Martha Ann Norton
Martha Ann (Wilson) Norton, 66, of Little Rock, died Saturday, May 21, 2005 at her home. She was born in Kaiser, Arkansas on January 1, 1939 to the late Harvey and Pearl McLain Wilson.
Martha Ann grew up in Conway and was a member of the First Baptist Church. She graduated from Conway High School, where she was active in student government and the band. She attended Ouachita Baptist College on a music scholarship.
In Texarkana, she taught the high school senior Sunday school class at Beech Street First Baptist Church for many years and was youth choir director. She held various leadership roles with the PTA, Cub Scouts and Junior League, and was on the board of the United Way. She was named the first president of AGATE, a state gifted and talented advocacy organization and helped bring the Odyssey of the Mind competition to Arkansas.
Martha Ann was appointed by Gov. Bill Clinton to the Advisory Board of the State Department of Education for Education of Gifted and Talented Students. As chairman, she helped establish the Arkansas Governor's School and the AEGIS Summer Program for Gifted Students.
After moving to Little Rock in the early 1980s, she became president of the Arkansas Community Foundation. She served as vice-chairman of the Science Information Liaison Office to the Arkansas Legislature and was appointed by Gov. Jim Guy Tucker to the Common Ground Commission to oversee a community grant program to reduce teen violence.
In 1983 she received the Community Spirit Award for volunteer service and was named Woman of the Year in 1986. She also was former director of the Capitol Zoning District Commission and was an active member of First United Methodist Church.
In recent years, she and her husband Dick have traveled to Russia, Norway, Albania and France. She also traveled with her grandchildren to a city of his or her choice when each turned 11-years-old. She enjoined painting, playing the piano and sitting with friends on her deck.
She is survived by her husband, Richard Norton, of Little Rock; three sons, Kevin Jones and wife Lori of Little Rock, Alan Jones and wife Ellen of Fayetteville, Tennessee, Chip Jones and wife Cynthia of Dallas, Texas, and their father Earl Jones, Jr. of Little Rock; a sister, Betty Wilson Terry of Decatur, Alabama; and nine grandchildren.
Memorial services will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, May 23, 2005 at First United Methodist Church with inurnment to follow in the church columbarium. A reception will follow the services in the Fellowship Hall of the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Martha Ann's Scholarship Fund through the Arkansas Community Foundation, 700 S. Rock, Little Rock, AR 72202.
Cremation arrangements are by Ruebel Funeral Home of Little Rock.
Marjorie Crenshaw Ridley
Marjorie Crenshaw Ridley, age 88, of Little Rock, died Friday, June 10, 2005. She was born in Beedeville, Arkansas where she attended public schools. After her marriage to Homer Joe Ridley, who died in 1994, she spent time as a homemaker raising four children. The family moved to Newport in 1945 where Marjorie was a very active member of First Christian Church serving as an Elder. After her retirement from the United States Census Bureau of the Commerce Department she moved to Little Rock in 1995 becoming an active member of First Presbyterian Church. She enjoyed life, especially her devotion to her family, was a renowned cook, and a life long "Yellow Dog" Democrat.
Marjorie is survived by two sons; Gene Ridley of Boulder, Colorado, John Robert Ridley of Okinawa, Japan, two daughters; Carolyn Ridley Ross and husband Owen of Little Rock, Susan Ridley Woodyard and husband Bill of Little Rock, and dear friend James Wilkerson Case, III of Detroit, Michigan, 12 grandchildren; Debra Ann Riley and husband Tim, William Lindley Ridley, Beth Ridley Vance, Graham Beall Dobbins, Richard Ridley Dobbins, Stephen Loren Dobbins, Ann Carolyn Dobbins Mortenson and husband Jim, William Henry Lee Woodyard, IV and wife Peyton, Helen Woodyard Brown and husband Kevin, Erlyn Santos Castro, Michael Robert Ridley, Patrick David Ridley, 13 great-grandchildren, 3 great-great-grandchildren, and predeceased by a grandson, James Michael Ridley.
There will be a memorial service Tuesday at 2 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church officiated by Reverend Howard Gordon. Arrangements are under the direction of Ruebel Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers memorials should be made to First Christian Church of Newport, Arkansas, First Presbyterian Church of Little Rock, Arkansas Hospice, and Pulaski County Humane Society.
William "Bill" Degrasse
William F. Degrasse, 83, of Little Rock, passed away January 5, 2005, after a short illness. He was born April 16, 1921 in Los Angeles, California. Mr. Degrasse worked as a medical secretary in the Orthopedics Department at UAMS for the past 20 years. He was a graduate of Oxford University, England, and was a WWII veteran.
Mr. Degrasse loved the theater, and was active in many Community Theater and Arkansas Rep productions. He was a supporter of the local symphony and theater arts.
He is survived by one son, William (Frank) Degrasse, Jr. of San Antonio, TX, and two daughters, Pat King of Surfside, SC, and Alice Watts of Greenbrier, AR, five grandchildren as well as three great-grandchildren.
Bill was a generous, friendly man who will be missed by his many friends and his family.
Visitation will be at Ruebel Funeral Home, 6313 West Markham in Little Rock on Friday, January 7, from 3 to 5 p.m. A memorial service at the funeral home will be Saturday, January 8, at 11 a.m. with Rev. Garnett Quimby officiating. Memorials can be sent to the Humane Society in LR, the LR School for the Blind, or the Kidney Foundation, all concerns of Mr. Degrasse.
Rev. Jesse Lee Johnson
Jesse Lee Johnson, 90, of Little Rock, passed away March 5, 2005. Born October 9, 1914 in Jersey, Arkansas, he was the son of James P. Annie Anders Johnson.
Jesse was a graduate of Hermitage High School and Hendrix College. He received a Bachelor of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. Jesse married Kathleen Keenzel in 1939. He was ordained into the North Arkansas conference of the United Methodist Church and began his ministry with his appointment as pastor of First Methodist Church, Salem, Arkansas. Over the next forty years, Jesse served Methodist Churches in North Arkansas, Little Rock, and Texas conferences.
After his wife's death in 1983, Rev. Johnson retired from the Texas conference and returned to Little Rock where he served as associate pastor for the First United Methodist Church of Benton, Arkansas as well as the congregations of St. James and Trinity United Methodist Churches. He considered St. James his "home" church and attended faithfully as long as his health permitted. He was an avid gardner throughout his life and cooked fresh vegetables for his family. He was a member of the Kiwanis Club of Central Little Rock, serving as club president, and was named as a George F. Hixson Fellow.
In addition to his wife, Kathleen, he was preceded in death by his brothers Joe Johnson, Sam Johnson, and Carl Johnson. He is survived by his daughter, Virginia Sue Buck and her husband George of Little Rock, and son, Jesse Lee Johnson, Jr. and his wife Robin of Hohenfels, Germany. He is survived by four grandchildren, Christy Creger Jackson (Stuart) of Little Rock, Carlton Creger ( Susan) of Milan, Illinois, Ryan Johnson and Brad Johnson both of the Denver, Colorado area. Great-grandchildren include Emma Creger, Nicholas Creger, and Kathleen Jackson. Other survivors include two brothers, Robert Johnson (Helen) and James P. Johnson (Bethel) and three sisters, Mabel Graham, Frances Holderfield, and Mary Lee.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, March 9th from 5:00-7:00pm at Ruebel Funeral Home with the funeral service at 2:00pm on Thursday at St. James United Methodist Church in Little Rock. Burial will follow at Pinecrest Memorial Park.
The family would like to extend special thanks to the staff of Arkansas Hospice, and also to three friends who showed Jesse such care and love during the past four years, Bubba Benton, Richard Davis, and Patty Lou Dillaha.
Memorials may be made to Arkansas Hospice or the St. James United Methodist Church Endowment Fund.
Ruby R. Turner
Ruby R. Turner, 93, of Little Rock, died Wednesday, March 2, 2005 at Baptist Health Center in Little Rock. She was born in Brookland, Arkansas on October 5, 1911.
She was a retired executive with Goldsmith's in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the first women to hold an executive position with that company. After her retirement, she worked at Kavanaugh Antiques in Little Rock.
She is survived by her daughter, Pat Griffin; granddaughter, Buffy Culbreth and husband Jeff; and four great grandchildren, all of Rison; friend and companion, Lynne Haubenreich of Little Rock.
Ruby was a hoot!
Visitation will be 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday at the funeral home, followed by a graveside service at 1:00 p.m. on Friday at Greenwood Cemetery, Rison.
Memorials, in lieu of flowers, may be made to Habitat for Humanity.
Arrangements by Ruebel Funeral Home.
Lynn Allan Atkinson
Lynn Allan Atkinson, 63, of Niceville, died April 21, 2006 in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was born July 3, 1942 in Mishawaka, Indiana to the late Kenneth and Dorothy Dill Atkinson.
He was a retired Aerospace Engineer and Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force.
Survivors include his wife of over 40 years, Suzanne Atkinson; children, Kathryn Starrett and husband Jason, David Allan Atkinson and wife Monica, Karyn Adele Cooper and husband William Paul, and Jennifer Lynne Atkinson; two grandsons, Alexander and Zachary Starrett, all of Niceville; sisters, Linda Adele Miller of Bradenton, and Laura McWhirt of Mishawaka, Indiana.
Melvyn Dixon, 67, of Alburtis died on Friday, April 21st at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, Arkansas from complications of a six year battle with multiple myeloma – cancer of the bone marrow. He was born February 6, 1939 in Leeds, England the son of the late James Stanley Dixon and Irene Armitage Dixon.
Mel received a PhD in Physics from Leeds University. From 1964 to 1967 he held a postdoctoral fellowship in the Chemistry Department of the University of Pittsburgh. In 1967 he joined Bell Labs at Western Electric, Allentown as a member of Technical Staff. In 1995 Mel was appointed Director of Optical Communications Research and Development. After 33 years he retired as Director of Optical Business Unit Strategy and Corporate Technology. As a co-founder of CENIX Inc., Mel served as CEO and President of the company until 2003. From 2003 until the present, he was Optical Communications and Sensor Specialist for Clay Street Associates, Mountain View, CA.
Among his many professional accomplishments, Mel authored and co-authored numerous technical papers, several book chapters and held many patents related to his work at Bell Labs and Lucent.
In addition to his love of learning, soccer was a lifelong passion for Mel. He played for 55 years: in England, for the Harigari Soccer Club, Allentown and on various informal teams. He assisted in the beginning of the Bethlehem Youth Soccer Program and started the Youth Soccer Program in Allentown, through the YMCA. He received their “Man of the Year” award for this effort. Mel’s other interests included running, biking and world travel.
He will be lovingly remembered by family and friends both here and in England. He is survived by his wife Kathryn Knestrick Dixon; daughter Suzanne, wife of Jeffrey Amant; grandchildren Sydney Dixon Amant and Andrew Scott Amant of Macungie, PA; sister, Denise Driver of Yorkshire, England; sister-in-law Ann Knestrick, niece Amy Bartoe, both of Washington, PA, and nephew Bill Knestrick of Macungie, PA. He was predeceased in 1985 by his son Scott Andrew Dixon.
A Memorial Service will be held Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 1:30 p.m. on Bethlehem, PA at the First Presbyterian Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that consideration be given to donations for research at the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, c/o Betty Tucker, 4301 W. Markham St. #816, Little Rock, AR 72205-9985.
Robert A. Hardy
Robert A. "Bob" Hardy, 77, of Little Rock passed away April 25, 2006. He was born July 9, 1928 in Monticello, Arkansas. He was preceded in death by his parents, Eva and Eric Hardy, and his sister, Joye Jeter.
Mr. Hardy grew up in Monticello, where he graduated from high school. He attended Arkansas A&M University in Monticello and Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, before transferring to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville where he graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1951. He served in the U. S. Army during the Korean War.
He began his career in highway and bridge construction with Reynolds and Williams Construction Company and later with Southeast Construction Company. He started his own company, Hardy Construction Company in 1968 with the home office in Pine Bluff. The company later relocated its offices to Maumelle.
Hardy Construction Company was active throughout Arkansas in all phases of highway and bridge construction, concluding in 2005 with the complete restoration of the Cotter Bridge over the White River. This bridge has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Mr. Hardy was a Registered Professional Engineer. He was a member of the Associated General Contractors of America and served as the Arkansas Chapter President in 1978. He was also a member of the Arkansas Academy of Civil Engineers.
Mr. Hardy was an avid sportsman, hunting ducks, quail and pheasants, and enjoyed many activities with his friends. He belonged to the Pine Bluff Country Club and enjoyed golf. He was a loyal Razorback alumnus, attending various sporting events and financially supporting the goals of the Athletic Department.
Survivors include his wife, Mary Hardy of Pine Bluff; daughter, Janis Hardy Thatcher, son-in-law, Jeff Thatcher, and their children, Ben and Sarah of Little Rock; his son, Brian Hardy, daughter-in-law, Fatima Hardy and their son, Emerson of Gastonia, North Carolina; and his nephews, Ronnie Jeter of Pine Bluff and Jeff Jeter of Little Rock.
Memorial Services will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, April 28, 2006 in the Chapel of Ruebel Funeral Home. The family will receive friends and visitors immediately following the service. Burial will be in the family plot at Oakland Cemetery in Monticello.
The family wishes to thank John A. Green, Jr., a long-time employee of Hardy Construction Co., who devoted his time to Mr. Hardy during his time of illness, and the various other caregivers who provided compassionate care to Mr. Hardy.
Cremation and service arrangements are by Ruebel Funeral Home.