Herschel McClurkin, 1928-2017

Herschel McClurkin

The Rev. Herschel Herbert McClurkin Jr., 88, of Alma, passed away Monday, March 20, 2017, at his home. He was born July 24, 1928, in Stephens, Arkansas.

He was raised in Mulberry, Arkansas and graduated from Mulberry High School. Herschel received a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Master of Science in Animal Husbandry from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and was a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He later received a Master of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, Dallas. Herschel served on active duty with the Air Force and then retired as a major from the Air Guard Reserves.

Early in his career, Herschel served as youth director at First UMC Fort Smith and First UMC Garland, Texas, while attending Perkins. On Aug. 13, 1967, he married Mardell Christello of Fort Smith. They would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this summer.

Through his 30 years in full-time ministry and 18 years of “post-retirement part-time” ministry, Herschel served many appointments across the state of Arkansas, including Gentry/Springtown/Highfill, Wesley Russellville/London, Walnut Ridge/Alicia, Newport, Wynne/McElroy, superintendent of the Conway District, Greenwood, Kibler UMC and on staff at First UMC Fort Smith.

Herschel also had extensive training in United Methodist camping ministry. He was a member of the planning committee of Shoal Creek Camp and directed its first camp.

Herschel served on numerous boards and agencies. He was a member of the board of Arkansas Methodist Children’s Home, Philander Smith College and the University of Central Arkansas. He served as a member of the Arkansas Inter-Faith Conference, a conference representative to Perkins Alumni Council, a member of the board of directors Wesley Foundation at Arkansas Tech University and Arkansas State University, secretary of the Alma Community Outreach Center, and on the Ozark Chinquapin Foundation board. He was Chaplain of the Ligon Family and Kinsmen Association, a member of the Fort Smith Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow.

On Feb. 10, 2017, he and Mardell received the Fort Smith Exchange Club’s Book of Golden Deeds Award.

Herschel lived his life full of LOVE for the church, his family, friends and the Razorbacks; JOY for the Lord; PEACE through his gratitude in all circumstances; PATIENCE in his marriage, raising children, being a grandfather and father figure to so many; KINDNESS to everyone he met; GOODNESS in what he saw in others and through his keen sense of humor; FAITHFULNESS in his work, service for others and devotion to his family; GENTLENESS in his pastoral care, ministry and how he handled difficult situations; and SELF-CONTROL in only eating one serving of ice cream a day!

He is survived by his wife, Mardell Christello McClurkin of Alma; his brother, John McClurkin of Mulberry; daughter, Alice Scheer and husband Dr. Blake Scheer of Little Rock; son, Trey McClurkin and wife Tammie of Conway; and grandchildren, Graham and Ella Scheer of Little Rock and Emma, Siah and Hayes McClurkin of Conway.

The service was held in the sanctuary at First United Methodist Church Fort Smith on Saturday, March 25, 2017. Visitation followed in the church narthex, and burial took place at the Alma City Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions be made to Shoal Creek Methodist Camp, c/o Renee Henson, 1102 Northview Drive, Van Buren, AR 72956; or any United Methodist Church or Methodist organization of your choosing. The family would like to thank the many friends, family and Peachtree Hospice for their loving care.