Excerpts from the eulogy by Paul Simmons, head football coach |
Dr. Jim Citty was many things to many people: Bible teacher, elder, mentor, encourager, Bison, doctor, husband, beloved father, grandfather and, most recently, great-grandfather.
For me and most Bison football players, he also was a legend. He was an icon, larger than life, steady, consistent and true. He leaves behind a tremendous legacy of integrity, passion, servant leadership, family and great faithfulness. He was deeply loyal and valued loyalty in the people around him. He had an incredible, profound impact on the Searcy community.
Doc Citty never chose to be the leader out in front, but because of the way he lived his life — the wisdom he displayed and the way he treated other people — he had no choice but to be the leader, always. When he spoke, everybody listened.
Doc Citty was proud to be a Bison and especially proud of Bison football. He was a member of the original group of Bisons that brought football back in 1959. He was a two-time team captain and by all accounts a warrior. There was a lot of losing in the early years, and those losses were really hard on him. He was a competitor, a winner. However, he was most excited about seeing young men give their lives to the Lord. He constantly reminded me that the joy and fulfillment of winning is awesome, but it is nothing compared to the joy of introducing Jesus Christ to the young men in our program. Nobody was more excited about a Harding football player being baptized than Doc Citty.
Because of his kindness and compassion, he was adored by his patients. He had huge, gentle hands — that is, unless he was treating a Bison football player.
Doc was a tough guy, and he wanted everybody associated with Bison football to be tough. Until the day he died, I still believe that Doc Citty could whip almost everybody in any place he happened to be in. Doc wanted his own kids and grandkids to be tough — to know how to battle — and they are. He is incredibly proud of each of them. I have had the privilege of coaching three of his grandsons as Bisons, and they are tough and loyal. They are tremendous teammates just like their grandpa, and that made him really proud.
His goal was to raise up children who loved the Lord and would commit their lives to God. He prayed that his kids would marry godly spouses, and all of them did. Doc wanted nothing more than to see his family walking faithfully with the Lord. He was dedicated to his family, but he had a special devotion to Maralyn and Kent. The three of them were always together. They were a team, and they were a really good team. Doc would say, “Maralyn is the wind beneath my wings. I am able to fly because of her.”
His favorite scripture was Isaiah 40:31: “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.”
This description fits Doc so well. His hope was always in the Lord. He was a man who soared. He truly flew on wings like an eagle and lived each of his 82 years to the fullest. May we all remember the example he left for us and live in a manner that will honor his memory.
“And then the master replied, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant…’” Matthew 25:21
Well done, Doc. We love you, and we will miss you greatly. Thank you for everything. See you soon, Captain!
Jimmy Charles Citty (’61), 82, of Searcy died May 23, 2022. He began his medical career at University of Tennessee Medical School, and in 1965, started residency in family medicine and obstetrics in the Army Medical Corps at both Fort Bliss and Brooks Army Medical Center in Texas. Upon completion of his training, he established a practice in DeQueen, Arkansas. In 1975 he was invited to be the football team physician and returned to Searcy where he practiced family medicine and obstetrics at Searcy Medical Center and was an adjunct instructor in the College of Nursing. He was the chief medical officer for the Great Physician Clinic, an outreach to the underserved in Searcy. He led medical mission teams to the San Blas Islands in Panama for 30 years and served College Church of Christ as an elder. He was inducted into Harding’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990 and was the University’s Outstanding Alumnus in 2019. He is survived by his wife, Maralyn Bailey (’62); four children, Kellee Blickenstaff (’87), Kent, Kris (’92) and Kyle (’94); a brother, Michael Binns (’78); nine grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.
There could not be a better worded tribute to Jimmy. I was his sister-in-law but he loved me like a sister. He had such personal love for everyone. And his love for God was so personal in his life. I am thankful I knew him.