Passages: spring 2020

A. Earl Priest (’42), 97, of Memphis, Tennessee, died Nov. 9, 2019. He married Willene Jones in 1941 and joined the U.S. Navy. He moved to Memphis in 1946 where he worked for an advertising agency and later served as chief financial officer for St. Francis Hospital. In retirement, he served as president of Kirby Pines Advisory Group, a position he volunteered for and held 10 years. He was a member of the church of Christ at White Station and served as an elder for more than 40 years. He was preceded in death by his wife and a son, Duane. 

Lucian Paxson Gordon (’49), 94, of Edmond, Oklahoma, died Sept. 19, 2019. He joined the Army Air Corp in 1943, serving until the end of World War II. Upon graduating from Harding, he began a career in education that led him to Beaver County, Oklahoma. He retired from teaching at Liberal, Kansas, in 1992. He loved to preach the gospel and spent much of his spare time studying and preparing sermons. He spent time in the pulpit in Booker and Darrouzett, Texas, and Beaver, Oklahoma. He and his wife spent many years traveling to Romania serving as missionaries. He also served as an elder at Beaver Church of Christ. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Alma. He is survived by his wife of 73 years, Opal Fae Shaffer (’48); four children, Norma Bridgwater, Larry, Linda Peters and Sylvan; 13 grandchildren; and 28 great-grandchildren.

Dennie Hall (’56), 85, died April 17, 2020. He was a respected journalist and then a journalism professor and historian at University of Central Oklahoma. He was co-founder of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame and served as its director. The recently published book Our Greatest Journalists: Fifty Years of Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame is dedicated to him and Dr. Ray Tassin. He was the longtime advisor to UCO’s The Vista and known for supporting his editors against attacks from the administration. The student newspaper was named an All-American College Newspaper for the first time in its history while he was advisor. He was The Oklahoman’s book editor known for his reviews and helping great future authors. He fought for civil rights, First Amendment freedoms and the downtrodden, especially those wrongfully imprisoned. He was a grammar and Associated Press style guru with a dry sense of humor. He was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Ann Mathews. He is survived by two children, John and Amy Hall; his siblings, Mickey, Karen Dye, Patricia Yarbrough, and Jimmy; three grandsons; and a great-granddaughter.

Mary Ruth Herren Lewis (’57), 83, of Cumming, Georgia, died Dec. 6, 2018. She worked at Vanderlyn Elementary School and Tucker High School in DeKalb County, Georgia. She retired from the school system at age 60 and went to school to become a licensed massage therapist where she worked until her retirement at age 74. She was preceded in death by a daughter, Kyrie. She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Joe (’56); five children, Joe, Mary Jane Bannister, Bonnie, Laura and Bobby; a brother, Bob Herren; nine grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren. 

Betty Sue Butler Hill (’62), 79, of Searcy, died March 4, 2020. She was an Air Force wife and a devoted Christian. She was preceded in death by her husband, Gerald “Skip.” She is survived by a daughter, Melinda Sue Kimbrell. 

Philip Wayne Sturm (’64), 77, of Parkersburg, West Virginia, died Feb. 9, 2020. He received a master’s and a Ph.D. in U.S. history and Appalachian studies from West Virginia University. He was professor emeritus of history and social studies at Ohio Valley University and formerly chaired the humanities division. He also taught briefly at the University of New Orleans and Loyola University. He was a James Still Fellow at University of Kentucky in 1987 and held a full-time John B. Stephenson Fellowship from the Appalachian College Association at WVU in 1999. In 2000, he was chosen by the Faculty Merit Foundation of West Virginia as the West Virginia Professor of the Year. In 2019, he was recognized by the West Virginia legislature as a West Virginia History Hero. He authored five books and numerous articles on regional history. He served as president of both the Parkersburg Bicentennial Commission and the Wood County Bicentennial Commission, and was commissioner and member of Fort Boreman Historic Park for the Preservation Development Initiative of the Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau. He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and an honorary member of the Centennial chapter of Daughters of the American Pioneers. He was preceded in death by his wife of 51 years, Annette Tucker (’64). He is survived by three daughters, Melanie Valentine, Leslie Rollings (’90), and Betsy Thornabar; three siblings, Pat Michaels, Judy Adams and Dwight; seven grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. 

Barbara Ann Kee (’65), 75, of Searcy died Dec. 15, 2019. She earned her Master of Library Science from Syracuse University. She spent two years in Geneva, Switzerland, and several years in Louisiana working for the Whites Ferry Road School of Biblical Studies as a librarian, counselor and Bible teacher. She received a master’s in marriage and family counseling from University of Louisiana Monroe and a doctorate in marriage and family counseling from Texas Woman’s University. She practiced as a marriage and family counselor in Richardson, Texas, and later was a doctoral dissertation coach. She devoted her life to teaching ladies Bible studies, private Bible studies, and embarked on numerous mission trips to Europe. She wrote eight Christian historical romance books under the pen name of A.J. Hawke. She was a member of College Church of Christ. She is survived by three siblings, Windle (’53), Jeanette Schoof and Marie. 

Carolyn Ann Cowan Hook (’68), 74, of Bentonville, Arkansas, died April 13, 2020. She was a talented artist, painter, crafter and interior designer with a passion for herbal foods and their efficacy for health. A devoted Christian homemaker and minister’s wife, she served as a member of Bentonville Church of Christ for 40 years. She led sixth-grade Bible classes and studied and taught biblical evidences and archaeology. She is survived by her husband of 52 years, Walton (’67); two sons, Todd (’92) and David (’95); her stepmother, Virginia Cowan; two siblings, Joe Cowan and Jan Arcidy: two stepbrothers, Paul Parrish and Jon White; and five grandsons.

Rodney “Rod” Vernon Holland (’69), 72, of Corvallis, Oregon, died March 23, 2020. He obtained a D.C. from Western States Chiropractic College, a CCSP from Los Angeles College of Chiropractic, and an MBE from the Academy of BioEnergetics. He served his country in the U.S. Air Force as a pilot and, later, in the Oregon Air National Guard. He established his Corvallis chiropractic office in 1979 and practiced until January 2020. In recent years, he authored a book focused on the efficacy of natural medicine. He was a member of the Circle Church of Christ in Corvallis where he served 26 years as an elder, teacher and worship leader. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Linda Brown (’71), three children, Karie Slater, Jason and Travis; a brother, Van; and seven grandchildren.

Mike Kirksey (’76), 64, of Friendswood, Texas, died Feb. 14, 2020, from progressive supranuclear palsy. He obtained his Texas CPA license shortly after graduation. He worked for Arthur Andersen, Keystone International, Input/Output, Metals USA, Sirva, Endeavour, Stewart & Stevenson, and W.W. Williams, allowing him to live and work in Belgium, England and Illinois as well as Houston. He was a member of Southeast Church of Christ, where he served as an elder and teacher. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Debi Baten (’76); his parents, Jerrel and Virginia; two children, Ryan (’02) and Jason (’04); two brothers, Tim and Terry; and four grandchildren. 

Alan Pogue (’78), 62, of France, died Nov. 22, 2019. He was a licensed professional counselor who mentored and educated new counselors in Arkansas. He was a longtime member, minister and elder of Levy Church of Christ. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Sherry Dunn (’01); three children, Heather Sutherlin (’99), Shannon Iverson (’06), and Aaron; his father, Al; a brother, Perry; and eight grandchildren. 

Rhonda Gail Porter Ingalls (’81), 61, of West Fork, Arkansas, died March 22, 2020, from esophageal cancer. During her 25-year teaching career, she taught elementary school in Spokane and Seattle, Washington, and Anaheim, California, before moving back to West Fork after her husband’s U.S. Coast Guard retirement. She taught special education and elementary education in the public school systems of West Fork, Winslow and Greenland. She is survived by her husband of 33 years, Kenneth; two daughters, Rebecca Lehew and Rachel (’16); her father, Junior Leon Porter; and three brothers, Ronnie, Randy and Rusty Porter.

Kay Lynette Fudge Nix (’81), 62, of Cypress, Texas, died Jan. 4, 2020. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Sam Houston State University and a master’s degree in education from Stephen F. Austin University. She taught in the public school systems in Arkansas and Texas for more than 25 years with her last 18 years in Cabot public schools. She was an avid runner and biker. She is survived by her husband of 39 years, Bobby (’92); three children, Ryan (’03), Keith (’09) and Kevin (’11); siblings Donald and Allen; and four grandchildren. 

James Berton Bellcock (’82), 88, of Searcy died Jan. 6, 2020. He served 22 years in the U.S. Air Force as a communications officer and navigator during the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. After retiring from the Air Force, he attended Sunset School of Preaching and spent five years as a minister in Wisconsin. In 1981, he moved to Searcy and completed a master’s in education. He taught school and drove a school bus for several years. He served as a deacon and elder at Four Mill Hill Church of Christ. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Sueyo, in 1969 and his second wife, Belva, in 2014. He is survived by four children; James (’84), Donald (’86), Karen Fonville (’86), and Nancy Nicholas (’95); 11 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. 

Terry Wayne Neu (’82), 60, of Storrs, Connecticut, died Feb. 4, 2020. He obtained his master’s degree in educational psychology from the University of Central Arkansas and his doctorate in gifted and talented education from University of Connecticut. He was the director of special education and an assistant professor at Sacred Heart University. He participated in Sacred Heart’s alternative spring break and was a member of the El Salvador service group since 1989. He also participated in service trips to Costa Rica. He earned his black belt in karate and practiced Tai Chi as both student and teacher. He was preceded in death by a son, Jacob. He is survived by a daughter, Rachel Elizabeth Grace; and her mother, Jane Elizabeth Shewmaker Neu (’82); his parents, Wayne and Bertie; and two siblings, Lisa Tyler (’83) and Nick (’86).

Ron Mashburn (’84), 58, of Sherwood, Arkansas, died March 21, 2020, from cancer. He was a residential building contractor. He loved gun collecting, hunting, fishing and coaching. He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Karen; two children, Ryan and Alexa Grace; his parents, Curtis and Doris; a sister, Lisa Elfrink; and a granddaughter.

Betty Sue Smith Slaughter (’84), 91, of Searcy, died Dec. 10, 2019. She was a member of the White County Writers Guild. She was a writer and a musician. She was preceded in death by her husband, Roy. She is survived by her children Roy, Samual and Kathy Throckmorton; six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. 

John Granville Fox (’91), 55, of McCune, Kansas, died Feb. 16, 2020. He drove a propane truck for McCune Co-op. He was an avid fisherman and gardener. He was preceded in death by his wife, Cathie Binns (’81). He is survived by two daughters, Chelsea Wertz and Chaney; and three siblings, Mark, Kenneth (’90) and Connie Carbary.

James Stanley King (’91), 50, of Pensacola Beach, Florida, died Feb. 23, 2020. He was a registered nurse, med flight nurse and instructor. He worked on Survival Flights in Arkansas and was working as an emergency room nurse in Florida. He was a member of First Baptist Church of Pensacola. 

Categories: Passages.

Leave a Reply

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