Obituary – Rev. Hardy Peacock

Obituary – Rev. Hardy Peacock

Hardy Preston Peacock, 77, of Little Rock, Arkansas formerly of Dumas, passed away Sunday, May 3, 2020 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Born June 26, 1942 in Shreveport, Louisiana, the son of the late Jesse Thomas Peacock, Jr. and Mary Pearce Peacock.

Hardy graduated from University of Arkansas where he and his wife Kathryn met in the Razorback band and traveled during the football championship era from 1964 to 1966. He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1967 to 1969 attaining the rank of Sergeant. Returning to the Dumas Area he owned Pittman-Witherington Oil Company in Dumas and Cleveland County Oil in Rison. He was a past president of Arkansas Oil Marketers Association and past Vice President of the Petroleum Marketer Association of America.

Hardy was member of First United Methodist Church of Dumas. As a lifelong Methodist, Hardy served as a lay speaker and became the local pastor serving at Andrews Chapel, Mount Pleasant “Campground”, Rock Springs and Wilmar congregations. He was a former member of Jaycees, Lions Club, a founding member of Dumas Area Arts Center and board member of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. He loved singing and acting in theater productions in Dumas, Pine Bluff and Little Rock. Former Dumas Man of the Year and Ding Dong Daddy, He also wrote humorous articles for The Canopy trade magazine and annually participated in Tuba Christmas. He was generous, loving and a forgiving spirit who shared his wit and humor at the drop of a hat–even if he had to “drop the hat”.

Survivors are his wife, Kathryn Peacock of Little Rock, Arkansas and daughter, Pearce Peacock of Little Rock, Arkansas, sister, Mary Jo Tucker and brother, Tommy (Betty Claire) Peacock all of Dumas, Arkansas.

Honorary pallbearers are Dalton Coleman, Robert Myles, Warren Parker, Paul Peacock, John Staudinger, and Johnny Tillman. Due to the current health guidelines, a private graveside service will be held with Dr. Tandy Hanson officiating. Memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church, 230 Court Street, Dumas, Arkansas 71639. Arrangements by Griffin Funeral Home, Dumas, Ark.

Obituary – Lurline Walthall

Lurline Walthall, age 96, of Stamps, Arkansas passed away March 17, 2020. She was born July 10, 1923 in Stamps, Arkansas to Robert and Effie Rogers Stevens. She was a member of Stamps First United Methodist Church, American Legion Auxiliary, Mary McSwain Sunday School Class and Methodist Women’s Club. Mrs. Walthall supported her husband in pastoring many Methodist Churches in south Arkansas. She loved canning, pickling, gardening and men’s Razorback basketball.

Mrs. Walthall was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Bud, Finus and Ray Stevens; sisters, Lura Tissue and Ophelia Allen; granddaughter, Lacretia Harris and grandson, Richard Lee Harris, II.

She is survived by her husband, Charles Walthall; son, Steve Walthall and wife, Stephanie of Austin, TX; daughter, Charlotte Harris and husband, Richard of Lewisville, AR; brother, Bobby Stevens and wife, Virginia of Daingerfield, TX; grandson, Robby Harris and wife, Nicki of Lewisville, AR; great-grandchildren, Brittany, Colby, Molly, Gavin and Braxton and five great-great grandchildren.

The family is very grateful for the staff and residence at Magnolia Health & Rehab for their help, love, care and friendship. Also a special thanks goes to Sylvia Knight at Encompass Health.

Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, March 21, 2020 at Oak Grove Cemetery in Stamps, AR with Bro. John Noggle officiating under the direction of A.O. Smith Funeral Homes. No visitation.

Obituary – Rev. John S. Polk

Obituary – Rev. John S. Polk

The Rev. John S. Polk

John Stephen Polk of Hot Springs, age 77, passed away on March 1, 2020, in Hot Springs, Ark. He was born at the old St. Vincent’s Infirmary in Little Rock, Arkansas, on August 27, 1942, the second child of James K. and Margaret (Matthews) Polk, who predeceased him. John was most of all proud of his wonderful wife and daughter, and both of his beautiful grand-daughters. He took pride in being a sixth generation Arkansan; proud to have been a loyal member of the Democratic Party and of being a descendant of the Scotch-Irish, Clan Pollock, many of whom settled the southern frontier.

John is survived by his wife of over 54 years, Winona Sue (Jines) Polk; daughter, Susan Elizabeth Van Dusen (Timothy) of Sherwood, Arkansas, and two grand-daughters: Elizabeth Anne “Betsy” Van Dusen and Mary Mae Van Dusen; two brothers: James E. Polk of Bostic, North Carolina, and Lynn M. Polk (Polly) of Nixa, Missouri; two nieces Jamie Fox and Sara Atkins; a first cousin Edwin F. Greathouse; two Matthews family first cousins and four Moncrief family cousins.

John attended public school through the ninth grade at Joe T. Robinson School, Pulaski County, Arkansas, and graduated from Mabelvale High School in 1960. He earned a bachelor’s degree (1965) and a master’s degree (1973), in History and Education, both from the University of Central Arkansas While in college, during the summers, John worked for the Arkansas State Highway Department assisting in the surveying of Interstate Highway 40 between North Little Rock and Mayflower, Arkansas. He liked to say, “Among the summer employees I was the only history major working with so many engineering students from the U of A, who couldn’t understand why I was there.” After graduating from UCA, John began his public school teaching career in January, 1965, with the Hot Springs City School District, where he taught American history at Central Jr. High, Hot Springs High during summer sessions and beginning in 1967, teaching world geography at Hot Springs Middle School until retirement. His retired from public school teaching at the age of 51, July 1, 1994. In January, 1995, even before retiring from public school teaching, John began a second career, teaching as an adjunct instructor in American history at Henderson State University for a short time, then at Ouachita Technical College, now College of the Ouachitas in Malvern, where he taught American History, American National Government and World Geography. He was employed as an adjunct instructor at Ouachita Technical College for over a decade.

While continuing his teaching career at OTC, John began, as he said, “my most rewarding career,” serving as a Part-Time Local Pastor and Visitation Minister at The First United Methodist Church in Hot Springs. While serving at First Church, “It was my privilege to serve in the ministry with the best and brightest staff members to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said.
John received his United Methodist Church Ministerial Certificate of Attainment in April of 2013, after fulfilling the course of study requirements at Hendrix College and Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. “My best professors were in the United Methodist Ministerial Course of Study,” he often said.

In April, 2016, health problems necessitated his retirement. During John’s ministry he assisted in and conducted numerous funeral services, for those to whom he had ministered. Everything John did, either making home visits, nursing home visits, hospital visits, conducting memorial services, funeral services and even his observations of local weather conditions, he recorded it all, in his Ministerial Journal almost every day during his ministry. The Ministerial Journal, of over 1200 hand-written pages, is now located in The John S. Polk Papers at the Arkansas State Archives on The State Capitol Grounds at Little Rock.

John was a member of a number of organizations, among them were: The National Education Association, The Arkansas Education Association and the Hot Springs Classroom Teacher Association and a number of committees of the Hot Springs City School District. He served as president and vice-president of the CTA for many years. While a student at The University of Central Arkansas, John was a member of the Student National Education Association, and in 1963 was inducted into Phi Alpha Theta (National Honor Society of Historians), where he served as secretary of the Mu Chapter. He also served on the student board of The United Methodist Church Wesley Foundation at UCA. It was there that he met his future wife, Sue. Wesley Foundation was in many ways the center of college life for John and Sue.

John was also a serious artist painting in oil, watercolor and graphite drawing. He never went to a public school that offered art classes, but that didn’t stop him from drawing. As a child he drew pictures on every scrap of paper he could find. At an early age he drew on the backs of rolls of wall paper, which was simply rolled out as more space was needed. It wasn’t until he enrolled in a night drawing class at National Park Community College, and started taking locally offered watercolor painting classes that he began fine-tuning his artistic skills.

John never lacked for something to do. He leaves more than 16 cubic feet of his published and unpublished writings, artifacts, photographs, letters, genealogical research notes, which were begun when he was 14 and many other items; all housed, with his Ministerial Journal, at The Arkansas State Archives at Little Rock. Years ago, after seeing John coming through the front door, the Arkansas State Archivist remarked, “There he comes again looking for dead Methodists!” John first started his research at the Archives in 1962, so the staff got to know him well over the years.

Pallbearers include James E. “Jim” Polk, Lynn M. Polk, Edwin F. “Ed” Greathouse, Bobby R. Jines, Jeremy R. Jines and Clyde Covington.

Honorary Pallbearers: The Saints and Sinners Sunday School Class of FUMC.

Visitation will be 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Wednesday at Caruth-Hale Funeral Home.

A celebration of his life will be 10:30 a.m. Thursday at First United Methodist Church. Service will be conducted by Rev. David Wilson and Rev. David Moseley.

Burial will follow at Hollywood Cemetery.

Obituary – Rev. Joe Sparks

Obituary – Rev. Joe Sparks

Rev. Joe Sparks

The Rev. Joe L. Sparks Jr. died on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020 at Ashley Health and Rehab in Rogers, Arkansas. He was born at home on Feb. 19, 1926 to Joe L. Sparks Sr. and Mary Cordiela Lann Sparks in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters Mary Joe Sparks, Mildred Law and her husband Eldon Law and his precious wife Tommye Mae.

Joe is survived by his three children and their families: Linda (Alan) Payne, Ross (Karen) Sparks and Tommye (Jay) Baldwin. Eight grandchildren: Jennifer (Rodney) Duesterbeck, Sidney (Misty) King, Rebecca (Ben) Szymanski, Rachel (Aaron) Gustum and Nathan Baldwin, and a very special niece, Dr. Maryscott Glasgow. Five great grand-daughters: Kayla Rae Dusterbeck, Harper Lynn King, Riley Anne King, Eleanor Mae Szymanski, Maisie Jo Szymanski and Genevieve Grace Gustum.

Joe graduated from Fort Smith Senior High School in 1943. He joined the US Army Air Corp on his 18th birthday. After passing the physical and aptitude test, he was sent home until called to active duty in March of 1944. He was called to active duty, failed another physical and given a medical discharge. This led him to the next phase of his life.

Before enrolling at the University of Arkansas in the fall of 1945, he worked for a short time as a fireman on the Frisco Railroad. In the spring of ’46 he met a beautiful Pi Phi, Tommye Me Owen, from Marked Tree Arkansas. They were married on Aug. 17, 1947 in the First United Methodist Church of Marked Tree, which was their home for the next 61 years. Over the next 41 years, he worked as an assistant cotton buyer for E. Ritter and Co. managed a Bulk Oil Plant, 500-acre cotton, soybean and dairy farms; and owned and managed O-H Cleaners and Joe Sparks Chevrolet-Olds. He was active in his community serving as president of the Marked Tree Lions Club, Marked Tree Chamber of Commerce, and board member of the Marked Tree Industrial Committee. He served as Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Delta Vocational Technical Institute and Regional Vice President of the Arkansas Automobile Dealers Association.

Joe was very active in the First United Methodist Church in Marked Tree. He served as Superintendent of Sunday School, member and chairman of the Administrative Board. He served as a lay leader, delegate to the Annual Conference, teacher of an adult Sunday School Class, and member of the Chancel and Hand Bell Choir. His dedication extended beyond the local church to the district and conference levels. He served as Lay Leader of the Jonesboro District and was a Certified Lay Speaker. He served on the conference committees of Lay Life and Work, the Episcopacy Committee, and the Chair of Diaconal Committee. He was proud to have been elected as a lay member of the 1988 General Conference. He was a board member of the United Methodist Children’s Home and served as Chairman of the Board from 1994-1996. It seems that his varied experiences prepared him for the ministry.

In 1988 at the age of 62, he answered his call to the ministry, which he had been denying for many, many years. He completed the Saint Paul School of Theology Course of Study School in Kansas City, Missouri and was ordained Deacon of the Little Rock Annual Conference in 1995. He was privileged to serve the churches of Bay Village/Farm Hill, Joiner/Terrell, and Parkview in Benton, Arkansas, Tyronza/Centerview and Joiner/Lepanto. Rev. Sparks completed 19 years of ministry and retired in 2007 at the age of 81.

Joe and Tommye Mae lived in Marked Tree for 61 years. They loved to entrain. Operations and illnesses did not deter them from enjoying a wonderful life. They moved to Rogers, Arkansas in 2008 to be near their children. At age 93 he wrote a book, “Tickled Tales-Untold Arkansas Stories from a 93 year Old Great Grandfather.” It was published and sold almost 100 copies. Through all the events of his life his devoted wife, of 69 years, was by his side. He always said, “That without her and the blessings of our Lord Jesus Christ he would have accomplished nothing.”

In Lieu of flowers please consider a donation to either Oakley Chapel United Methodist Church of Rogers, or the United Methodist Church of Marked Tree, Arkansas. Visitation for Rev. Sparks will be 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, with a celebration of life to follow at 2 p.m., at Oakley Chapel United Methodist Church in Rogers. Arrangements by Benton County Memorial Park Funeral Home, Rogers, Arkansas.

Obituary – Rev. David Scruggs

Obituary – Rev. David Scruggs

Rev. David Scruggs

The Rev. David Scruggs Sr., 69, of Little Rock, transitioned on Feb. 6, 2020. He leaves to cherish his memories: his loving wife, Janice Gordon Scruggs of Little Rock, Arkansas; five children, Eddie Scruggs Smith of El Cerrito, California, David Scruggs Jr. of Davis, California, Kinte Dukes (Cheryl) of Marianna, Arkansas, Kisa Morman (James) of Little Rock, Arkansas, and Krystal Henderson (J.R.) of Conway, Arkansas; 11 grandchildren, Elijah, Jacob, Miles, Jada, Myles, Khayrianna, Gavin, Ryleigh, Caden, Chase, and Caysen; two sisters, Neomia Chapmon (Arie) of Cleveland, Ohio. and Irene Carruth (Rev. Troy) of Scott, Arkansas; five brothers, George Scruggs (Rosalyn) of Little Rock, Arkansas, Emmett Scruggs (Willie Mae) of Richardson, Texas, Rev. James Scruggs (Mary) of Maumelle, Arkansas, Daniel Scruggs Sr. (Mary) of Little Rock, Arkansas, and John Scruggs (Dorothy) of Arlington, Texas; a close cousin, Michael Walker (Rhonda) of North Little Rock, Arkansas; his father and mother-in-law, Willie and Mildred Gordon of Lathrup Village, Michigan; and a sister-in-law, Edna Moore of Memphis, Tennessee. Visitation will be Friday, Feb. 14, from 6-7 p.m. at Ruffin & Jarrett Funeral Home (1200 Chester St). Celebration of Life Service will be 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15, at Geyer Springs United Methodist Church, (5500 Geyer Springs Rd). Burial will be at the Gill Cemetery in Gill, Arkansas.