May 01, 2013 Edition

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Oldest living ASU
graduate's passing is notable

John Bland

The death of Julia Isabel Belk Cochran of Piggott on Saturday is noteworthy. A Lawrence County native and graduate of Hoxie High School, she was the oldest living graduate of Arkansas State University at the time of her death. She was born on Nov. 17, 1906. I believe she also taught at the Hoxie School.

I recall her attending the Hoxie Alumni Reunion, and she was also a lifelong TD reader and would occasionally send us positive comments.

She must have provided much inspiration and strength to her family and friends, many of whom live here. I like the way she started her day. According to her obituary, every morning she would wake up saying, "This is the day the Lord hath made - let us rejoice and be glad in it."


Walnut Ridge has received more publicity regarding the Beatles monument and relative activities, including our festival. Walnut Ridge native Sarah Teague Shell, who lives in El Dorado with husband, Jeff, is an associate editor for a couple of quarterly publications. One of those publications is Cloud9, the in-flight magazine for SeaPort, a regional airline that serves several markets from Alaska to southern California to Memphis and Athens, Ga., and with a couple of daily stops in El Dorado as well. Sarah writes, "Our Spring '13 issue featured music in several destination sites, and my editor, Laura Keech Allen (former editor of At Home in Arkansas and a Jonesboro girl herself whose father taught art at ASU) had worked up an article about the Music Highway in eastern Arkansas.

"I asked Laura if I could write in the story of Walnut Ridge and the now-famous Beatles stop, and she thought it was a great idea."

She has sent copies of the publication to "share with the folks in Walnut Ridge who have worked so hard to produce the park, the guitar walk, and everything else."

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