX. She graduated from Emile High School in 1949 and enrolled at Sam Houston College. As a college student, she also taught elementary school in Dale, TX.
While attending Sam Houston College, Otha met the love of her life, the late Deacon O. D. DeShay who attended Tillotson College. They were married on April 18, 1954 at Paul Quinn A.M.E. Church in an Easter Sunrise ceremony, and Otha graduated from Huston-Tillotson College with a Bachelor of Science degree the same year. Later, beside her husband, she united with the Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church. O.D. and Otha were married for 57 years.
After graduation, Otha taught third grade at Bastrop Elementary School. When teaching positions became available in the Hills Prairie Community, Otha was elated at the opportunity to teach and provide leadership at the Clearview School. Otha taught first through third grade. After the Clearview School closed, Otha returned to Bastrop Elementary School and taught third grade as well as continuing her education at Texas Southern University where she received her Master’s Degree in Education. Otha retired from Bastrop Independent School District after 34 years of teaching.
Otha was extremely active in many organizations, thus receiving numerous awards and recognitions for her exemplary dedication to teaching and community service. She served as president, vice-president and board member of various organizations including Bastrop Lion/Lioness Club, Bastrop County Extension Program Council, Bastrop Calanthe Historical Society, Worthy Inspectrix, Huston-Tillotson University Alumni and Texas Retired Teachers Association. Otha was a participant in The Craft Show for many years and won first place for her floral arrangement. In 2005, she was honored to be the Grand Marshall at Bastrop Juneteeth Parade.
Otha loved her church. As a member of the Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church for over 60 years, she was a faithful servant with a strong desire to do the work of the Lord, thus providing leadership within and outside of her church. She served as Mt Pleasant Mission I President, St. John Regular Baptist Association Mission I Officer, St John Deaconess Protective Association Vice-President, Del Valle Sub-District Mission I Auxiliary President, Mission I Scholarship Committee President, Sunday School Teacher, Choir Member and countless other ministries. She has been honored and recognized by these organizations for her tireless and selfless work with many plaques and certificates.
On Sunday, December 29, 2019, Otha entered into eternal rest. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, sisters: Ida Mae Fowler, Baby Rae Fowler, and Clarice Fowler Conner. Left to cherish her precious memories are her loving sister Gertrude Fowler of Bastrop, TX, God children: Charles JaVan Conner of Houston, TX, Evelyn DeShay of Austin, TX, Lucy DeShay of Austin, TX, Virginia (Charles) Jones of Phoenix, AZ, James (Cheryl) DeShay of Austin, TX, Tracey Spencer of Killeen, TX, Renee Brown of Austin, TX; brothers-in-laws: T. C. (Ollie) DeShay of Cedar Creek, TX, Henry (Alberta) DeShay of Cedar Creek, TX; sister-in-laws: Mildred DeShay of Bastrop, TX, Virginia DeShay of Bastrop, TX and an extended family of nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: