September 07, 2011 Edition

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Dexter Ray Phillips Keegan Anthony Tate


Simmons ~ Kapales Walls ~ Barker


Beverly Coke Darnell Ray Joe Distretti Phil Edward Dodd
Clara Belle Fletcher Anna Louise Gann Florence A. Highfield
Polly Lingo Rick Monroe Patricia Louise Penn
Billy F. Runyan Michael Thomas Danny Warren


Dexter Ray Phillips

Craig and Magen Phillips of Walnut Ridge have announced the birth of their first child, a son, on Aug. 19, 2011, at NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital in Jonesboro.

The baby weighed eight pounds, 12 ounces, and has been named Dexter Ray Phillips.

Grandparents are Mike and Jo Carol Phillips of Walnut Ridge and Richard and Robbie Eagan of Pocahontas.

He is the great-grandson of Richard and Mae Phillips and Relton Forehand, all of Walnut Ridge, and Dorothy Keller and Jack and Lin Eagan, all of Jonesboro.

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Keegan Anthony Tate

Will and Amanda Tate of Hoxie have announced the birth of a son on Aug. 28, 2011, at NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital in Jonesboro. The baby weighed nine pounds, one ounce, and has been named Keegan Anthony Tate.

He has two older siblings, Macie Koelling and Jamison Tate.

Grandparents are Marlyn and Brenda Tate of Hoxie and Bruce and Teresa Cooper of Paragould.

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Simmons ~ Kapales

James and Tammy Glenn of Powhatan have announced the engagement and forthcoming marriage of their daughter, Nika LeighAnn Simmons, to James Eugene Kapales IV, son of James Eugene III and Darlene Kapales of Walnut Ridge.

The bride-elect is the granddaughter of James and Karen Davis of Powhatan and Carol Williams of Walnut Ridge. She is a 2010 graduate of Walnut Ridge High School.

The prospective groom is the grandson of James Eugene Kapales II of Pocahontas and the late Aileen Kapales and the late Jessie and Louise Clark. He is a 2011 graduate of Walnut Ridge High School and has joined the U.S. Marines.

The couple will exchange vows on Sept. 23 at First Free Will Baptist Church in Walnut Ridge. All family and friends are invited.

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Walls ~ Barker

Robert Barker Huskey Jr. and Jacque Walls, both of Smithville, have announced their engagement and forthcoming marriage.

The bride-elect is the daughter of Sharon Fooks of Oxford, Miss. She is an Oxford High School graduate and is employed by Newark Health and Wellness Center as an office manger and X-ray tech. She is also working to complete her accounting degree.

The prospective groom is the son of the late RB and Joyce Huskey. He is a Lynn High School graduate and is retired from the United States Navy.

The couple will exchange vows on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Faith Missionary Baptist Church in Eaton.

A reception will also be held at the church in the fellowship hall following the wedding.

The couple plans to reside in Smithville.

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Beverly Jean Coke Darnell

Beverly Jean Coke Darnell, 68, of Bartlett, Tenn., died Sept. 1, 2011, at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis.

She was born Oct. 17, 1942, at Jessup.

Survivors include her husband, Ray Darnell; two daughters, Becky Darnell and Beth Darnell Goodson, both of Germantown, Tenn.; a son, Brad Darnell, Somerville, Tenn.; two stepchildren, Maria Fowler, Searcy, and Randy Darnell, Beebe; a sister, Donna Fleharty, Benton; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Funeral was Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Roller-Citizens Funeral Home in West Memphis. Burial was in Crittenden Memorial Park at Marion.

An online guestbook is available at

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Ray Joe Distretti

Ray Joe Distretti, 89, of Paragould, died Aug. 22, 2011, at Arkansas Methodist Medical Center.

Born Sept. 19, 1921, in Memphis, he was the son of Giovanni Battista and Maria Beltrami Distretti. He was a founding member of the Italian Market in Memphis at the age of 19. He worked as a truck patch farmer before moving his family from Memphis in 1956. He began farming in Greene County in 1957, starting with 240 acres. He was a member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church.

He was a member of the Greene County Tech School Board from 1969-1974, a Craighead Electric Co-op Director from 1975-1984, and was director and vice-chairman of the Federal Land Bank Association for 22 years, from 1967-1989. He was also president of the Greene County Farm Bureau Board and a member of the Stanford Co-op Board. He and his family were named Farm Family of the Year in Greene County in 1966. As part of the agriculture industry, he did regular business in Lawrence County.

He was preceded in death by his wife Florence Mozella Gatlin Distretti; six sisters and five brothers.

Survivors include a son, Johnny Distretti and wife Jannie, Paragould; a daughter, Sandy "Ikey" Distretti and husband Gordon Meyer, New Smyrna Beach, Fla.; two granddaughters, Ashley Distretti and Casey Distretti; and a great-grandson.

A celebration of his life was held Thursday, Aug. 25, at Mt. Zion Baptist Church at Walcott with Revs. Raymond Atwood and Kenneth Overton officiating. Burial was in Mt. Zion Cemetery under the direction of Heath Funeral Home of Paragould.

Memorials may be made to Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 3231 Highway 141 South, Paragould, AR 72450.

An online guestbook is available at

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Phil Edward Dodd

Phil Edward Dodd, 42, of Bono passed away Aug. 25, 2011, at the St. Bernard's Medical Center.

Born Jan. 19, 1969, in Walnut Ridge, he was the son of Tom and Maxie Seel Dodd. He was a farmer and attended the Sedgwick Baptist Church.

Anyone who knew Phil knew him to be a wonderful, faithful and true friend, devoted to the ones he loved and cared for. His sweet spirit was an inspiration to all who knew and loved him. He was blessed with a sense of humor, loved practical jokes and loved to laugh. Phil had a personality that drew people to him, and a faith that sustained him. Phil had a smile he shared freely, no matter how tough things were. He was always strong for others and cheered them up.

God was an important part of his daily walk in this life, setting an example of courage and faith. He was a brave young man, admired, respected and loved by his family and friends. Phil walked into the light of Heaven, forever remembered, always cherished and sheltered in the arms of our Lord forever.

He is preceded in death by his mother, Maxie Seel Dodd; grandparents, Ethan and Vera Dodd and Mack and Minnie Seel.

Survivors include his father, Tom (Inez) Dodd of Minturn; two sons, Jesse and Dillion of Walnut Ridge; a sister, Susan Jordan of Minturn; three brothers, John (Trish) Dodd of Bono, David (Cindy) Dodd of Weiner, and Teddy (Leslie) Dodd of Jonesboro; and many other relatives and friends.

Funeral service was Saturday, Aug. 27, at 9 a.m. in the Bryan Funeral Home Chapel with Bro. Dennis Truxler.

Pallbearers were John, Katun, JoeRay and Michael Dodd, Justin Cook, Terry Booth and Robert and Adam Pratt.

Interment followed in the Markham Cemetery.


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Clara Belle Fletcher

Clara Belle Fletcher, 91, of Paragould, passed away Sept. 4, 2011, at Ridgecrest Health and Rehabilitation Center in Jonesboro.

Born Jan. 7, 1920, in Butler County, Mo., she was the daughter of Rev. Frank and Pearl Marler Smith. She was a homemaker and a member of Finch Baptist Church for more than 75 years, and was the piano player for 62 years. She, along with her husband, Vernon Fletcher sang in a Southern Gospel Quartet for many years. She was also an avid basketball fan, having played in her teen years at the Alexander and Marmaduke schools.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, Vernon Fletcher; her parents; a grandson, Danny Wood; a son-in-law, Ted Wood; and three brothers.

Survivors include a son, Bobby Fletcher, Paragould; two daughters, Patsy Grogan and husband Bill, Paragould, and Betty Light and husband Lavon, Clover Bend; three sisters; a brother; 12 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and nine great-great-grandchildren.

Funeral was Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the Finch Baptist Church with Rev. Sam Stewart officiating. Burial was in Finch Cemetery under the direction of Phillips Funeral Home of Paragould.

Pallbearers were Steve Wood, Harlan Wood, Terry Crafton, Winston Brown, Randy McDaniel and Jim Fletcher. Honorary pallbearer was Tim Wood.

An online guestbook is available at


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Anna Louise Gann

Anna Louise Gann, 64, of Ravenden, died Sept. 4, 2011, at Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home.

She was preceded in death by her father, Leo Wilkerson; a brother and a sister.

Survivors include her husband, Johnny Gann; a son, Johnny Gann Jr., Elgin, Ill.; three daughters, Carol Hibbard, Jonesboro, Donna Hall, Belton, Texas, and Chris Murphy, Ravenden; her mother, Ruby Wilkerson; a brother, Junior Wilkerson, West Plains, Mo.; a sister, Linda Gill, Marked Tree; nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Funeral is today at 10 a.m. at Heath Funeral Home in Highland with Bro. Jim Pagan officiating. Burial will be in Pleasant Ridge Cemetery.

An online guestbook is available at

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Florence A. Highfield

Florence A. Highfield, 96, of Unionville, Pa., mother of Earl J. Highfield Jr. of Powhatan, died Aug. 31, 2011, at Ware Presbyterian Village in Oxford, Pa. Graveside service will be held at the convenience of the family under the direction of Edward L. Collins Jr. Funeral Home of Oxford. Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, 1615 West Chester Pike, Suite 105, West Chester, PA 19382. An online guestbook is available at

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Polly Lingo

Addie "Polly" Lingo, 92, of Egypt, died Sept. 2, 2011, at St. Bernards in Jonesboro.

She was retired from General Motors and a member of The Church of Christ in Egypt.

She was preceded in death by her husband, John T. Lingo.

Survivors include a brother, Emmitt Reynolds; and a sister-in-law, Dorothy Williams.

Funeral was Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Langford-Bookout Funeral Home in Jonesboro with G.W. Allison officiating.

An online guestbook is available at

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Rick Monroe

Richard Wayne "Rick" Monroe, 57, of Walnut Ridge, passed away Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011, at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

Born August 13, 1954, at Walnut Ridge, he was the son of Cleatus and Avo Lillian Stroud Monroe. He was an employee for Walnut Ridge Parks and Recreations and a member of the Main Street Church of Christ.

He was united in marriage to Brenda Farley in 1976.

He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, John Monroe.

Survivors include his wife, Brenda Monroe, of the home; two sons, Ricky (Jamie) Monroe of Jonesboro, and Anthony (Donna) Monroe of Walnut Ridge; five grandchildren, Ayden, Aubrey, Ashlynn, Madden and Eason; a brother, Ronnie Monroe of Houston, Texas; and a sister, Angela Blackshear of Walnut Ridge.

Funeral was Saturday at 11:00 a.m. in Bryan Chapel with Rob Combs and Ed Baker officiating. Interment was in the Lawrence Memorial Park with Bryan Funeral Home in charge.

Pallbearers were Grant Liles, Shaun Blackshear, Larry Blackshear, Jamey Sullens, Eric Prater and Willie Brown.


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Patricia Louise Penn

Patricia Louise Penn, 68, of Cherokee Village, died Aug. 30, 2011, at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis.

A graduate of the Memphis State University School of Law, she was an award-winning attorney, serving with distinction for 30 years in domestic, family and civil areas of practice. She took great pride in her political work in the State of Arkansas.

She was preceded in death by her husband, William J. Penn; and her parents, Fred and Jerusho Mullins Blansit.

Survivors include a son, William "Chief" Penn and wife Julia, Germantown, Tenn.; three grandchildren, Jake Penn, Jennings Penn and John Paul Penn; and her brothers and sister.

Funeral was Saturday at noon at First Baptist Church in Cherokee Village with John Penn and Larry White officiating. Burial was in Dry Creek Cemetery under the direction of House-Gregg Funeral Home.

Memorials and collections of life can be recorded on the work of her life,

An online guestbook is available at

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Billy F. Runyan

Billy F. Runyan, 75, of Black Rock, died Aug. 29, 2011.

Born April 2, 1936, at Jessup, he was a retired truck driver and was of the Baptist faith.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Lester Runyan and Verna Huskey Runyan Ballard.

Survivors include his wife, Wanda Runyan; three sons, William Runyan and Paul Runyan, both of Cave City, and Ronnie Smith, Atlanta; three daughters, Karen Roberson, Batesville, Debra Hardin, Rockwell, N.C., and Pam Spence, Imboden; two brothers, Larry Runyan, Trumann, and James Ballard, Arizona; six sisters, JoAnn Diebold and Brenda Hollinseed, both of Phoenix, Linda Young, Choctaw, Okla., Patty O'Brien, Lafayette, Ga., and Paulette Piplin and Barbara Farmer, both of Marmaduke; 12 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

Funeral was Friday at 2 p.m. at Qualls Funeral Home in Cave City with Bro. Ron Canard officiating. Burial was in Ward Cemetery at Strawberry.

Pallbearers were Robert Northcutt, Randal Northcutt, Junior Huskey, Jim Furnish, Rodell Bowers and Eugene Raney. Honorary pallbearers were Ellis Runyan and Steve Huskey.

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Michael Thomas

Michael Anthony Thomas, 48, of Black Rock passed away on Friday Sept. 2, 2011, in Seminole, Okla.

Michael was born in Walnut Ridge Dec. 10, 1963, to Bill and Edna Thomas and was raised by his foster parents, Charlie and Opal Gawf of Portia. He was an over-the-road truck driver and of the Pentecostal belief. Michael attended Black Rock schools.

Survivors include his wife Patricia Patrick Thomas of the home; one daughter, Patricia Carol Thomas of Phoenix; five stepchildren, Tommy and Brandy Angelie of Phoenix, Johnny Patrick of Black Rock, Robert Patrick of Ravenden, and Donna Jones of Portia; six stepgrandchildren; six sisters, Donnie and husband Doc Graham, Connie Gawf , Gloria Gawf, Barbara and husband Gerald Whitmore, Betty and husband Jerry Graham, all of Portia, and Mary Gentry of Rockford, Ill., and many other family and friends.

He was preceded in death by his father and foster parents.

The family will receive friends today from 6-8 p.m. at Higginbotham Funeral Service in Walnut Ridge.

A celebration of his life will be held on Thursday at 2 p.m. in the funeral home chapel with Rev. David Craig officiating. Interment will follow at Lawrence Memorial Park under the direction of Higginbotham Funeral Service of Walnut Ridge.

Honored to serve as pallbearers are John Patrick, Robert Paton, Andrew Jones, Danny Whitmore, Gary Burton and Dennis Muller.

An online guestbook is available at


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Danny Warren

Danny Warren, 59, of Hoxie, died Sept. 2, 2011, at his home.

Born Dec. 29, 1951, in Sedgwick, he had lived in Lawrence County most of his life. He was a U.S. Army veteran and a self-employed carpenter.

He was preceded in death by his father, Bill Warren; and a brother, Dale Warren.

Survivors include his wife, Karren Warren; two sons, Jacob Warren and Tenene, and Joshua Warren and Amy, all of Hoxie; his mother, Rebecca Warren, Hoxie; three sisters, Patricia Warren and Hubert, Portia, and Doris Warren and Brenda Warren, both of Hoxie; a brother, Garry Warren and wife Patty, Waynesville, Mo.; and three grandchildren, Kaden Warren, Callen Warren and Madison Warren.

No services are planned. The body was cremated. House-Gregg Funeral Home had charge of arrangements.

An online guestbook is available at

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