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Charles Crowson
Date of passing: May 21, 2023
Charles Crowson, 90, of Batesville passed away Sunday, May 21, 2023. He was born November 8, 1932 in Rector, Arkansas to James Vivian Crowson and Irene Glasgow Crowson. Charles was a member of Rehobeth Baptist Church in Moorefield. He was a minister for over 65 years. He worked as a case manager for the Spinal Cord Commission for the State of Arkansas for over 30 years; he also built ramps and helped people who were wheel chair bound. Charles also volunteered at WRMC for several years. He was a very compassionate man and loved his family dearly, especially his grandkids and great-grandkids. He was an avid hunter and fisherman; he even organized a fishing tournament every year for handicap people. Survivors include his two daughters, Sheila (Arnold) Martin of Ward and Mavis (Gary) Young of Batesville; one brother, Gary (Cathy) Crowson of England; six grandchildren, Chuck (Jenny) Martin, Justin (Lauren) Martin, Spencer (Britany) Young, Jeremiah Young, Colton Young and Tara Crowson and eight great-grandchildren, Hannah Laden, Riley Martin, Aubrey Martin, Meritt Young, Christian Young, Paxton Young, Cayden Green and Ava Young; as well as several nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Norma Jean Crowson; brothers, Bob Crowson and Donald Crowson; sister, Melba Crowson and great-grandchild, Fisher Young. Pallbearers will be Chuck Martin, Justin Martin, Spencer Young, Jeremiah Young, Colton Young and Steve Crowson. Honorary Pallbearers will be the Men’s Sunday School Class. Funeral Services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 24, 2023 at the Rehobeth Baptist Church with Roger Crum officiating. Burial will follow at Wyatt Cemetery in Rosie under the direction of Roller-Crouch Funeral Home of Batesville. Visitation will be held from 12:00-2:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 24, 2023 at the church prior to service. Memorials may be made in his honor to The Gideon’s International Processing Center, P.O. Box 97251, Washington, DC 20090-7251 or
Dr. Fred Gay
Date of passing: May 20, 2023
Dr. Freddie Gay went to his Heavenly reward on May 20, 2023. He is preceded in death by his parents Allen and Mamie Gay; his wife of 52 years, Betty Gay; a daughter, Alysia King; a grandson, David King. Reverend Gay is survived by his wife of 13 years, Carolyn Sue Gay of Halley, AR; a daughter, Becky (Dewayne) White of Hot Springs; a son, Allen (Pear) Gay of Chandler, AZ; a son, Bill (Dawn) Gay of Hot Springs; a son, Robby (Pam) Waldrup of Collins, AR; a sister, Patsy Chaillet (Alex) of Cherokee Village, AR; and a special bonus daughter, Brenda (Charlie) Simpson of Biscoe, AR. He is also survived by 12 grandchildren and numerous great- and great-great -grandchildren. Reverend Gay was a pastor for 61 years, serving 17 churches in Arkansas, and one in Texas. He also worked as Director of Missions for Carey Baptist Association before retiring for the first of many times. Over the years, Reverend Gay has also worked as an elementary school teacher, a school bus driver, a rock mason, a carpenter, a farmhand, and an evangelist. He is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University, where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, and Mid America Seminary, where he earned his Doctorate of Theology degree. In his free time (of which there was little) Freddie enjoyed woodworking, mowing the grass, picking up pecans, riding along the levee, and collecting marbles. He was an avid Razorbacks fan who loved watching his Hogs play football and basketball, and was a fan of the Dallas Cowboys. Freddie worked for General Motors when he was a young man in Flint, Michigan, where he met his wife, Betty Jean Reasor. But Reverend Gay’s true calling was sharing the word of God, which he did for 63 years. When Betty died in 2008, Freddie found love again when he met Carolyn Sue Waldrup. They were married in October of 2009. Reverend Gay will be remembered as man who loved God and loved others. He never hesitated to share his faith, and he was more than excited to tell someone what God had done for him. Visitation will be held Saturday May 27 at 1 PM at Halley Baptist Church in Halley, Arkansas. Funeral service will follow at 2 PM. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Gideon’s International, in the name of Freddie Gay, P.O. Box 13, McGehee, AR 71654.
Joe Baker
Date of passing: May 13, 2023
Rev. Fred Joe Baker, 94, peacefully departed this life on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at his home in Bella Vista, Ark. Joe, the name he preferred and went by, was born on December 2, 1928, in Broken Arrow, Okla., to Ted R. Baker and Maxine Smittle Baker. Joe married Lois Cleveland on December 13, 1947. They lived in Tulsa, Okla. where two daughters were born, Sandra Baker Womack and Vicki Baker Pomykala. Joe worked as an accountant for 15 years in Tulsa. He then moved to Fort Worth, Texas where he graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Theology. Joe’s commitment to his Lord and Savior is reflected by his favorite Bible verses, Psalm 37:4-5, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your ways to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” Joe was appointed a Home Missionary through the Southern Baptist Home Mission Board where he planted and pastored churches and served as Director of Missions for 33 years in Illinois and Ohio. Many lives were changed and 34 people surrendered to full time Christian service during his ministry. Joe and Lois retired in 1993 and moved to Bella Vista, Ark. in 1995. They joined the Bella Vista Baptist Church where Joe served as interim Associate Pastor and helped start Village Baptist Church. Joe preached revivals in 29 states and saw many confess their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Joe was an avid fisherman. He had many trophy catches, pictures, and stories he enjoyed. Joe and Lois enjoyed golf. Joe had a daily “things to do list” and #1 on the list was, “hey, Babe, let’s have some fun today.” He wrote a love letter to Lois each month for 50 years. He was a very creative writer. He loved his family and friends dearly. Now he is waiting for them to join him so they can pick up where they left off and have some more fun. He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Nell Margaret Rowland of Austin, Texas; and brother, Ralph Baker of Dallas, Texas. He is survived by his wife, Lois Baker; daughters, Sandra Baker Womack (Bob) of Kingman, Ariz., and Vicki Baker Pomykala (Mike) of Bella Vista, Ark.; granddaughter, Leslie Pomykala Peetani (Sharan); great-granddaughter, Divyanka Peetani; great-grandson, Abhyant Peetani; brother, Gary Baker (Karen); and numerous nieces, nephews, and relatives. A private graveside service was held for immediate family. A celebration of life service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 3, 2023, at Bella Vista Baptist Church, 50 East Lancashire Blvd., Bella Vista, Ark. 72714. In lieu of flowers, donations in Joe’s name may be sent to North American Mission Board, P. O. Box 116543, Atlanta, Ga. 30368-6543 (AAEO on memo line). The family gives special thanks to Circle of Life Hospice for their end-of-life care. Arrangements are under the direction of Bella Vista Funeral Home & Crematory. On-line condolences may be made at
S. D. Hacker
Date of passing: April 26, 2023
S. D. Hacker, 89, of Sage, Arkansas died April 26, 2023. He was born February 26, 1934 in Cisco, Arkansas to Harley and Lorraine Clotese Snow Wright. Later he was adopted by Clyde Hacker of Berryville, Arkansas. He graduated from Berryville High School and attended Ouachita Baptist College. He married Lois Faye James on December 25 1953 at First Baptist Church, Berryville, Arkansas. They were married 62 years. Three children were born to this marriage: Sherry Kay, Vicky Lynn, and James David. He was saved in the summer of 1952 at a roadside park (pulling over because he was afraid to drive one more mile) following a revival service at Eagle Heights Baptist Church in Harrison. He joined the First Baptist Church, Berryville where he surrendered to preach in the summer of 1953. He was ordained by the Third Street Baptist Church, Arkadelphia, in 1955. S. D. Hacker pastored six churches and was Director of Missions for three associations, all in Arkansas, retiring in the fall of 2018 from Rocky Bayou Baptist Association. He also served in several training capacities within the Arkansas Baptist State Convention; served on Board of Trustees for Williams Baptist College; was awarded Director of Missions of the Year by Ouachita Baptist University, the first recognition given; President of Arkansas Missionaries Fellowship four years, and also wrote for Sunday School lessons for Arkansas Baptist Newsmagazine. Survivors include his daughters, Sherry Lawrence of Melbourne and Vicky Norton (Robert) of Sage; seven grandchildren: Trey Lawrence (Marguerite ) of Ft. Benning, GA.; Tracy Cone (Michael) of Melbourne; Davis Norton (Hanah) of Conway; James Norton currently deployed to Qatar; Andy Norton (Kaitlyn) currently deployed to Qatar; Benji Norton, Conway, Amara (Jessie) Williams of Oak Grove, KY. ; six great-grandchildren: Julianna Lawrence, Sonny Lawrence, Allie Cone, Adam Cone, Audrey Cone, and Robert Joseph Norton and one sister, Reta Tarver of Norman, OK. Preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Lois Hacker; and son, James David Hacker. Visitation and funeral service will be held Friday, April 28 at Melbourne First Baptist Church. Visitation will begin at 10:00 a.m. Funeral service will begin at 11:00 a.m. with Doyne Robertson and Rick Burke officiating. Burial will follow at Maplewood Cemetery in Harrison.
Betty Sue Green
Date of passing: April 23, 2023
Betty Sue Green, age 86, of Hot Springs, went to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Sunday, April 23, 2023. She was born on May 25, 1936, in Bodcaw, Arkansas, the daughter of Charlie Hairston and Velma Pickard Hairston. On September 14, 1963, she married G. Lynn Green. She was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Tillman Hairston; and her sister, Floy Fae Goodwin. Betty was a faithful, loving, Christian woman and a member of Hot Springs Baptist Church. She was a Proverbs 31 woman, taking care of her home, and being a pastor’s wife. Betty was serving the Lord beside her husband, Lynn, as he pastored Bodcaw Baptist Church in Bodcaw, Beech Street Baptist Church in Crossett, College View Baptist Church in Magnolia, Central Baptist Church in Texarkana and Oak Grove Baptist Church in Ashdown. She loved teaching children in Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. She served as the music/recreation secretary at Beech Street First Baptist Church in Texarkana for 13 years. She grew up in a farm family in South Arkansas. In high school, she was an All-State basketball player. She loved vacationing with her family. She loved everyone and she will be greatly missed by all that knew and loved her. She is survived by her loving husband of 60 years, Lynn Green; her daughter and son-in-law, Renae and Eric Carrouth; one granddaughter, Reagan Carrouth; several nieces, nephews, extended family members and a host of wonderful friends. Funeral service 10:00AM, Saturday, April 29, 2023, with Rev. Doug Porter, Lance Hudnell and Rev. James Crews officiating at Hot Springs Baptist Church, 144 Weston Road, Hot Springs. Interment 2:00PM in the Union Cemetery, 109 CR 9, Rosston, Arkansas. Visitation 5:00PM-7:00PM, Friday, April 28, 2023, in the Smith Family Funeral Home Chapel, Hot Springs. Pallbearers are Mark Curry, Kenny Spruill, Bryan Green, Tony Burrow, Michael Dossett and Anthony White. A special thank you to the staff at Lake Hamilton Health and Rehab. Guest registry is at
Emil Darrell Williams
Date of passing: April 13, 2023
Emil Darrell Williams, 94, of Jonesboro died peacefully on April 13, 2023, at his home surrounded by his family. Emil was born July 3, 1928, in Searcy, Arkansas, to the late D.T. and Margaret Merritt Williams. He was a member of the Searcy High School graduating class of 1946. He married Marianne Hestir also of Searcy on May 5, 1950. He attended Ouachita Baptist University and graduated in 1950 with a degree in Speech and Drama. He then attended Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and graduated with a Master of Divinity degree in 1953. He was the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Ouachita Baptist University in 1988. He devoted his entire life to his family and his church families. He pastored churches in Lewisville, Russellville, and Little Rock before moving to Jonesboro in 1965 to pastor First Baptist Church for 30 years. He retired for a few weeks, before being asked to serve as the interim pastor at Magnolia Road Baptist Church. He served as the “interim” pastor from 1995 until Palm Sunday 2023. Emil distinguished himself in his service to others and to the community. He was one of the founders of the Jonesboro Church Health Center ministry that is still serving the community today. He served on the boards of Southern Seminary for 12 years and Baptist Medical Center in Little Rock for 6 years. In 2015, he helped begin the Community Emergency Services Center that has coordinated the Friends and Neighbors Network (FANN). Emil became affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) in 1991 and served as the first Arkansas moderator. He remained involved in the CBF ministry until his death. Music was one of Emil’s loves, whether listening with eyes closed and lips pursed at the front of the church, directing Alexa to play something from the endless catalogue of music in his mind, or singing in his baritone voice. A crowd favorite he often sang was “Ol’ Man River.” The song lyrics included the line, “But that ol’ man river just keeps rolling along,” which just as well could have been a reference to his enduring ministry and service to his community. Emil was passionate about his family and enjoyed spending time with them. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 70 years, Marianne; his parents D.T. and Margaret Williams; brothers Ralph and James Williams, all of Searcy. He is survived by daughter Ann Williams, sons Paul Williams and Todd Williams (Catherine) of Jonesboro; and Ben Williams (Tracey) of Chicago, Illinois; four grandchildren: Christian Williams, Emma Williams, Adam Williams, and Hailey Williams; and one nephew, Phillip Williams (Patty) of Searcy. A memorial service was led by Ray Higgins and Richard Lusby at First Baptist Church, 701 S. Main, Jonesboro on April 15, 2023. Dr. Rodney Reeves made the Call to Worship. A visitation followed in the FBC Atrium. Honorary Pallbearers Dr. John Sanford, Tom Stafford, Arliss Dickerson, Mike Smith, John Payne, Mike Mullally, Charles Harris, Dr. Mark McJunkin, Dr. Richard Wang, Dr. Carl Abraham, Edward Pruitt, Dick Freer, Darryl Kelly, and Jean Staggs. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Magnolia Road Church for the benefit of the Friends and Neighbors Network or the Diaper Bank.
Margie Edwards
Date of passing: March 4, 2023
Margie Edwards (Fritts), 84, of Jacksonville, AR passed away peacefully on Saturday March 4, 2023. Visitation is 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., Friday, March 17, 2023 at Jordan Funeral Home. She was a devoted Christian and fought the good fight, finished the race, kept the faith, and now has accepted the crown of righteousness, which the Lord Jesus Christ has promised! Don’t feel bad for Margie – feel bad for Lazarus – Margie is staying in Glory forever! Born in 1938 in Ethel, MS she is survived by her two daughters Lisa and Lori, and was blessed with wonderful grandchildren. She was married to the late Lynn Dwight Edwards, and later in life to the late Bob Fritts. For those that knew Margie she was very active in church, was giving, and embraced missions. One of her primary desires in life was that her entire family would all accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
James E. McDaniel
Date of passing: February 12, 2023
Rev. James E. McDaniel, 83, of Brinkley, Ark., passed away on Feb. 12, 2023. Jim was born in St. Louis, Mo., on Nov. 9, 1939. A graduate of Ouachita Baptist University and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Jim faithfully preached the Gospel for over 50 years, serving 42 years as the pastor of First Baptist Church Brinkley. Jim loved Jesus, his family and friends, mission trips to Belize, the St. Louis Cardinals, and basketball. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Beverly, children Joel, Dina and Michael McDaniel, grandchildren, Tyler McDaniel, Somer Lawrence, and Kayla McDaniel, Kinsey Ortega, and great-grandchildren Levi and Beau McDaniel and Asa Ortega. The visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m., on Friday, Feb. 17. The funeral is on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. Both will take place at First Baptist Brinkley. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that memorial gifts for Arkansas Baptist Children’s Home ( or Operation Resolute ( be mailed to First Baptist Church, 215 W. Elm Brinkley, Ark., 72021. Please make checks out to First Baptist Church and designate which organization you want to give to. Contact Mrs. Donna Wilson at 870-734-2571 for more information. Guestbook/obit/
Earl Gene Goatcher
Date of passing: February 7, 2023
Earl Gene Goatcher was born August 2, 1928, near Formosa in Van Buren County, Arkansas. He completed his earthly journey of 94 years on February 7, 2023. He was predeceased by his parents, James M. and Ruth Allen Goatcher and his older brother, Truett. He is survived by his wife of 65+ years, Dr. Joann Horton Goatcher; children, Lisa Schuttger and James Goatcher; sister, Lavelle Rollins; eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. He was a veteran of the Korean War, during which he experienced significant milestones affecting his Christian journey. He graduated from the University of Arkansas, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and completed the Administrative Residency program of Arkansas Baptist Hospital in Little Rock. In 1957 he married Dr. Joann Horton, the Chief Resident in Pediatrics at the University of Arkansas Medical School. She became his greatest love, his partner in ministry and in his opinion, the greatest helpmate any man could ever have. He dearly loved his Lord, his family, his church and his work. From a very modest beginning in the remote hills of north Arkansas he lived a life of ministry and adventure beyond description. In 1962 they were appointed as medical missionaries to Thailand, serving with the Foreign Mission Board (FMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention for over 22 years. Those years encompassed a wide range of ministry in over 30 countries in four continents. It began in Thailand where they helped initiate the medical work, with Earl serving as Hospital Administrator. After nine years in Thailand, they returned to the U.S. for a few years where Earl served as Administrator of a hospital in Van Horn, Texas. During those years he helped with the medical ministry along the Rio Grande started by the Texas Baptist Rio Grande River Ministry. In 1979 they were asked to return to Thailand where Earl directed the FMB’s portion of the response to the hundreds of thousands of Indochina refugees pouring into Thailand. It entailed providing food, fuel, water and other services to 45,000 refugees daily, including complete medical services in a camp of 22,000. Concurrently, Earl became a member of the Board of Directors of Bangalore Baptist Hospital in Bangalore, India, serving in that capacity for eleven years during which he served twice as Chairman of the Board and twice as Interim Administrator. When the Indochina refugee crisis subsided Earl became director of refugee response and disaster relief in Southeast Asia for the FMB, initiating and monitoring health care and agriculture development projects in the region. In 1983 he became Administrator of the Thailand Baptist Mission, the organization of approximately 80 Southern Baptist missionaries serving in Thailand. In 1987 he joined the staff of the Southern Baptist FMB at it’s headquarters in Richmond, VA. In that capacity, he monitored and evaluated health care, refugee response and agriculture development projects on a world wide basis. After retirement to Clinton, AR, where he was the general contractor in building their dream retirement home, he became an active logger on his personal property. He served 12 years on the Board of Ozark Health Medical Center in Clinton, including four years as Chairman and three occasions as Interim Administrator. He was also on the Board of the Arkansas Hospital Association and served two years as President of the Arkansas Association of Hospital Trustees. He also served four years as pastor of the Formosa Baptist Church. In 2012 Earl and Joann moved to the Parkway Village Retirement Center in Little Rock where they became very active in Immanuel Baptist Church, continuing to serve in many ways. A partial recounting of the work and ministries in which he was involved cannot convey the joy and spiritual blessings he received as he followed the Lord throughout his life. As he recorded in the book he wrote (God’s Direction; Our Journey) concerning his and Joann’s journey of faith, the presence and sovereignty of God was so dramatically demonstrated in countless events that he and Joann could only look in amazement and gratitude at how God had directed their lives. To God be the glory. A special heartfelt thanks to the staff at Shell Memory Center and Health Center at Parkway Village and to Baptist Hospice, for all the loving care given to “Mr. Earl”. Funeral services will be held at Roller-Chenal Funeral Home, 13801 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, AR on Saturday, February 11th. Visitation will be at 1:30 p.m. and the funeral service will follow at 2:30 p.m. The graveside service will be held at Union Hill Cemetery (located off Highway 9 near Formosa Baptist Church in Conway County) on Monday, February 13th at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the International Mission Board SBC, 3806 Monument Ave., Richmond, VA 23230; Williams Baptist University, 56 McClellan Dr. #3736, Walnut Ridge, AR 72476 or Immanuel Baptist Church, 501 N. Shackleford Rd., Little Rock, AR 72211
Steven Davis
Date of passing: January 28, 2023
Steven Davis, 64, of Alexander, Arkansas passed away January 28, 2023. Steven was born July 9, 1958 to Peggy (Gooch) Davis and the late Alvin “Bud” Davis. Steven was a selfless and hard working man, constantly doing for others. He could fix anything and was always up for a new project. He was a family man. His grandkids were his world and he always made time to attend their games and important events. He was the facilities manager at Life Line Baptist Church and spent most of his time taking care of the 100 year old building. He took pride in making sure his church was nice and well-maintained. He loved racing. If he wasn’t at church, working on a project for someone, or at one of his grandkids sporting events, you could find him watching NASCAR or attending a local dirt track race. Steven is preceded in death by his father, Alvin “Bud” Davis. Steven is survived by his son, Zachary Davis (Krystal); daughter, Stephanie Tanner (Gary); grandchildren: Lanee, Linzee, Rylee, Davis and Brooks; mother, Peggy (Gooch) Davis; two sisters, Staci Haroutounian (Vasken) and Kelli Taylor (Bobby); two brothers, Brian Davis (Angela) and Kevin Davis (Lisa); as well as a host of other family members and friends that will all miss him dearly. Visitation will be held February 4, from 12:00 – 1:00 PM at Life Line Baptist Church, 7601 Baseline Rd, Little Rock, AR 72209. A Memorial Service will follow the visitation at 1:00 PM. Arrangements entrusted to Smith-Benton Funeral Home. Online guestbook:
Lloyd Blanton
Date of passing: January 25, 2023
Lloyd Edward Blanton Jr. (Buddy) of Tumbling Shoals, Arkansas was born January 26, 1942 and made his triumphant transition to glory on January 25, 2023. Lloyd started preaching in 1965 but graduated from bible college in 1964 He faithfully served the Lord as pastor over 38 years, including Community Bible Church in DeKalb, Illinois, Southside Baptist in Heber Springs, and Center Ridge Baptist, which became Sugarloaf Baptist under his ministry in Heber Springs. Through the years he also ministered as a Chaplain in various settings. Music Evangelism was also a big part of his service to the Lord, being the founding member of the Revelators and later traveling as a soloist. After the pastorate Lloyd founded FreedomWay Ministries and Hill of Hope, a ministry that began 20 years ago and is still ministering to lives today. All that knew him, knew that He loved the Lord and he loved his family. He also LOVED to sing, especially with family. He loved to travel. He loved to take video of his grandkids growing up and then to watch them together when they grew up! Lloyd is preceded in death by his father Lloyd Edward Blanton Sr. and his mother Maxine (Green) Blanton. Left to be reunited with Lloyd are his loving wife, Linda Sharon (Varker) Blanton, his children Lloyd Edward Blanton III (Kip), wife Christine, Kevin Blanton, wife Penny, Kimberly Hatsell, husband Donny, Kyle Blanton, wife Amy. Also, left to cherish his memory are his 14 grandchildren and 20 (soon to be 21) Great Grandchildren. Lloyd is also survived by his brother Gayle “Chico” Blanton, wife Liz. A Celebration of Life will be held at 11:00am on February 4, 2023 in the First Baptist Church in Heber Springs, Arkansas. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to be made to: FreedowWay Ministries PO Box 152 Tumbling Shoals, AR 72581
J.L. “Jay” Weaver
Date of passing: January 10, 2023
J.L. Weaver, 75, of Bryant, Arkansas, passed away peacefully on January 10, 2023, surrounded by his loving family. Jay was born on September 15, 1947 in Cave City, Arkansas-a town he left but dearly loved. At the age of sixteen, Jay was led to the Lord by his mother, Lois Sharp Weaver. This testimony was one he loved to share. Jay was taught carpentry by his father, J.R. Weaver, and the character traits of honesty and hard work, giving his all to every employer. Many times in life, he would go back to this trade to support the family. In 1972, God called Jay to preach which set he and the family’s life on a path that he consistently and passionately lived out. Jay and Belinda moved back to Arkansas for him to attend the Missionary Baptist Seminary in Little Rock, AR. Jay finished his degree at Louisiana Baptist Theological Seminary in Shreveport, LA. Jay pastored several churches, he served as Associate and Bus Director as well as Worship Leader at Landmark Baptist Church in Batesville, AR. While there, Jay and Belinda were introduced to Christian Education. Words cannot express the thrill in their hearts to think of training their children in every subject alongside the Word of God and a vow was made to follow this new path, trusting God to provide, which He did. All six children graduated from Christian Schools. God opened doors for Jay to be trained as a Coordinator for Accelerated Christian Education and he began to serve as Principal in two different Christian Schools. As a Coordinator, he visited schools all over the state of Arkansas helping them to achieve success. He was a shepherd, teaching math, English and all subjects, as well as the Bible, coaching basketball, taking students to state and national competitions in their chosen fields, and loving them with all his heart. God eventually took Jay back to the pastorate where he spent the greatest portion of his life serving Martindale Baptist Church in Little Rock, AR for 15 years and 6 years at Osceola First Baptist Church in Osceola, AR. Health issues brought Jay to retirement but he continued to fill the pulpit whenever and wherever needed. It was his joy to have opportunities to share God’s Word and God faithfully provided those opportunities. Jay is predeceased by his parents, J.R. and Lois Weaver; one daughter, April Fern Weaver; one grandchild and three great-grandchildren; and his paternal and maternal grandparents; survived by his loving wife, Belinda McMahan Weaver; his six children: Christopher Grady Weaver (Krystal), Jayna Sue Davis (Bob), Joy Beth Billson (Gerry), Jill Amelyn Averitt (Alex), William Cary Weaver (Sara), Andrew Jay Weaver (Elaina); twenty-one grandchildren and three great-grandchildren with three additional great-grandchildren expected this year; also, sisters-Syble Rogers, Virble Bell, and Jalois Cox; brothers-Dale Weaver, Gale Weaver, Kendall Weaver, and Robert Weaver; also a host of nieces and nephews. Please join us in the celebration of Jay’s life on Saturday, January 14, 2023 at New Life Baptist Church, Alexander, Arkansas. Visitation will be 9:00-11:00 a.m. and service at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers memorials may be sent to: Arkansas Right to Life, New Beginnings Pregnancy Center, Benton, AR.
Rayburn Lee Formon
Date of passing: January 5, 2023
Rev. Rayburn Lee Formon, of Paragould, AR, went to be with the Lord on January 5, 2023. He was born on January 28, 1958, to Leeman and Rachel Formon in Jonesboro, AR. Rayburn was a veteran of the U. S. Army. He was a man gifted with many talents including upholstery, auto paint and body work, and carpentry. He was a devout Christian and pastored Cross Trails Cowboy Church in Pocahontas, AR. One of his proudest accomplishments was being married to his high school sweetheart of 50 years. Survivors include his wife, Rebecca Watkins Formon of the home; children, Amee (Shannon) Tribble of Trumann, AR, Derek (Stacy) Formon of Paragould, AR, Andy (Misty) Formon of Paragould; grandchildren, Kellie, Allyson, Addison, Kadence, Landon, Riley; and sister, Julie Formon of Leachville, AR. Rayburn was preceded in death by his parents, Leeman and Rachel Formon and brother, Warren Formon. The family will receive friends on Sunday, January 8, from 12:00 p.m. until service time at Phillips Funeral Home. The funeral service will begin at 2:00 p.m. at Phillips Funeral Home with Rev. Don Settles officiating. Burial will follow at Pruetts Chapel Cemetery. Landon Formon, Nathan McKelvey, George Pratt, Tom Jackson, Dennis White, and Anthony Walker will serve as pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers include Red Pearcy and the Cross Trails Cowboy Church men. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to NEA Baptist Fowler Family Center for Cancer Care.
Georgieann Darter
Date of passing: January 2, 2023
Georgieann June Darter, age 80, of Bella Vista, Arkansas, passed away on Monday, January 2, 2023, at Promenade Health and Rehab in Rogers, Arkansas. Daughter of George and Margaret (Clark) Davidson, Georgieann was born on May 6, 1942, in Baltimore, Maryland. On July 15, 1960, she married the love of her life, Thomas Darter in at Glen Burnie Baptist Church in Glen Burnie, Maryland. Georgieann worked as a adult education teacher and later in life went on to receive her Masters in Counseling. She was a loving wife and mother, who always put her family first. Georgieann was a devoted pastoral wife, walking alongside her husband, spreading the gospel. The word of God was a light to her path, her favorite scripture being “My Flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” Psalms 73:26. She was loved by so many and will be forever missed. Survivors include her loving husband, Thomas Darter, of Bella Vista, Arkansas; four daughters, Leslie Anne Coston and her husband Daniel, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, Lori Gay Mullins and her husband Michael, of Royal, Arkansas, Patricia Townsend and her husband David, of Alma, Arkansas, Phyllis Fields and her husband Shawn, of Rogers, Arkansas; nine grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; two sisters, Margaret Mae Hashinminjad, of Rancho Cucamonga, California, and Shirley Lee Long and her husband James, of Bella Vista, Arkansas; five nieces; and one nephew. In addition to her parents, Georgieann was preceded in death by one brother, George Thomas Davidson, and one sister, Patricia Ann Johnson. Memorial services will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, January 20, 2023, at Grace Baptist Church in Rogers, Arkansas. Cremation arrangements are under the direction of Cremations Only, Springdale, Arkansas.
Charles Henry Stender, Sr.
Date of passing: December 29, 2022
Charles Henry Stender Sr. of Clarendon, Arkansas, passed away Thursday, December 29, 2022. He was 88 years of age. Charles was born June 28, 1934, to the late George Henry Stender, and Pauline Francis (McKibben) Stender. He was a graduate of Stuttgart High School and Ouachita Baptist University. He was a coach and teacher at various school districts including Clarendon, Stuttgart, Pine, Bluff, and Little Rock. He was a member and deacon of Clarendon First Baptist Church. Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by the love of his life Jeanne Frances (Crabtree) Stender. She passed away three days prior to their 62nd wedding anniversary; two brothers, Paul, Stender, and Bobby Joe Stender, and sister, Shirley Nolte. Charles is survived by his son, Charles Stender Jr. (Rose); daughter, Paula Frances Bass; grandsons, John C. Stender (Victoria) and Paul Langley (Melanie); granddaughter, Cayla JeLin Bass; and great-grandchildren, Wyatt C. Stender, Brodie Langley, and Avery Jo Langley. A special mention to Wilma Smith who provided care and companionship after Jeanne’s passing. The family appreciates the love and care you provided our dad. Besides being active at his church, Charles and Jeanne volunteered in mission fields. He was a member of Rock Builders, Church in a Day, Campers on Missions, the Gideon’s, the Optimist club, and the Lions Club. They volunteered extensively with church camps like Camp Paron, Camp Lonsdale, Siloam, Springs, and the like. Visitation and funeral service was held Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023, at First Baptist Church, 224 Washington St., in Clarendon, Arkansas 72029. Burial at Lone Tree Cemetery by Turpin Funeral Home of Stuttgart. Please go to to sign the online guestbook.
Jody Gannaway
Date of passing: December 11, 2022
Reverend Edgar Joe “Jody” Gannaway, 87, of Arkansas City, Arkansas, left this earth and walked into the arms of Jesus to begin his heavenly celebration on December 11, 2022. Going before him were his infant daughter, Angela Joel Gannaway; parents, Edgar C. and Pauline Borland Gannaway; brother, Cullen Gannaway; son-in-law, Bob Smiley; and brother-in-law, Wes Tucker. Jody was born February 18, 1935, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Having lived in many towns during his adult life, he always considered Arkansas City to be his home. Growing up on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi River, he claimed to have swam the width of ‘Ole Man River’ a time or two and was proud to be a rowdy “River Rat.” This is where he surrendered to the ministry at the young age of nine years old and returned to his family’s home place to retire and spend the final years of his life. After graduating Arkansas City High School, he attended Southern Baptist College in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. In the years following, he finished his studies at Ouachita Baptist University where he earned a degree in Religion. It was no secret that he took pride in fulfilling God’s calling of him to be a preacher and spread the gospel. Being an avid outdoorsman, he loved hunting on the farm, fishing in the blue holes and riding the levee with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Raising a vegetable garden and roses were also at the top of his hobbies along with gathering, cracking and picking out any pecan that hit the ground and sharing his bounty with family and friends. Some of the biggest impacts he left with everyone he encountered was his strong handshakes, that right-handed jab, and his big, booming voice leaving you to know he was tough and strong. Yet he had a way of connecting with people in the most compassionate way, making it known that he loved the Lord and wanting everyone he met to love the Lord the same way. The beginning of his ministry was served at St. Charles Baptist Church in St. Charles, Arkansas. Followed by Temple Baptist Church in Dermott, Arkansas, where the majority of his pastoral years were served during two separate callings. He also pastored at Northside Baptist Church in Bernie, Missouri; Magnolia Baptist Church in Crossett, Arkansas and First Baptist Church in Glenwood, Arkansas. In January, 2022, he retired while serving at Arkansas City Baptist Church in Arkansas City, Arkansas, his childhood church and where he was ordained to preach in 1956. Other ministries very close to his servant’s heart included Wolf Creek Baptist Camp, numerous nursing homes and local prisons. Traveling on several mission trips he was able to spread God’s word both domestic and abroad, including Guatemala and Brazil. Being a young bachelor and pastor at Temple Baptist Church in Dermott, Arkansas, he met Meverine Duncan Long, a widow with four young children. He loved telling the story of how her good looks caught his attention but his heart was captured through the food she brought to church. He called her the “Queen of fried pies” and he was especially impressed with her “wash tub sized” serving of homemade banana pudding. Jody and Meverine married on December 1, 1963. He instantly became a father to four young children and raised them as his own and later completed their family when they had a son together. Leaving behind to continue his legacy is his loving and faithful wife of 59 years, Meverine Duncan Long Gannaway, along with their 5 children: Rhonda Long Smiley of Jonesboro, Arkansas; Karen Long Tyson and husband Kenneth of Peach Orchard, Arkansas; Tonda Long Franklin and husband Greg of Ruston, Louisiana; Keith Long and wife Melinda of Hamburg, Arkansas; Jonathan Gannaway of Arkansas City, Arkansas. Also continuing his legacy are his pride and joy including 11 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren and 1 great-great grandchild, affectionately calling him “Papaw G” and cherishing their fond, adventurous and mischievous memories that he was known for. He is also survived by his sister, Mary “Cissy” Gannaway Tucker, of Monticello, Arkansas and a very special grand dog, Blue; along with a host of nieces, nephews and extended family members. Visitation: Wednesday, December 14, 2022, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Arkansas City Baptist Church, 703 Robert S Moore Avenue, Arkansas City, Arkansas. Funeral service: Thursday, December 15, 2022, at 1:00 p.m., C.B. King Memorial – Adult Center Auditorium, 1008 Sadie Lee Avenue, Arkansas City, Arkansas. Interment: Dermott Cemetery, 502 West Gaines Street, Dermott, Arkansas Officiant/Son: Keith Long Pallbearers/Grandsons: Christan Tyson, Clark Tyson, Brian Smiley, Javan Long, Bradley Franklin and Keegan Gannaway In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to: Arkansas City Baptist Church or C.B. King Memorial – Adult CenterLeaving behind to continue his legacy is his loving and faithful wife of 59 years, Meverine Duncan Long Gannaway, along with their 5 children: Rhonda Long Smiley of Jonesboro, Arkansas; Karen Long Tyson and husband Kenneth of Peach Orchard, Arkansas; Tonda Long Franklin and husband Greg of Ruston, Louisiana; Keith Long and wife Melinda of Hamburg, Arkansas; Jonathan Gannaway of Arkansas City, Arkansas. Also continuing his legacy are his pride and joy including 11 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren and 1 great-great grandchild, affectionately calling him “Papaw G” and cherishing their fond, adventurous and mischievous memories that he was known for. He is also survived by his sister, Mary “Cissy” Gannaway Tucker, of Monticello, Arkansas and a very special grand dog, Blue; along with a host of nieces, nephews and extended family members. Visitation: Wednesday, December 14, 2022, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Arkansas City Baptist Church, 703 Robert S Moore Avenue, Arkansas City, Arkansas. Funeral service: Thursday, December 15, 2022, at 1:00 p.m., C.B. King Memorial – Adult Center Auditorium, 1008 Sadie Lee Avenue, Arkansas City, Arkansas. Interment: Dermott Cemetery, 502 West Gaines Street, Dermott, Arkansas Officiant/Son: Keith Long Pallbearers/Grandsons: Christan Tyson, Clark Tyson, Brian Smiley, Javan Long, Bradley Franklin and Keegan Gannaway In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to: Arkansas City Baptist Church or C.B. King Memorial – Adult Center
Charlotte Gray
Date of passing: November 24, 2022
Charlotte Lewis Gray of West Memphis passed away Thursday, November 24, 2022 in Memphis Tennessee. She was born January 20th, the same birthday as her two older sisters, to the late J. Arlie and Noma McLeod Lewis in Hermitage, AR. From her early childhood, Charlotte wanted to be a lawyer. Not having the finances at the time to attend law school, she went to work with Dr. W. T. Lowe in Pine Bluff. Dr. Lowe decided to make a nurse out of her and thus began her career in healthcare. Charlotte received her BSN and MSN from Arkansas State University. She was a registered nurse, nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist. She taught nursing at East Arkansas Community College in Forrest City as well as developed and taught “Math for Nurses”. During this time, she chaired the NCA’s Integrity Accreditation Committee at EACC. She also taught nursing at Mid-South Community College in West Memphis and was the Director of Crittenden Primary Care, where she helped recruit new physicians for the hospital’s clinics. She was co-developer of the Day Surgery Unit at Crittenden Memorial Hospital and a Cardiac Rehabilitation & Employee Health Nurse. Her community involvement included being Band Booster President, where she and her husband were selected as Band Parents of the Year. She was President of the Crittenden Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, President of Newcomers Club and served on various church, civic and municipal committees. Additional church and community involvement included being a member of First Baptist Church of West Memphis, where she taught 4th grade Sunday School, served as Children’s Division Director, director of Children’s Bible Drill, directed the 2nd grade children’s choir and a member of the handbell and sanctuary choirs. She served as State Regional Coordinator for the Children’s, Youth and High School Bible Drills as well as Youth Speaker’s Tournament. The impact she made in the lives of children, through over 50 years of service in Bible Drill, was highlighted in the Arkansas Baptist News Magazine. Other memberships and awards were Sigma Theta Tau (Nursing Honors Society), Honors Member of Florence Nightingale Society, Phi Kappa Phi, NLN, ASNP, ARNA, BSN Academic Scholar (highest GPA), MSN Academic Scholar (highest GPA), Outstanding Clinical Student, The President’s Award, Honors Day Award, Awarded Honor Membership in Nightingale Society, Employee Nurse of the Month-Crittenden Regional Hospital, 2008 Crittenden Regional Hospital Employee of the Year Award and Finalist in 2009 and 2010 Arkansas Most Compassionate Nurse Award. She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul E. Gray, Sr.; three sisters, Peggy Spears, Arline Watson and Reba Nell Belin; son, Paul E. Gray Jr.; granddaughter, Rebecca Elizabeth Vaughn; great-granddaughter, Riley Gray Pool, as well as her parents. Survivors include daughter, Susan Elizabeth Waggener (Frank Waggener) of West Memphis; grandchildren, Rachel Gray Pool (Jim Pool), Kelly Oaks (Rachel Oaks), Kevin Gray (Katie Harris) and Lauren Gray (Matt Bacsalmasi) and great-grandsons, Caleb James Pool and Grayson Thomas Pool. Charlotte was very active in the lives of her family, church and community and will be dearly missed by them all. A Visitation was held on Sunday, November 27, 2022 at First Baptist Church in West Memphis with the funeral 5:00pm. In lieu of flowers, the family request that donations may be made to First Baptist Church Children’s Ministry in West Memphis; ASU MidSouth – Paul Gray Memorial Scholarship; Ouachita Baptist University – Riley Gray Pool Memorial or St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
James Allen Thomas
Date of passing: November 24, 2022
James Allen “Big Al” Thomas, 68, of Benton, Arkansas walked into the arms of Jesus on November 24, 2022. He was born January 7, 1954 in Little Rock, Arkansas to the late James and Helen Howard Thomas. He was a member of Old Union Baptist Church where he faithfully served. Allen’s love for God, his family and people was immeasurable. He never met a stranger. He took every opportunity to share his faith in Jesus. Allen was a great husband who adored his wife, children, and grandchildren. He was a joyful man who loved being a silly Papaw. You would often find him with bows in his hair and pink fingernails or showing off his knife collection. Al was everyone’s cheerleader, despite his deteriorating health. He loved animals, fishing, hunting, 4-wheeling, collecting flashlights, pens, old bottles, hats, knives, candy bars, and Dr. Peppers. Allen leaves behind his wife of 45 years, Nina Thomas of Benton; three children: Jamie Barker (Sid), Jeremy Thomas (Mandy), and Crystal Williams (Isaac), nine grandchildren: Hunter Barker; Canaan, Graceson, Jericho, and Mercy Thomas; Sunny, Baker, Milly, and River Williams; three brothers: Keith Thomas (Corinne), Mark Thomas (Sharon), Karl Thomas (Carla), and Ralph Warren (Sherry); and many family members and friends who loved Allen and will miss him. The family would like to extend a special thank you to Hospice of Arkansas, Finley Pharmacy, and those who regularly spent time with Al, for going above and beyond with exceptional care and love. A celebration of life service will be held Friday, December 2. Visitation at 3:00 and celebration service at 4:00 at Highland Heights Baptist Church, 1421 Alcoa Road, in Benton. In lieu of flowers, consider donating to Arkansas Baptist Children Home and Family Ministries or Hospice of Arkansas. Services entrusted to Smith-Benton Funeral Home. Guestbook:
Donald E. Mulford
Date of passing: November 6, 2022
Reverend Donald E. Mulford was born to Edgar and Erma (Logan) Mulford on December 16, 1935, in Harrison, Arkansas. He passed from this life on November 6, 2022, at Mount Vista Nursing Home in Harrison. He was a school bus mechanic at Bergman until he was drafted into the Army at 22. He surrendered to the ministry and served the Lord for the rest of his life. He was a pastor of Southside Lead Hill, Peel Baptist Church, Deer, Cassville, Arkansas, Myrtle, Missouri, Desha, Arkansas, Pee Dee at Clinton, East Point at Russellville, Hopewell, and at present, Oregon Flat Baptist in Bergman. He also helped several other churches and performed over sixty weddings and over one hundred baptisms. He preached numerous revivals around Arkansas and Missouri. Survivors are his granddaughter, Kaylan, and Zach Holt; his great-granddaughter, Matilda; his brother, Bob and Iva Mulford; his sister, Mary and Jim Edwards; his daughter-in-law, Martha Mulford; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. Donald was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Phyllis Hawkey Mulford who was the mother of his only son; his son, Mark Mulford; his second wife, Charlotte Evans Mulford; and two infant brothers. Visitation was Friday at Roller-Christeson Funeral Home. The funeral service was Saturday at Oregon Flat Baptist Church with Larry Pless of Russellville officiating. The interment was in Summers Cemetery. Pallbearers were Mike, Kelly, and Darren Mulford, Charles Edwards, Elmer Wright, and Bruce Medley, Honorary pallbearers were Mason Brisco, Steve Holt, Tommy, James Roy and Darren Jackson, and his Sunday School Class. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Oregon Flat Baptist Church, PO Box 246, Bergman, AR 72615, Gideon International, or Summers Cemetery c/o Mary Edwards 4103 Mulford Dr, Harrison, AR 72601
Nathan Porter
Date of passing: October 3, 2022
Nathan Johnson Porter passed away Monday, October 3, 2022. Services will be 10:00 a.m., Saturday, October 8, at Calvary Baptist Church, with Rev. Hannah Coe and Dr. Jon Singletary officiating. Burial will follow at Oakwood Cemetery. Visitation will be 6:00-8:00 p.m. Friday, October 7, at Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey Funeral Home. Nathan was born July 22, 1932, in Campinas, Brazil, to Paul and Margaret Porter. Nathan graduated from Baylor University with a BA in History in 1953. He later completed a master’s degree and doctorate at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His work experiences include: pastoring a mission church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, working for the Southern Baptist Home Mission Board, serving as pastor of First Baptist Church, Arkadelphia, Arkansas, and later serving as a consultant for domestic hunger and disaster relief. He married Francis Booth on August 23, 1952. He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife of 54 years, Fran Porter; and four siblings. He is survived by his son, Joel Porter and wife, Janet, of Waco; daughters, Leslie Porter Smith, of Waco, and Becca Hollaway and husband, Steven, of Baltimore, Maryland; grandchildren, Sarah Campbell and husband, Dave, Nathan Hollaway, Whitney Luce and husband, Brandon, Porter Smith, and Josie Porter; and great-grandchildren, Hayden Luce, Hallie Luce, Durham Luce, and Conner Campbell. The family also includes adopted grandchildren Andrea McQuistion Han and Suzi McQuistion Mao. Nathan committed his life to serving God and others locally, nationally, and globally. He was a strong voice for the poor and vulnerable. He was known for his commitment to social justice and spent his life as an advocate for equality for all people. He was known for his gregarious loving nature. He enjoyed travel and sports and was a die-hard Baylor Bear fan. Nathan had tremendous pride in and love for his family. His legacy of love will live on in the lives of all he served and especially in the lives of his family. Honorary Pallbearers are Phil Allen, Nathan Hollaway, Porter Smith, and Brandon Luce. Memorials may be made to Calvary Baptist Church, 1001 N 18th-A Street, Waco TX 76707.

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