January 7, 2009 Edition

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James Kyle Craig Jr.


Colte Allen Benson Raymond L. Hudson Billie Jo Huskey
John Merrell Sr. William David Mullen Martin O'Gara III
Bernard Robertson Clyde B. Simmons Alton Tounsand
Nita Bob Warner


James Kyle Craig Jr.

Kyle and Felissa Craig of Walnut Ridge announce the birth of a son born Jan. 2, 2009, at NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital in Jonesboro. The baby weighed seven pounds, six ounces and has been named James Kyle Craig Jr.

He has two sisters, Mattie, six, and Kylie, two.

Grandparents are David and Linda Ellis of Walnut Ridge, Mike and Debbie Beaver of Pocahontas and Ron and Vicki Craig of Paragould.

Billy and Zelma Ellis of Walnut Ridge and Coleman and Elsie Allmond of Natchez, Miss., are the great-grandparents.

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Colte Allen Benson

Colte Allen Benson, 22, of Williston, Tenn., died Dec. 27, 2008, in Memphis.

Born Nov. 2, 1986, in Memphis, he graduated from West Union High School in Myrtle, Miss., and was a 2008 graduate of Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis. He was presently completing his requirement for certification as an emergency medical technician. He was of the Methodist faith and had resided with his family in the Williston community for the past 10 years.

Survivors include his parents, Jamie A. and Stefanie Besinger Benson; a sister, Kiefer Benson, Williston; a brother, Chanc Benson, Williston; his grandparents, Paul and Margaret Besinger, Ripley, Miss., and Frank and Lynn Benson, Germantown, Tenn., formerly of Walnut Ridge.

Funeral was Dec. 30 at Peebles West Funeral Chapel in Oakland, Tenn., with Rev. Jim Stubbs officiating. Burial was in Fayette County Memorial Park Cemetery.

Pallbearers were Alex Hall, Matt Martin, Josh Pearce, Brandon Pearce, Alex Carr and Elliott Copen.

Memorials may be made to the charity of the donor's choice.

A guestbook is available to sign at www.legacy.com through The Commerical Appeal.

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Raymond L. Hudson

Raymond Lowell Hudson, 77, of Walnut Ridge, died Jan. 3, 2009, at a Jonesboro hospital.

Born near Walnut Ridge, he was the son of Edgar and Georgia Blandford Hudson. He was retired from Coors in Waldenburg and was a carpenter. He was of the Church of Christ belief.

He was preceded in death by two brothers, J.L. Hudson and David Hudson.

Survivors include a daughter, Cynthia Tidwell, Bono; two sisters, Virginia Tate, Jonesboro, and Wilma Craig, Ravenden; two brothers, Marvin Hudson, Tuckerman, and Wayne Hudson, Greenbrier; and two grandchildren.

Graveside service was Monday at 10 a.m. at Markham Cemetery, near Egypt, with Kenneth Gossett officiating. House-Gregg Funeral Home had charge of arrangements.

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Billie Jo Huskey

Billie Jo Huskey, 44, of Powhatan, formerly of Joiner, died Jan. 2, 2009, at St. Bernards in Jonesboro.

Born May 4, 1944, at Blytheville, she was a factory worker and was a member of Faith Tabernacle at Hoxie.

Survivors include her husband, Wesley Huskey; two daughters, Ginger Clifton and Jennifer Davis; two sons, Jamie Blake and Justin Blake; her parents, Billy and Janet Harston; two sisters, Pamela Collums and Melissa Griffin; a brother, Michael Harston; and five grandchildren.

Funeral was Monday at 1 p.m. at Wilson Funeral Home in Osceola with Ted Shields officiating. Burial was in Louise Chapel.

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John Merrell Sr.

John Jackson "Buck" Merrell Sr., 61, of Wynne, died Jan. 2, 2009, in Wynne.

Born April 24, 1947, at Egypt, he served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He received a degree in refrigeration and also farmed.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Janie Chadwick Merrell; two brothers, Charles Merrell and J.D. Brown; a sister, Nova Headrick; and a grandson, Cody Wood.

Survivors include his wife, Doris Watson Merrell; two sons, John Merrell Jr. and wife Lisa, Cherry Valley, and Wade Hunt and wife Shelly, Wynne; three daughters, Pamela Merrell, Cherry Valley, Tina Silvey, Arizona, and Karla Wood and husband Heth, Wynne; a brother, Earl Brown, Edmonton, Okla.; four sisters, Vera Gilchrist, Wynne, Anna Bea Merrell, Big Springs, Texas, Maxine Miles and husband Bill, Marianna, and Pansy Smith and husband Jack, Tulsa, Okla.; eight grandchildren: Janie, Travis, Shayden, Amanda, Jonathan, Logan, Timmy and Morgan; and a great-grandson, Johnny Hunt.

Funeral was Monday at 10 a.m. at Thompson-Wilson Funeral Home in Wynne. Burial with military honors was in Halk Cemetery at Wynne.

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William David Mullen

William David Mullen, 59, of Walnut Ridge, died Jan. 3, 2008, at his home.

He had been a practicing attorney in Walnut Ridge since taking over the law practice of his grandfather, Judge Roy Mullen, in 1976.

He was a member of the American Bar Association, the Arkansas Bar Association and the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association. He served as president of the Lawrence-Randolph Bar Association from 1984 to 1986 and was currently serving as the organization's treasurer.

He received his preparatory education from Harding University in 1967-68. He received a B.S. from Arkansas State University in 1971 and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law School in 1976. He was admitted to the bar in 1976.

He served as Deputy Prosecuting Attorney of Lawrence County in 1979 and as city attorney for Ravenden in 1981, Lynn in 1990 and Strawberry in 1992.

He was elected president of the Walnut Ridge Jaycees in 1982 and was named Outstanding Local President by the Arkansas Jaycees in 1985. He was named Key Man in 1981.

He was named to Who's Who in American Law in 1991 and Who's Who in Emerging Leaders 1991-1996. He was a lecturer at Williams Baptist College from 1980 to 1990. He was named Outstanding Lawyer/Citizen by the Arkansas Bar Association in 1986 and was given the Outstanding Pro Bono Attorney award by Legal Aid of Arkansas in 2004.

He was the owner of Sonic/Casey's Drive-In in Walnut Ridge from 1978 to 1980 and Area Health Club from 1988 to 1993. He founded Service Abstract Company in Pocahontas in 1978. He coached Walnut Ridge Little League from 1979-1986 and served as director of the Walnut Ridge Christmas parade from 1981 to 1990.

He was preceded in death by his parents, William Lemoyne Mullen and Margaret Van Mullen.

Survivors include two daughters, Laura Gwen Mullen, Walnut Ridge, and Mary Lynn Mullen, Springdale; a sister, Debra Franks, Jonesboro; a brother, Dan Mullen, Walnut Ridge; and a granddaughter, Mary Margaret Mullen.

Funeral was Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Main Street Church of Christ with Rob Combs officiating. Burial was in Lawrence Memorial Park under the direction of Bryan Funeral Home.

Pallbearers were Alan Brand, Keith Brand, Byron McEntire, Dirk Davis, Roger Ray and Mike Steinneger.

Memorials may be made to the American Heart Association or the American Diabetes Association.

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Martin O'Gara III

Martin O'Gara III, 79, of Franklin, La., died Dec. 30, 2008, at Patterson Health Care Nursing Home in Franklin.

He lived in England and Africa before moving to New Jersey in 1957. He lived in California for 18 years before moving to Louisiana. He worked in the oil fields and later became a dairy farmer. He was a member of St. Michael Catholic Church in Patterson, La.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Martin II and Ellen Broom O'Gara; a brother, Jim O'Gara; and an infant sister.

Survivors include his wife, Margaret Gill O'Gara, Ravenden; two sons, John J. O'Gara, Ravenden, and Martin "Marty" O'Gara IV, Franklin, La.; a sister, Rita Kielty, Ireland; a grandchild; and a great-grandchild.

Funeral was Saturday at 10 a.m. at House-Gregg Funeral Home with Rev. Paul Worm officiating. Burial was in Dail Cemetery at Ravenden.

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Bernard Robertson

Bernard C. "Bernie" Robertson, 77, of Kirkland, Ill., a native of the Mount Vernon community near Black Rock, died Dec. 20, 2008, at his home.

Born May 18, 1931, in Black Rock, he was the son of Thomas Mose "T.M." and Edith Beeler Robertson. He moved to Illinois at age 16 and farmed for Wes Johnson of Malta until starting his own farm in 1959. He built a successful family-run beef and grain farm near Kirkland.

He was a member of the Kirkland United Methodist Church, the DeKalb County Farm Bureau and the National Cattleman's Association. He served in the U.S. Army from 1952 until 1956.

He was preceded in death by a son, Thomas Zane Robertson; seven brothers, TJ, Doris, Shelby, Doc, Virgil, Cannon and Lavelle; and a sister, Vela Brown.

Survivors include his wife, Carol Robertson; four children, David Robertson, Madison, Wis., Elaine Elliott and husband Robert, Stockton, Ill., Sandra Robertson, Cherry Valley, and Craig Robertson, Kingston, Ill.; five sisters, Evelyn Flippo, Powhatan, Maudeline Rogers, Nettie Oldham and Dora McAllister, all of Jonesboro, and Betty Jean McCarty, Lima, Ohio; five grandchildren, Joel Robertson, Cori Ann Elliott, Zane Elliott, Thomas Robertson and Lillian Robertson; a great-grandson; and a great-granddaughter expected in January.

Funeral was Saturday, Dec. 27, at Quiram-Sycamore Funeral Chapel in Sycamore, Ill. Burial was in Maple Cemetery in Kirkland.

A memorial fund has been established in care of Quiram-Sycamore Funeral Chapel, 1245 Somonauk Street, Sycamore, IL 60178.

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Clyde B. Simmons

Clyde B. Simmons, 90, of Smithville, died Dec. 29, 2008, at Cave City Nursing Home.

Born May 13, 1918, at Cave City, he was the son of Charlie and Lizzie Girtman Simmons. He was a World War II Army veteran and a retired farmer. He was retired from White Rodgers in Batesville and was a member of the Ring's Chapel Missionary Baptist Church.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Bertha Faye Foster Simmons; three brothers, Olen Simmons, Leon Simmons and Charles Simmons; and three sisters. Nova Hill, Louie Mae Cooper Damron and lona Simmons.

Survivors include three sons, Clyde D. Simmons and wife Martha, Lavaca, Donald Wayne Simmons and wife Brenda, Cave City, and Dwight A. Simmons, Smithville; two sisters, lola McMillan, Mart, Texas, and Nina Simpson, Kansas City, Mo.; five grandchildren, Jonathan Simmons, Heather Landers, Adam Simmons, Shawn Simmons and Ashley Simmons; and eight great-grandchildren.

Funeral was Thursday at 2 p.m. at Qualls Funeral Home in Cave City with Bro. Grayden Milligan officiating. Burial was in Fairview Cemetery east of Cave City.

Pallbearers were Charles Hutchison, Keith Bates, Jim Baxter, Larry Brown, Jim Simpson, Ronald Mobley and Johnny McMillan. Grandsons served as honorary pallbearers.

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Alton Tounsand

Alton Tounsand, 61, of Jonesboro, brother of Arthur Townsand of Ravenden, died Dec. 29, 2008. Graveside service was Friday at Lorado Cemetery with Allen Elkins officiating. Roller-Farmers Union Funeral Home of Jonesboro had charge of arrangements.

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Nita Bob Warner

Nita Bob Warner, 92, of Seminole, Fla., died Dec. 4, 2008, at Freedom Square Nursing Center.

Born in Hoxie, she was the daughter of the late R.B. and Louis Warner. She graduated from Walnut Ridge High School at age 15. She received a BA degree from Hendrix College in 1936 and an MS degree from Louisiana State University the following year.

In June of 1943, after completing training at Mt. Holyoake College, she traveled to Camp Lejeune, N.C., where she was commissioned as a second lieutenant in only the second class of women to graduate as marines. This was the beginning of her remarkable journey into the world of the Women Marines. Her assignments were varied during her 24-year career, including: serving as motor transport officer at El Toro during World War II; college recruiter stationed in Boston; head of officer training in Quantico; and adjutant and recruiter at Hdq. USMC in D.C.

Her favorite duty station was Naples, Italy, where she was the administrative assistant and secretary to the commander-in-chief of Allied Forces Southern Europe. Here she received top-secret messages around the clock, hand delivering them to the admiral's villa outside Naples. The benefits of this position were many and she lived for over two years in the city overlooking the Bay of Naples. She accompanied the admiral and his wife on their barge in the Mediterranean. She met kings, queens and other dignitaries while traveling with the admiral and his wife throughout Europe.

After retiring as Lt. Col. in 1966, she continued her dedication to the Women Marines while residing in Florida. She served as national president of the Women Marines Association from 1976-78. She also founded the state branch of the association in Arkansas.

She was preceded in death by a sister, Merle Burrow.

Survivors include a niece, Betsy Kline, California; two grandnieces, Robyn Voshardt, New York City, and Amanda Theodore, Colorado; and her children, Alexis and Michael Theodore.

Graveside service is Saturday at 2 p.m. at Lawrence Memorial Park. The family will be receiving friends following the service at the Wesley Room at the First United Methodist Church of Walnut Ridge.

Memorials may be made to the Women Marines Scholarship Fund at P.O. Box 8405, Falls Church, VA 22041.

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