August 16, 2017 Edition

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Brielle Liana Smith


Bass ~ Russell


Mary Adams Carylon Sue Brown Allen Coats
Troy Warren Ditto Herman Latham Dr. Orval Riggs
Norma Jean Shields James Smith Lenora Lee Walker


Brielle Liana Smith

Brent and Danyail Smith of Hoxie have announced the birth of their first child, a daughter, born June 26, 2017, at Unity Hospital in Newport.

The baby weighed six pounds, 14 ounces, and has been named Brielle Liana Smith.

Grandparents are Gary and Amy Bookout and Greg and Pam Smith, all of Walnut Ridge, and Robbie Dail of Portia.

She is the great-granddaughter of Bob and Julie Dail of Portia, Jim and Karen Warner of Marion, Ind., and Gene and Carolyn Smith of Walnut Ridge.

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Bass ~ Russell

Bridget Russell became the bride of Phishon Bass in a semi-formal ceremony solemnized at Philadelphia Baptist Church in Jonesboro on Aug. 12, 2017, at 2 p.m.

Parents of the couple are Redda Russell of Hoxie, Marian Howard of Jonesboro and Clyde Jefferson of Jonesboro.

Cole Vanhorn officiated at the double-ring ceremony. Nuptial music was provided by Dana Bigger, organist, and Danielle Russell, soloist.

The bride's uncle, Dennis Downs, gave her in marriage.

Maid of honor was Victoria Swartzlander of Hoxie. Serving as bridesmaids were Homerose Uy, Loni Bean and Kassie Arnold, all of Jonesboro.

Demaron Bass of Jonesboro served as the best man. Groomsmen were DJ Jones, Aaron Gossett and Demarcus Kirby, all of Jonesboro.

Ushers were Jackson Russell of Jonesboro and Dakota Krueger of Walnut Ridge.

A reception followed the wedding in the Philadelphia Baptist Church Gym.

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Mary Adams

Mary Adams, 72, of Walnut Ridge, died Aug. 7, 2017, at her home.

Born April 17, 1945, in Walnut Ridge, she was a member of the Church of Christ.

She was preceded in death by her parents, John and Vonnie Garrett Adams; and two sisters, Eyvonne Burks and Carmen Stayton.

Survivors include a brother, John Adams and wife Rena; and two sisters, Tonia Goad Dean and Jeannie King.

Cremation was under the direction of House-Gregg Funeral Home.

An online guestbook is available at

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Carylon Sue Brown

Carylon Sue Brown, 65, of Black Rock, passed away Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017, at her home.

She was born Feb. 13, 1952, in Walnut Ridge, to Carl and Beatrice Taylor Hoffman. She was a retired truck driver and was of the Christian faith.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Virgil Wayne Brown; two daughters, Kimberly and Cassandra Brown; and two brothers, Stanley and Jerry Hoffman.

She is survived by one daughter, Melissa (Chris) Layton of Black Rock; two grandchildren, Xander and Paxton Layton, of Black Rock; four siblings, James (Kathy) Hoffman of Jonesboro, Richard (Alice) Hoffman of Black Rock, Judy Mashburn of Black Rock, and Donald (Misty) Hoffman of Walnut Ridge; many nieces, nephews, and other relatives and friends.

Funeral was Saturday, Aug. 12, at 2 p.m. in the chapel of McNabb Funeral Home, with David Morris officiating. Burial was in Old Lebanon Cemetery near Lynn.

Pallbearers were Joey, Aaron, Eric, Jason, Wayne and John Hoffman. Honorary pallbearers were Tristan, Gavin and Jerry Hoffman, and PJ Mashburn.

An online guestbook is available at


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Allen Coats

Allen Coats, 77, of Gatewood, Mo., died July 17, 2017, at Shady Oaks Healthcare in Thayer, Mo.

Born Feb. 23, 1940, in the Clear Lake community, north of Walnut Ridge, he was the son of Herbert Allen and Ethel Downing Coats. He attended Hoxie School. He had been a crane operator, specializing in bridge construction. He was instrumental in the creation of the Pine/Bardley Fire House, serving as fire chief and other positions.

He also had a fox pen, and many area fox hunters were entertained by the dog runs and "hound bragging rights" on his property. He was a member of Tucker Methodist Church.

He was preceded in death by a son, Victor Allen Coats.

Survivors include his wife, Doris Fifield Coats, whom he married March 13, 1959, in Rock Island, Ill.; and two grandchildren, Crystal Kendrick and Dustin Coats, both of Davenport, Iowa. Also surviving is Mary Whitmire of McComb, Ill., formerly of the Hoxie-Walnut Ridge area.

Funeral was Thursday, July 20, at 2 p.m. at Edwards Funeral Home in Doniphan, Mo., with Bro. Jerry Reynolds officiating. Burial was in Oak Ridge Cemetery.

An online guestbook is available at

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Troy Warren Ditto

Troy Warren "Bo" Ditto departed from this life on Aug. 12, 2017, at the age of 69.

He was born in Hoxie on Sept. 8, 1947, to the late Everett and Pearl McCord Ditto.

He is preceded in death by five brothers, Truman, Elvis, James, Terry and Freddie; and two sisters, Alene Taylor and Mary Dean Taylor.

He is survived by brothers, Jerry (Karen) Ditto of Little Rock, Rickey (Tammy) Ditto of Walnut Ridge, and Nickey (Janice) Ditto of Paragould; sisters, Sue (Gilbert) Smith of Imboden, and Tonda (Gary) Sandusky of Paragould; and many loving nephews, nieces and friends.

Bo was a painter for many years. He overcame many tragedies in life, but never gave up his fight for life until cancer finally won the last battle. He loved riding horses and when he became unable to ride, he began riding his scooter all over town. He never met a stranger and will be missed by his many friends and family, but his memories will live on.

Bo's family would like to thank the staff at Hospice and Lawrence Hall for their excellent care and kindness to him and the family.

Visitation was Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. at House-Gregg Funeral Home in Walnut Ridge.

Funeral is today at 2 p.m. at House-Gregg Funeral Home with Everett Hart and Don House officiating. Burial will be in Lawrence Memorial Park.

Pallbearers will be Tony Hudson, Homer Jones, Jack Land, Bret Ditto, Chad Ditto and Jerry Wayne Ditto. Nephews will serve as honorary pallbearers.

An online guestbook is available at


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Herman Latham

Herman Anthony "Andy" Latham, 71, of Walnut Ridge, died Aug. 12, 2017, at St. Bernards in Jonesboro.

Born Aug. 3, 1946, in Pocahontas, he was a U.S. Air Force veteran, serving in Vietnam. He also worked in retail for many years at Sterling Stores before retiring as a minister. He was a member of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Phyllis Luther Latham, whom he married April 4, 1969; his parents, Herman and Gladys Teel Latham; a brother, Paul Latham; and two sisters, Helen Glasgow and Debbie Latham.

Survivors include a son, Mark Latham, Hoxie; two daughters, Tonjia Miles, Walnut Ridge, and Heather Wiggs, Searcy; a sister, Peggy Paden, Jonesboro; three brothers, Joe Latham, Annieville, Mac Latham, Beech Grove, and Alex Latham, Portia; and three grandchildren, Christopher Wiggs, Emily Latham and Sarah Latham.

Graveside service was Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Clearview Cemetery, near Pocahontas, with Bros. Paul Miles and John Durham officiating. Bryan Funeral Home had charge of arrangements.

Memorials may be made to The Children's Shelter in Walnut Ridge.

An online guestbook is available at

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Dr. Orval Riggs

Dr. Orval Elmo Riggs, 97, died Aug. 1, 2017, in Austin, Texas, at the home of his youngest daughter, Dianne, where he had lived the past five years.

Born April 18, 1920, in White Oak, he was the sixth of 10 children born to Menona and James Roscoe Riggs. He graduated from Walnut Ridge High School in 1939, and attended Arkansas Tech from 1939 to 1941. He joined the Naval Reserve and trained as a pilot, subsequently serving in Corpus Christi, Texas, as a cadet.

During World War II, he flew transport airplanes in the U.S. and transported supplies and the wounded in the Pacific from 1942-1945. He was an excellent pilot and was offered the opportunity to become a flight instructor during this period, which he did.

Following his Naval service, he flew as a commercial pilot for a year in Los Angeles. He then attended Stanford University, UCLA and the University of Arkansas, graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the U of A in 1949. In 1953, he graduated AOA from the University of Arkansas School of Medicine (UAMS).

He served his internship at St. Louis City Hospital 1953-1954 and practiced general medicine in Walnut Ridge from 1954 to 1956. He then did a residency in general surgery at UAMS, 1956-1960 and practiced general surgery in Jonesboro from 1960-1966. He trained as a radiologist at UAMS, 1966-1969, and did a year of training in radiation therapy at Vanderbilt University in 1969-1970.

He returned to the faculty at UAMS in radiology from 1970-1972 and was in the private practice of radiology, 1972-1978. His love for surgery pulled him back into the practice of surgery, this time in the form of cardiothoracic surgery training at the University of West Virginia, 1979-1981. He subsequently practiced cardiothoracic surgery in Little Rock and was on the faculty in cardiothoracic surgery at the Clarksburg, WV. Veterans Hospital and the University of West Virginia in Morgantown.

He was a member of numerous medical societies and authored a number of scientific articles. He was voted outstanding attending surgeon at the University of West Virginia, 1987-1988. He was board certified in general surgery, radiology and cardiothoracic surgery.

He was a loving husband and father and will be sorely missed by his family. His fascination with medicine was lifelong, and he never tired of reading medical journals and articles, even after his retirement. His other favorite pastimes included playing tennis and watching sports on TV, often watching different sports events on multiple televisions at the same time, a man of ahead of his time. He enjoyed hearing and telling jokes of all kinds, especially corny ones, and never lost his sense of humor or his polite demeanor.

He was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Little Rock for many years, where he and his wife, Inez, faithfully attended the Bowen-Cabe class.

He was predeceased by his wife, Inez Waldron Riggs; his son, Thomas Richard "Tommy" Riggs, M.D.; his brothers, Jim, Jack and Claude; and his sisters, Ellen Sharp, Mae Blansett, Lorene McKinney, Evelyn LaCoss and Velma Clark.

He is survived by his sister, Naomi Bell of Myrtle Beach, S.C.; and his daughters, Dianne Riggs Espinoza of Austin, Texas, and Susan Riggs Runge, M.D. of Ann Arbor, Mich.; and the families of his three children, including nine grandchildren, three great-grandchildren; and many loving nieces and nephews.

Visitation is Monday from 8:30-9:30 a.m. at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home in Austin, Texas, followed by a graveside service at 10 a.m. at Austin Memorial Park.

Memorials may be made to the American Heart Association, First Methodist Church in Little Rock or the charity of the donor's choice.

An online guestbook is available at

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Norma Jean Shields

Norma Jean Smith Shields, 79, of Jonesboro, died Aug. 9, 2017, at the Flo and Phil Jones Hospice House in Jonesboro, due to cancer.

Born Sept. 4, 1937, she was the daughter of Warren and Gladys Smith.

She graduated with honors from Hoxie High School in 1955 and received a full scholarship in Vocal Music from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. She received several honors while a student at Arkansas State, including being chosen as an Honorary Cadet Captain in the ROTC program, being elected Sweetheart of Pershing Rifles and receiving the Julian James Award for citizenship. She was also a member of the Arkettes, a vocal group that performed in high school assemblies throughout Northeast Arkansas and Southeast Missouri. She was active in Little Theater groups and had the lead in musical productions of Broadway shows such as "Showboat", "The Sound of Music" and "Oklahoma."

Survivors include her husband of almost 60 years, Johnny Shields; four children, Mindy Shields and April Maddox and husband Brian, all of Jonesboro, John W. Shields and wife Brenda, Hardy, and Jennifer Baltz and husband Chris, Newton, N.C.; seven grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

Funeral was Saturday at 2 p.m. at Highland Drive Baptist Church in Jonesboro with Dr. Johnny Hutchison, senior pastor, and Bro. Curtis Shatley of Walnut Street Baptist Church officiating. Visitation was from 1-2 p.m. Burial was in Lawrence Memorial Park.

Pallbearers were John Warren Shields Jr., Zac Baltz, Fowler Maddox, Brian Maddox, Chris Baltz and Matt Harden. Alternates were Brian Hill and Taylor Self. Honorary pallbearers were David Worlow, Tommy Moore, Jim Gillis, Don Bailey and Terry Hutton.

An online guestbook is available at

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James Smith

James Floyd Smith, 80, of Minturn, died Aug. 11, 2017, at NEA Baptist Hospital in Jonesboro.

Born Aug. 31, 1936, at Light, he was the son of James Horace and Monnola E. Book Smith. He was a U.S. Army veteran and worked as a Chevrolet mechanic and heavy equipment operator. He retired after 21 years as road foreman of the Lawrence County Road Department.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Deanna Smith; a daughter, Rhonda Smith Middleton; a brother, Danny Smith; a sister, Norma Jean Smith; and a granddaughter, Whitney Smith.

Survivors include his wife, Mildred Evelyn Wiles Smith, whom he married Sept. 16, 1983; a son, Brent Smith, Walnut Ridge; a stepson, Bobby Luster and wife Willene, Portia; two brothers, Herbert Smith and wife Barbara and Ronnie Smith, all of Walnut Ridge; two sisters, JoAnn Smithee, Minturn, and Sherry Corbett and husband Stanley, Alicia; eight grandchildren; Blake Householder, Adam Smith, Rachel Bennett, Amy Phillips, Michael Burns, Danny Burns, Jason Luster and Stephanie Thompson; 17 great-grandchildren; and a great-great-granddaughter.

Funeral was Monday at noon at Bryan Funeral Home with Rev. Charles Davis and Bro. Tim Campbell officiating. Burial was in Mt. Zion Cemetery near Walcott.

Pallbearers were Jason Luster, Michael Burns, Danny Burns, Jon Bennett, Daniel Smith and Adam Smith.

An online guestbook is available at

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Lenora Lee Walker

Lenora Lee Walker, 67, of Booneville, died Aug. 10, 2017, at her home.

Born April 4, 1950, in Walnut Ridge, she was a beautician, seamstress and business owner.

She was preceded in death by her mother, Emma Gene Smith Young.

Survivors include her husband, Danny Walker; two sons, Mark Walker and Scotty Walker and wife Sarah, all of Booneville; her father, Thomas Ripkay, Biloxi, Miss.; two sisters, Sarita, Booneville, and Thomasa, College Station, Texas; four grandchildren, William, Kayla, Bethany and Kaylie; and six great-grandchildren.

Funeral was Monday at 2 p.m. at Roberts Memorial Chapel in Booneville. Burial was in Oak Hill Cemetery at Booneville.

Pallbearers were Brian Tuttle, Bob Krepps, John Cobb, Jordan Cobb, Jacob Krepps and Josh Walker.

An online guestbook is available at

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