William C. “Dick” Haltom, 1933-2014

The Rev. William C. “Dick” Haltom, 81, passed away on Saturday, May 24, 2014 at the Flo and Phil Jones Hospice House in Jonesboro. 

He was born Jan. 29, 1933, to Clyde and Jessie (Findley) Haltom. After graduation from Jonesboro High School, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy, minor in Speech and Psychology from Bethany Nazarene College in Oklahoma. While in college he served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1952 to 1954. In college he met Barbara Barrett, who became his wife the summer after graduation. The couple moved to Kansas City, Mo., where he attended seminary at Nazarene Theological Seminary, graduating in 1961 with a Master of Divinity in English Bible. He continued studies at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, Texas, and postgraduate studies at University of London.

After serving a number of years as a minister in the Church of the Nazarene, he became an associate minister of First United Methodist Church in Pasadena, Texas. He was ordained Deacon in the Texas Conference, then an Elder in Conway, Ark., in 1963. His ministry continued in Arkansas as organizing minister of Hendricks Hills Methodist Church Fort Smith, and organizing minister of Indian Hills Methodist Church, now First UMC North Little Rock. He served Wilson, West Helena, Walnut Ridge, Grace UMC Searcy, First UMC Van Buren, Winfield UMC Little Rock, Oaklawn UMC Hot Springs, Marion, Huntington Avenue UMC, Mount Carmel UMC and as minister of visitation at First UMC Jonesboro.

He was known as an outspoken peace advocate and advocate for racial and economic justice in Arkansas, having helped organize black voter registration in the mid-1960s in Mississippi. He was passionate about the church and its ministries and served in numerous positions in the Arkansas Conference, including chair of the Board of Church and Society; chair of Camps and Conferences; chair of Conference Committee on Worship; chair of Partnership in Mission for Arkansas and Oklahoma; and a member of the Committee on Planning and Research for the Wesley Foundation.

He was chair of the Community Forum in West Helena, Arkansas, a bi-racial committee assisting public school integration. (This cooperative venture was recognized as a model plan in 1973 by the New York Times).

He developed “Urban Family Outreach,” a program featuring activities for central Little Rock youth and families. The project “Summer Celebration” enrolled 250 youth in arts, crafts, drama, music and outdoor camping activities featuring swimming, canoeing, hiking and nature study. Thursday evenings became designated as “Summer Night Out” and included the central city families and youth in concerts, games and other activities.

He was preceded in death by his parents, and two sisters, Naomi Catherine Haltom and Virginia Ruth Haltom Griffin. His greatest passions in life were serving Christ, His church and family. He leaves behind his wife of 57 years, Barbara Ann Barrett Haltom; two daughters, Ronda Ann Haltom Walker and her husband, Gary, of Cypress, Texas, and Jennifer Lee Haltom; a son, Jeffrey William Haltom and his wife Janet of Memphis; grandchildren, David and Mark Walker, Matthew, Amanda and Kristen Haltom, Danielle Hardin, and Mitchell Dulaney; and two sisters, Roberta (Boots) Haltom Stallings and Martha Haltom Heady.

The service of celebration of his life was held Saturday, May 31 at First UMC Jonesboro. 

For lasting memorials, the family requests donations to the following: The United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas, 5300 Evergreen Dr., Little Rock, AR 72205; or Keller’s Chapel Cemetery Association, c/o Russell Hendrix, 63304 Southwest Drive, Jonesboro, AR 72404 (where donations will be applied to the purchase and installation of a columbarium and continued maintenance of the cemetery).