Happiness found in Kilgore


She surrounds herself with flowers and loves to take photos of them to share with friends. The décor in her room includes cardinals in the way of large needlepoint throws and overstuffed pillows.

“The cardinals are for the happiness they bring into one’s life,” she said. “And I am happy right where I am,” said Lisa Emmel, a Kilgoreite for one year but no stranger to East Texas.

So, with genuine delight Lisa begins to tell you about her father and a lifestyle far different than many.

“My father was a recording artist for Sun Records,” she said. “He had several hits under his belt,” she laughed. “Some of them were Rock ‘n’Roll Ruby, So Long I’m Gone, Red Cadillac, Black Mustache and when he changed labels to Liberty, I Don’t Believe I Will Fall in Love Today became a hit. He has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Music Hall of Fame – into most of them across the states.” Her father was Warren Smith.

“When I was three years old, we lived with Johnny Cash and his wife for a while. My father and Johnny were friends and it was Johnny that made sure he was singing at a particular night club for talent scouts to hear him. That’s when he signed for Liberty.”

“I do have a sister, Ilana Hogan, and a brother, Darren Smith, but they were not around when we lived with the Cashes,” she laughed.

“He and my mother also rode Harleys with Elvis Presley and Natalie Wood,” she added.

On August 17, 1965, her father suffered severe back injuries in a car crash in LaGrange. It took him a year to recover.

“His ratings started going down,” said Lisa. “He was addicted to pills and alcohol and robbed a drug store for more. He was sent to prison and in prison you are not allowed to record anything and so the public kind of forgets about you,” she said.

“When he got out he pumped gas at a filling station as music is all he knew how to do and tried to get back on top of the music world. He was sent to Europe with people like Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and others and did a show. They welcomed him back. He went again with Ray Smith and he was a hit. He was more popular overseas than he was here.”

“He died with a massive coronary at the age of 47,” said Lisa. “I am sure it was because of all of the pills he had taken.”

“My grandparents, Ralph and Iola Constiner, were transferred by Mid Valley Pipeline Company to Longview. They ended up raising all three of us,” she said.

“I started school at Pine Tree. After I graduated I lived in England and Majorca, Spain. Majorca is one of the biggest tourist attractions at the time and all I did was party. I was 18-19 at the time and it was one big party day after day. Life became such a struggle and I, too, became addicted to the liquor and prescription drugs,” she said candidly. “Eventually, I woke up to find myself in a nursing home in Longview after being passed out for three days and unable to walk. Now, I have found happiness in living right.”

“The drugs ruined my dad’s life…all of our lives; caused a divorce and destroyed our family,” she added. “I have to say he was never abusive to us but the drugs took away everything.”

“I just came back from a trip to Houston for a visit with my daughter Ashley Dowdy and three grandchildren. I have found happiness and I have made friends,” she said with a big smile upon her face.

Lisa is a lovely woman who speaks openly and candidly about the effects of drugs and alcohol on a family. You can visit with her at Arabella Assisted Living.

OUR HEARTS go out to Pat Sheets who within a span of a month lost both of her horses. Pat, who has had a love of animals, especially horses, since childhood has won numerous awards for barrel racing and other rodeo events. Her horses, Zip Zip who was 15 years old and Zoom

Zoom age 19, were also the main characters in three published books for young children with the fourth book waiting to go to print. She is now left with two miniature ponies called Zeb and Zesty.

Pat, who is now eighty years old is heartbroken. Dr. Rob Thoni informed her he believed she wasn’t through riding yet and has placed calls trying to find her a “neglected” horse. She is so appreciative of his kindness.

SAMARITAN’S PURSE Operation Christmas Child Shoebox is just five weeks away according to Kim Gore, Drop-off Team Leader for the organization. “Now is the time to pick up your shoe boxes to get them filled in time,” she said. “National Collection Week is November 12-19. The filled shoe boxes give gospel opportunities to children who receive them in over 100 countries,” said Kim. Boxes can be picked up at Forest Home Baptist Church, this year’s designated drop-off location or at the Kilgore News Herald. A request for 25 or more boxes will be delivered by Kim and Willard Gore. They can be reached at 903-987-2857. More about the ministry can be learned at

THIS MONTH the London Museum will be displaying craft work of James Trammel, a respected wood carver, sketcher and former shop teacher who lives in Longview. The display will feature some of his animals, Christmas are (Including a Nativity carved on a rolling pin), amusing human characters and walking sticks and other carvings. There is no charge to view the display although visitors are encouraged to dine with them for lunch.

May His Love and Laughter Fill Your Hearts and Your Homes Throughout the Week. We may be reached at or 903-984-2593.


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