March 04, 2009 Edition

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Kara Jo Benson Ethan James Brewer Claire Harper Jones
Michael Alexander Williams


Billy Lee Baker Betty Jo Brandon Annabelle Justus
Clyde Olin Layne Theresa Parks Paul "Bix" Smith


Kara Jo Benson

Kayla Davis of Black Rock and Taylor Benson of Powhatan announce the birth of a daughter on Feb. 19, 2009, at Harris Hospital in Newport. She weighed seven pounds, eight ounces and has been named Kara Jo Benson.

Grandparents are Linda Maples of Black Rock, Billy Davis of Memphis and Jeffrey and Cheryl Benson of Powhatan.

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Ethan James Brewer

Trae and Danielle Brewer of Lynn have announced the birth of a son on Jan. 16, 2009, at NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital in Jonesboro. The baby weighed seven pounds, 11 ounces, and has been named Ethan James Brewer. He has an older brother, Eli Brewer, two.

Grandparents are Danny and Lynne Oliver and Royce and Debbie Helms. Great-grandparents are Glen and Marie Oliver, Faye Flanigan and Barbara Wells.

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Claire Harper Jones

Andrew and Kristal Jones announce the birth of their first child, a daughter born Feb. 23, 2009, at NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital in Jonesboro. She weighed seven pounds, 10 ounces and has been named Claire Harper Jones.

Grandparents are Larry and Marta Jones of Minturn and Cindy Stuck of Pampa, Texas. Great-grandmothers are Wilma Jones of Minturn, Mildred Easterly of Jonesboro and Terresa Snow of Pampa, Texas. Great-great-grandmothers are Inez Kennedy of Wilson, Okla., and Marie Redwine, Jenks, Okla.

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Michael Alexander Williams

Taylor and Tosha Williams of El Dorado have announced the birth of their first child, a son, born Feb. 21, 2009 at the Medical Center of South Arkansas in El Dorado.

The baby weighed nine pounds, six-and-one-half ounces, and has been named Michael Alexander Williams.

Grandparents are Kevin and Lorry Lee of Walnut Ridge, Jeff Williams of Smackover, and Kim Washam of Dallas.

Virginia Sparrow of Walnut Ridge, Tom Taylor of Black Rock, Lorraine Horst of Oregon, Ill., Charlotte Watson and Gary Williams, both of Smackover, Vonice French of El Dorado and Jimmy Marrible of Ruston, La., are the great-grandparents.

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Billy Lee Baker

Billy Lee Baker, 58, of Walnut Ridge, died Feb. 24, 2009, at Walnut Ridge Nursing and Rehab.

A construction worker, he had lived in Hoxie most of his life and was of the Church of Christ faith.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Sie and Alice Raney Baker; three sisters and four brothers.

Survivors include two sons, Billy Baker, Walnut Ridge, and Josh Baker, Arkadelphia; a sister, Connie Boyeskie, Sherwood; two brothers, Ed Baker, Walnut Ridge, and Gene Baker, Louisiana; and three grandchildren.

The body was cremated. Private burial was in Dry Creek Cemetery at Lynn under the direction of House-Gregg Funeral Home.

A memorial service was held Saturday at 3 p.m. at Main Street Church of Christ.

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Betty Jo Brandon

Betty Jo Brandon, 59, of Hoxie, died Feb. 20, 2009, at Walnut Ridge Nursing and Rehab.

She had lived in Hoxie the past five years after moving from Huntsville, Ala. She was a store clerk and was a member of the Fresh Word Church at Clover Bend.

She was preceded in death by her father, Dallas Gambrell; and a brother, James Gambrell.

Survivors include her husband, Samuel Brandon; two daughters, Christina Brown, Walnut Ridge, and Victoria Chase, Huntsville, Ala.; five sons, Michael Posey and Richard Lovelady, both of Alabama, Samuel Brandon, North Little Rock, William Brandon, Hoxie, and Jedidiah Brandon, Fayetteville; her mother, Berta Shannon Gambrell, Huntsville, Ala.; a sister, Barbara Jones, Huntsville, Ala.; two brothers, William Gambrell, Tennessee, and Donald Gambrell, New Hope, Ala.; and six grandchildren.

Graveside service was Sunday at 2 p.m. at Oak Forest Cemetery in Black Rock with Danny Whitmire officiating. House-Gregg Funeral Home had charge of arrangements.

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Annabelle Justus

Annabelle Justus, 98, of Imboden, died Feb. 24, 2009, at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

Born Nov. 23, 1910, at Tucumcari, N.M., she was the daughter of William and Onnie Hutchison Miller.

She was a homemaker and was a member of First United Methodist Church in Imboden, where she taught Sunday school for over 40 years. She volunteered at Wayland Spring Methodist Church Camp for many years and was a member of the Red Hat Club. She and her husband operated the forestry tower at Imboden until their retirement. She was an avid supporter of the Sloan-Hendrix High School basketball team, never missing a single game. The team always had a special chair at courtside for her.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Shelby Justus, on Dec. 26, 1972.

Survivors include three nephews, William Miller, Donald Miller and Kenneth Miller.

Funeral was Saturday at 10 a.m. at First United Methodist Church in Imboden with Rev. Bob McMillon officiating. Burial was in Hope Cemetery at Imboden under the direction of Higginbotham Funeral Service.

Memorials may be made to the Annabelle Justus Educational Scholarship Fund, in care of First United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 117, Imboden, AR 72434.

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Clyde Olin Layne

Clyde Olin Layne, 86, of Black Rock, died Feb. 25, 2009, at St. Bernards in Jonesboro.

Born Aug. 6, 1922, at Rector, he was the son of William Henry and Estella Sagely Layne. A World War II Army veteran, he was a farmer and was a member of the New Life Full Gospel Church at Black Rock.

He was preceded in death by two sons, Jerry William Layne and Carroll Olin Layne; and four grandchildren.

Survivors include his wife, Nina Mae Harmon Layne, whom he married June 13, 1942; three daughters, Nina Kaye Brown, Walnut Ridge, Brenda Sue Bennett, Jonesboro, and Lisa Diane Layne, Searcy; two sons, Larry Lee Layne, Jonesboro, and Byron Dale Layne, Searcy; 10 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and a great-great-grandchild.

Funeral was Saturday at 2 p.m. at the New Life Full Gospel Church in Black Rock with Bros. Wayne Bryant and Alan Stinnett officiating.

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Theresa Parks

Theresa Hurst Parks, 75, of Jonesboro, died March 1, 2009, at NEA Medical Center in Jonesboro.

Born in Alicia, she lived most of her life in Memphis before moving to Jonesboro in 2000. She worked for several years as a bank bookkeeper in Memphis and was a member of the Baptist church.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Bob Parks; her parents, Marvin and Sylvia Hurst; a sister, Eva Hurst; and a brother, Silas (Ed) Hurst.

Survivors include three sisters, Bess Wilson, Jonesboro, and Esther Montgomery and Rachel Broadway, both of Walnut Ridge; a brother, Zane Hurst, Walnut Ridge; and a special nephew, Gary Parks, Nashville, Tenn.

Graveside service is today at 2 p.m. at Trinity Cemetery under the direction of Emerson Funeral Home of Jonesboro.

Nephews will serve as pallbearers.

An online guestbook is available at

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Paul "Bix" Smith

Paul "Bix" Smith, 70, of Jonesboro, died Feb. 28, 2009, at his home.

Born July 15, 1938, in Blytheville, he was an artist, musician and art professor.

He lived his early life in Imboden and attended grade school at Sloan-Hendrix until his family moved to Pierceton, Ind., when he was 12 years old. A 1956 graduate of Pierceton High School, he served in the U.S. Air Force from 1961 to 1965.

After his service, he earned a bachelor's degree from the Herron School of Art and Design at Indiana University. He worked as a writer, photographer and photo editor for the Indianapolis Star for 11 years. He returned to Arkansas in 1973 and worked as the art director for KAIT-TV in Jonesboro. He later earned a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Memphis and was a professor of art at Arkansas State University's Newell campus for several years. His professional art included painting, sketches, graphic design and photography. His artwork has been displayed regionally and in other areas he has lived.

As a musician, he played guitar and bass guitar for a variety of groups in Indianapolis, Chicago, California, Jonesboro and Chateauroux, France. He also acted in community theater productions.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Emmanuel Smith and Jewell Campbell Smith Moore.

Survivors include a son, Sam Brown, Nappanee, Ind.; two sisters, Shirley Eye and husband Pete, Lenexa, Kan., and Debbie Soucy and husband Yves, Memphis; and a brother, Stanley Smith, Austin, Texas.

Funeral is Thursday at 1 p.m. in Higginbotham Chapel with Bro. Joe Loghry officiating. Burial will be in Old Bethel Cemetery, near Black Rock, under the direction of Higginbotham Funeral Service.

Visitation is tonight from 5-8 p.m. at the funeral home.

Memorials may be made to the Bix Smith Scholarship Fund, in care of Jonesboro Public Schools, 870-933-5800 or to St. Jude's.

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