Mary Wells Steele, 1938-2017

Mary Wells Steele, 79, of Marked Tree, passed away on March 12, 2017 at St. Bernard’s Medical Center. Mary was an X-ray technician/surgical assistant working at a variety of locations in the north central Florida area, before moving to Marked Tree. She was a member of Branford United Church. Survivors include her husband, the Rev. William Steele, an elder in the Arkansas Conference; her daughter, Melanie Lockhart (Charles Tomlinson); her son, Lane Hurst; her brother, William Wells; two sisters, Gail Whiteford (Bob) of Gainesville, Florida, and Ann Canty of Tallahassee; six stepchildren, 19 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. A celebration of her life took place March 25, 2017, in the fellowship hall of First United Methodist Church Marked Tree, as well as on April 1, 2017, in the O’Brien Baptist Church Fellowship Hall in Gainesville, Florida. Mary’s wishes were to be cremated, and interment will be held privately at the O’Brien...

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Anne Bobo Vinson, 1925-2017

Anne Bobo Vinson, also known as “Mama Anne” to many, 91, of Little Rock, passed away Sunday, March 12, 2017. She was born April 4, 1925, in Watson Chapel, daughter of Loyd C. and Sarah Lindsay Bobo. She was raised in Watson Chapel, graduating from Watson Chapel High School. She married the Rev. Everett Moseley Vinson, a Methodist pastor in the Little Rock Conference, on March 28, 1947, in Pine Bluff. Mrs. Vinson served churches throughout Arkansas well as a dedicated minister’s wife until her husband passed away in Smackover in 1980. After his death, Mrs. Vinson moved to Little Rock, where she became an active member of St. Paul United Methodist Church. She enjoyed time with family, playing bridge, traveling and serving the church. She was a fantastic cook, known especially for her pies. Along with her parents and her husband, she was preceded in death by her son, James Paul Vinson; two brothers, Lindsay and Marion Bobo; sister, Margaret Singer; and two grandchildren, James Paul Vinson Jr. and John Vinson. Survivors include two daughters, Sarah Short (Russ) of Little Rock and Suzanne Dunn (Jim) of Fort Smith; a daughter-in-law, Barbara Vinson of Little Rock; five grandchildren, Amy Johnson (David), Rusty Short (Amanda), Holt Short (Katie), all of Little Rock, Julie Stewart (Eric) of Fayetteville and Matt Dunn (Vanessa) of Boise, Idaho; and ten great-grandchildren. A celebration service was held March 16 at St. Paul UMC Little Rock, with the Rev. Rich Mitchell officiating. A reception followed at the church; burial was private. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Paul United Methodist Church, 2223 Durwood Road, Little Rock, AR 72207 or Goddard United Methodist Church Pantry, 1922 Dodson Avenue, Fort Smith, AR...

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Herschel McClurkin, 1928-2017

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...

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Otha Freeman Henderson Jr., 1926-2017

The Rev. Otha Freeman Henderson Jr., 90, of Murfreesboro passed away Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. He was born on Sunday, May 30, 1926, in the Saline Community to the late Otha Freeman Henderson Sr. and Effie Pollard Henderson. He was a proud graduate of Murfreesboro High School, class of 1944. After graduation he joined the Navy, where he held a Quartermaster ranking and served for two years. Afterward, he joined the Army Reserves for three and half years, where he held the rank of Sergeant. Following his military service, he was employed at Murfreesboro Hardware for 26 years. Freeman answered his call to preach the Gospel and served as a United Methodist part-time local pastor of the Delight, Antoine and Smyrna UMCs from 1978 to 1996. Freeman was very active in the community. He was the voice of the Murfreesboro Rattlers for 50 years. He served on the Hospital Board, the School Board, and the Equalization Board to name a few. He also had a very well received column in the Murfreesboro Diamond expressing views and opinions, and he covered all the sports. He is survived by his wife, Helen Lingo Henderson; three sons, Bill Henderson and wife Dian of Murfreesboro, the Rev. Jim Henderson and wife Susan of Delight and Mark Henderson of Murfreesboro; and a daughter, Christy Coccarelli of Murfreesboro; seven grandchildren, Todd and Mariel Henderson of Benton, Amy and David Lott of Delight, Kayla and Aaron Thompson of Texarkana, Jade Wolfe of Arkandelphia, Cory Coccarelli of Murfreesboro, Matt Taylor of Eureka Springs and Zach Taylor of Los Angeles, California; and eight great-grandchildren, Adam Lott, Valorie Lott, Brian Lott, Erica Staggs, Chad Staggs, Hadley Staggs, Evan Henderson and Aiden Henderson. Services were held Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, at First United Methodist Church Murfreesboro with the Rev. James Wainscott, Bro. Al Terrell and the Rev. Jim Henderson officiating. Burial followed at the Murfreesboro...

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Bryce Armstrong, 1927-2017

The Rev. Bryce Glen Armstrong, 89, passed away in Austin, Texas, on Jan. 13, 2017. He was born June 11, 1927, on the family farm in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin, the son of Gus and Agnes Armstrong. Plowing and farm chores developed his strong work ethic and an ability to fix and build using whatever was available. Lifelong fun and brotherly banter with five sisters gave him plenty of reasons to travel “home” as often as he could. He was known for the warm interactions he brought to relationships, his radiant smile, a rich baritone voice, and his storytelling. Road trips around the country with long hours behind the wheel brought him joy—especially if he broke a gas mileage record! A delightful conversation with him almost always included weather updates and car tips. God’s call to the ordained ministry brought him to Indiana Central College and United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. His servant heart led, whether he was in a sanctuary or at a church camp. He grew disciples in Christ through his work in evangelism and pastoral care. His vibrant ministry served churches in Indiana (Montmorenci), Ohio (Yankeetown), and Wisconsin (Clintonville-New London, Neenah, Madison, Wauwatosa Avenue, Viroqua-Liberty Pole, Green Bay and Greenfield). His ministry actively lived on in retirement (Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin; Mammoth Springs and Hardy, Arkansas; and Austin, Texas). He was a member of the Saint John UMC Austin chancel choir, enjoyed tai chi at the church, the men’s group and was active in the WOW Sunday school class. He fully retired at the age of 85, but most will say that his ministry ended as he drew his last breath. Bryce is survived by wife, the Rev. Betty M. Armstrong, who served as a local pastor in the North Arkansas Conference at Mammoth Spring UMC; stepchildren Glenn (Nicole) McCulloch and Karen (John) Chilstrom; his children, Steven (Karen) Armstrong, Rebecca (Don) Zawadiwsky, Paul (Cynthia) Armstrong, Kevin (Rebecca) Armstrong and Brian (Elizabeth) Armstrong; 13 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. He also is survived by three sisters: Phyllis Yelle, Gloria Soldner and Joyce Nelson. Preceding him in death were his parents, his sisters Isabelle and Bernice, and stepson John. Memorial services were held at St. John’s UMC Austin, Texas, on Jan. 22, and at Cargill UMC Janesville, Wisconsin, on Jan. 28. In honor or memory of Bryce you are invited to make donations to Saint John’s UMC choir, the American Heart Association, Rawhide Boys Ranch or UMCOR. The family may be addressed via Betty Armstrong, 11937 Bittern Hollow, Austin, TX...

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