Passages: Fall 2019

Mary Doris Gibson Morris (’50), 95, of Clarksville, Tennessee, died Dec. 1, 2018. During World War II, she worked at Tinker Field in Oklahoma City. She taught school in Rose Bud, Arkansas; operated a day care in Nashville, Tennessee, serving George Peabody College; worked at the library at Eastern Kentucky University; and was a secretary to the director of the Reading Center of Fayette County (Kentucky) Schools. She taught children’s Bible classes at Richmond (Kentucky) Church of Christ and sang with the Richmond Homemaker’s Chorus. She provided floral arrangements for various weddings and funerals. She was preceded in death by a son, Jeffrey. She is survived by her husband of 69 years, Alfred (’50); four children, Scott (’74), Emily McGinn (’75), Bruce and Lou Ann Weakley; two siblings, Jan McCoy and Mike Gibson; eight grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

Elmer Earl Belcher (’53), 88, of Searcy died March 27, 2019. He received his master’s in education from University of Arkansas in 1956. He then began his educational career becoming a math and science teacher, high school principal, and superintendent in Missouri, New Mexico, and Arkansas. In 1964, he became assistant to the superintendent over auxiliary services for Searcy Public Schools, retiring in 1988. He then taught for six more years in Fort Worth, Texas, before retiring a second time. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Bonnie, and a son, Thomas (’80).

Joe Burks (’54), 86, of Lubbock, Texas, died May 23, 2019. He received a master’s degree from Harding in 1960. He served as a coach, teacher and administrator in New Mexico and Texas. After retiring, he continued to work as a chaplain and teacher for prison and jail ministries. He also served as minister, interpreter, preacher and elder for churches in West Texas. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Susan Elliott. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Gayle Igo; two daughters, Sandy Johnston and Sharla Moudy; three siblings, Ouida Kerns, Amy Gaskins and Ken Burks; nine grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

Nancy Louise Vanwinkle Walker

Nancy Louise Vanwinkle Walker (’54), 86, of Searcy died June 22, 2019. She earned a master’s degree from Harding in 1957. She began her career as an elementary school teacher. After her children were born, she returned to work as a secretary for the Arkansas Soil Conservation Office where she was named Outstanding Conservation Secretary of the Year for the East Central area in 1992. She served alongside her husband as he taught at Harding and preached for various small congregations outside of Searcy. She was a founding member of Associated Women for Harding and was recognized as a Worthy Woman. In 2013, she and her late husband were honored as the first distinguished alumni for Harding’s newly formed College of Allied Health. She served as her daughter’s primary stateside base of operations and made trips to work alongside her in Albania. She shared the gospel with students around the world through World English Institute. She also volunteered many hours helping the needy of Searcy at College Church’s His House. She was preceded in death by her husband, Richard (’50). She is survived by three children, Ellen (’81), Timothy (’84) and Joseph (’96); a brother, John Vanwinkle (’61); and four grandchildren.

James Delano Maxwell (’55), 84, of Comins, Michigan, died May 8, 2018. He had a 33-year career in public relations for Ford Motor Co. He served on the board of directors for Oscoda County Council on Aging in Mio, Michigan, and also for Shults-Lewis Child and Family Services in Valparaiso, Indiana, where he and his wife were presented with the Trustees Award in 2005 in honor of their significant commitment, dedication, generosity and compassion to children and families. He was a longtime elder of the church of Christ in Atlanta, Michigan, and was an avid sportsman. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Ruth Maddox (‘56); six children, Deborah (’78), Rebecca Abbott (’79), Steven, Paul, David and Mary Ruth Benson (’88); a brother, Joseph; 12 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Mary Jo Grissom Dobyns (’58), 84, of Taylorville, Illinois, died July 6, 2019. She and her husband owned S&W Pest Control in Taylorville for many years. She was a longtime member of the Taylorville Christian Church and also was involved in the founding of Vision Way Christian School. She was preceded in death by her husband of 47 years, Boyce (’58), and a daughter, Gina Musgrove. She is survived by a son, Joseph; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Dorothy L. Young (’58), 83, of Bentonville, Arkansas, died June 2, 2019. She worked at Harding Academy as custodian from 1981-98. She was a lifelong member of the church of Christ. She is survived by her three children, Anthony (’81), Alan (’85) and Kathryn Wideman (’90); six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Charles Dwight Smith Sr.

Charles Dwight Smith Sr. (’59), 82, of Searcy died June 14, 2019. He was a church of Christ minister across the Northeast, the campus minister at Harding, and a member of College Church of Christ. He was preceded in death by his wife of 46 years, Barby Kline (’60); and one brother, Paul (’55). He is survived by his wife of 12 years, Caroline Word; three children, Tanya Valls (’81), Charles “Chuck” Dwight Jr. (’85) and T. Dirk (’86); 10 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.

Betty Ann Neill Ham (’60), 81, of Blount Springs, Alabama, died June 21, 2019. She received her master’s from University of Alabama Birmingham. She taught for a number of years and later became a realtor. She was a member of Sugar Creek Church of Christ. She is survived by her husband, Robert (’59); two daughters, Nancy Bynum and Linda White; a sister, Frances Love; and four grandchildren.

James Knox Summitt (’60), 84, of Niceville, Florida, died July 21, 2019. He was a retired rear admiral, U.S. Navy, and a retired physician. He is survived by two sons, William and Jeffrey.

William Russell Epperson (’61), 78, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, died May 2, 2019. He graduated summa cum laude from Eastern New Mexico University in 1961. Awarded a Danforth Fellowship to attend graduate school, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in 1965. He taught at York College from 1965-67, then furthered his studies in theology at Trinity College, University of Toronto while also teaching at York University in Toronto. In 1968, he accepted an offer from Oral Roberts University. While at ORU, he spoke at international conferences and received three NEH grants for summer study at Brown University, Johns Hopkins University and University of Virginia. In 1990, he received a Fulbright Fellowship to teach at Pusan University, South Korea. Three times during his tenure at ORU, he received the Teacher of the Year award. He is survived by his wife, Linda Hartman (’60); three daughters, Mere Marie-Kristen, Rachel Denzin and Shannon; and four grandchildren.

Kenneth Lonnie Randolph (’61), 79, of Eclectic, Alabama, died April 25, 2019. He served as a minister of the church of Christ in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. He served as a missionary in Africa, Mexico and the Bahamas and as a lecturer in several Christian universities. He conducted hundreds of gospel meetings. He spent more than 30 years with Faulkner University, serving as a professor and dean of the V.P. Black School of Biblical Studies before retiring in 2008. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Janice Johnson (’61); four children, Stephen, Phillip, Rachel Hatcher and Laura Alsup; three siblings, Peggy Harrison, Virginia Phillips and Linda Barnes; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Dwight Orin Thompson (’62), 79, of Hammonton, New Jersey, died March 31, 2019. He was a teacher and coach at Shawnee High School in the Lenape School District for 31 years and also taught driver’s education. After his retirement in 1998, he drove charter tours for Motor Coach Industries. He was a member of Pitman Road Church of Christ where he served as an elder for 25 years. He was preceded in death by a sister, LaVonne Ransom (’61). He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Mary Lea Northcut (’63); two children, Todd (’86) and Jana Ritchie (’88); a sister, Ramona Noland (’56); and eight grandchildren.

Betsy Jo Ann Kelly Lester (’66), 75, of Grand Prairie, Texas, died June 17, 2019. She earned a master’s in social work from University of Texas at Arlington in 1972. She worked as a social worker at the Child Study Center and Goodwill in Fort Worth, Texas. After raising her family, she worked for Grand Prairie Independent School District as a substitute teacher, special education teacher’s aide, computer lab manager and diagnostician’s clerk. She was a longtime member of Turnpike and Crosspoint churches of Christ. She is survived by her husband of 46 years, Michael; three children, Philip (’90), Jason and Alison Zacharias (’01); and three grandchildren.

Hillard Edward Johnmeyer II (’71), 69, of Rolla, Missouri, died June 4, 2019. In 1976, he began Johnmeyer Construction Services Inc., responsible for telecommunication projects in more than 30 states. He was a lifelong member of the church of Christ. He was preceded in death by his wife, Lee Ann, and a brother, Rick (’64). He is survived by his two sons, Edward and Heath; a sister, Lela Ploussard (’67); and three grandchildren.

Walter “Dub” Cledus Clark (’77), 82, of Higden, Arkansas, died June 1, 2019. He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, serving 20 years, and was in Vietnam from 1968-69. He served in various ministry capacities for more than 40 years at churches in Arkansas, Texas and North Carolina, and was a missionary in Panama. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Helen Bellinger; four sons, Walter, Robert (’82), William and Bart; two siblings, Vernetta Weaver and Henry Clark; seven grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren.

Doug Dwight Hudson (’80), 61, of Mount Cory, Ohio, died July 20, 2019. His business card stated that he was a “photographer, philosopher and avant gardener.” He was employed in the field of information technology by Blanchard Valley Health System in Findlay, Ohio. He was an accomplished woodworker who had just completed converting a 1923 garage into a workshop. He was a talented artist and member of the Ohio Watercolor Society and specialized in photorealistic watercolor painting. He is survived by his wife, Kimberly Steiner Choudry; five children, Sarah Wing, David, Rachael Norris, Bethany and Daniel; three step-children, Ibrahim Choudhry, Suleymaan Choudhry and Zara-Yasmine Baird; his mother, Sarah; three siblings, Mark (’80), Kim Johnson (’84) and Kathy Churchill; and four grandchildren.

Andrew Clay Myers (’83), 57, of Bedford, Texas, died Sept. 24, 2018. He loved music of all kinds, was a talented writer and had a great sense of humor. He was a member of The Hills Church. He is survived by his wife, Helen; his mother, Nancy Banowsky Myers (’60); and his sister, Melissa Drake.

Lori Ann Atkinson (’85), 57, of Menominee, Michigan, died May 6, 2019. She did medical and missionary work in Nigeria and then worked as a registered nurse in various nursing homes and also provided in-home health care. After retiring from nursing, she worked at Wisconsin Job Center. A member of the church of Christ, she helped build and support the local congregation. She is survived by her father, Roger; and two siblings, Bryan and Lisa LeBoeuf.

Kelly Holaday Brackett

Kelly Holaday Brackett (’89), 51, of Searcy died July 18, 2019. Kelly poured out her spirit for family, friends and strangers, often working early and late hours at her daughter’s restaurant. Her day job was at Harding as the secretary for University Communications and Marketing, where she worked for 11 years. She was a member of College Church of Christ. She is survived by her husband, Mark (’90); two daughters, Amelia Braun and Laine; her parents, Tom (’94) and Jill (’95) Holaday; four siblings, Molly Feagin, Megan Stock (’98), Jeb (’99) and Daren (’94).

“The impact that you had on my life while living in Searcy is something that can’t be measured. I was a recently married, Walmart cashier, and you were a helpful mom shopping for your daughter’s coffee shop. You were so kind. It was never just filling your water containers or having casual conversations over tea. You were Jesus to me. You paid attention. You gave me your pot roast recipe. You let me try all your new tea concoctions. We talked about God and life and apps on our phones and church and everything in between. You, Kelly … I won’t forget. I can’t forget.” —Brooke Lane Brazzell

John Charles Hitt (’98), 61, of Searcy died March 27, 2019. He was a minister for several churches of Christ across West Virginia and Ohio, as well as working as a foster parent and case worker at Midwestern Children’s Home and Camp Concern. After moving to Arkansas, he was a minister at Banner Church of Christ for more than 20 years. He also worked at Harding Academy and spent summers serving at Camp Tahkodah. He was a talented mechanic and enjoyed fixing antique cars. He was a member of Downtown Church of Christ. He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Penny Rine (’82); four daughters, Melissa Walp (’05), Megan Jones (’08), Nikita Folen (’12) and Aubrey (’16); two siblings, Jackie Heintzman and Heath Hitt; and five grandchildren.

Melissa Michelle Scott King (’99), 40, of Bentonville, Arkansas, died May 25, 2019. She enjoyed baking, gardening and spending time with family and friends. She attended Living Waters Church. She is survived by her husband, Ranando; three children, Ian, Anita and Jasmine; her parents, Anthony and Doris Scott; two sisters, Kimberly and Helen; and two step-grandchildren.

Raymon Byron “Trey” Carlock III (’12), 28, of Dallas died Aug. 10, 2019. Trey did research internships at Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for BrainHealth in Dallas, and had been enrolled in a master’s program at University of Texas at Dallas. He was a Trinity Forum Academy Fellow and Eagle Scout. He is survived by his parents, R. Byron Jr. (’84) and Laura Barker; two siblings, Elizabeth Phillips and Barker; and grandparents, Elizabeth Barker and Jean Carlock.

Flavil Ray Yeakley Jr.

Flavil Ray Yeakley Jr., 85, of Searcy died Aug. 12, 2019. He began preaching at age 16 and continued for the next 25 years while completing degrees in psychology and communication from University of Houston and a Ph.D. in speech communication from University of Illinois. From 1974-84 he chaired the speech department at University of Tulsa and from 1984-90 he directed the Church Growth Institute at Abilene Christian University. In 1990, he became a professor in Harding’s College of Bible and Religion, director of the Center for Church Growth Studies, and director of the Office of Outcomes Assessment. He retired in 2011 but continued his lifelong career of teaching, consulting, writing and research. He was an internationally recognized expert in the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, serving as president of the Association for Psychological Type. He won numerous awards for his research, including Distinguished Christian Service Awards from Harding and Oklahoma Christian. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Maydell Jeffries; three children, Mark, Steven and Rebecca Vinzant (’99); eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Maddie Elizabeth Davis, 26, of Rogers, Arkansas, died April 13, 2019 from juvenile diabetes. She was a graduate student at Harding University in Rogers and taught at Lowell Elementary School. She is survived by her parents, Randy and Maribeth Davis; two sisters, Lauren and Ashton Kate; and her grandparents, Luke and Margaret McCullar, Jim and Roz Farthing, and Marjorie Davis.

Mark Christopher Perrone

Mark Christopher Perrone, 21, of Searcy, died Aug. 8, 2019. He was a senior majoring in criminal justice at Harding. He is survived by his parents, John and Sarah; two siblings, Paul Low and Grace; and his grandparents, Clyde and Kay Low.

Categories: Passages.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *