Services for Bob Legan will be at 10 a.m. Friday at First Baptist Church in Claremore, Okla., under the direction of Rice Funeral Service (918) 341-0376. Bob will be laid to rest at 2 p.m. at Fort Gibson National Cemetery, Fort Gibson, Okla., with military honors. Friends may visit at the funeral home from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday with the family receiving visitors from 6-8. An Arkansas memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the event center at First Baptist Church, located at 200 S. El Paso Ave. in Russellville. Bob passed away Friday, March 5, 2010. He was 83.
Bob was born on June 10, 1926, in Halfway, Mo., to Jessie and Zella Legan. He grew up in that very same town and attended Halfway Public Schools. He continued his education at Southwest Baptist University at Bolivar, Mo. and the University of Missouri at Columbia. As a veteran of World War II, he attained the rank of Staff Sergeant while serving in the infantry and in the first guided missile battalion stationed in White Sands, New Mexico.
Bob met his wife, Ruth (Watkins) Legan during their school days in Halfway, Mo. They both played basketball in high school. Their first date was during Bob’s senior year and Ruth’s junior year after a basketball game. They were married on Jan. 4, 1945, at Camp Hood, Texas, where Bob was stationed during the war. They celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary this past January.
The Legans moved to Russellville from Rogers in 1959 and established Blue Ribbon Hatcheries and sold breeding stock throughout the southern and southeastern parts of the United States. Blue Ribbon Eggs Inc. processed and marketed eggs under the Blue Ribbon label and other private labels. Blue Ribbon Farms Inc. produced broilers as well as turkeys.
In 1967, Bob became involved in the Registered Polled Hereford cattle business building a breeding herd that was recognized throughout the U.S. and Canada. Breeders from 30 states and Canada purchased breeding stock with the LPH brand from 18 production sales so they could improve their breeding herds.
The American Legion was a very important part of Bob’s life. He held all of the offices in the Russellville American Legion Post 20 and District offices as well. Bob was elected Arkansas State Vice Commander in 1965 and Arkansas State Commander in 1967. At the local level Bob coached the American Legion Baseball team and served as the Chairman of that committee for 20 years.
Bob and his best friend, Paul White, were co-founders of the American Legion Children and Youth Committee program for Post 20. The Department of Arkansas adopted this program as its program for the state. Bob was the author of the Operation W.O.D. (War on Drugs) program, a comprehensive illegal drug and alcohol education program for students. It is a state-wide program and part of the program was adopted by the National American Legion Children and Youth Commission which has reached more than five million students. The program was cited by President George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who was the governor of Arkansas at that time.
Bob was awarded the American Legion Department of Arkansas’ highest award, the Arkansas Americanism Award, for the War on Drugs program and was awarded the Children and Youth “Chairman of the Year” of the Southwest Region of the United States by the National Children and Youth Commission of the Legion three times.
The Riggs-Hamilton Post 20 Children and Youth trust fund was established by the Legan and White families in 1991. The proceeds are used for scholarships and addressing problem areas facing our nation’s children.
Bob served on the department’s budget and finance committee for six years, the policy committee for fifteen years, and served as chairman and co-chairman of the children and youth committee. He was awarded the American Legion National Education Award in recognition of outstanding service to the American Legion Scholarship programs.
At the national level, Bob was appointed to the National Cemetery Committee in 1981 and served as chairman of that committee for 18 years. He was elected to the National Executive Committee, and he was elected to the high office of National Vice Commander at the Houston Convention in 1979. He also served on the American Legion Magazine Commission. He was an honorary life member of the Army, Navy and Air Force in Canada.
Bob’s interest in our youth included the 4-H program as well. The Legans, through their Blue Ribbon Companies, sponsored the 4-H poultry chain in 26 Arkansas counties for 10 years. More than 4, 000 children were provided a 4-H project through this program. The Legans were honored by the University of Arkansas for this contribution in the development of our nation’s youth.
Bob was a member of the Russellville Lions Club and the Russellville Ruritan Club. He served on many boards and commissions including the Arkansas Polled Hereford Association, the Pope County Fair Association, the Mid-South Fair Board, the Arkansas Poultry Federation, the Arkansas Athletic Commission, and the Pope County 911 Advisory Board.
Bob said that one of his most cherished accomplishments was the founding of the American Legion Foundation Department of Arkansas, which was founded to ensure the continued funding of future American Legion youth programs. Bob served as president and treasurer of this foundation.
During Bob’s many years of service to the American Legion, he was privileged to meet seven United States presidents — Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
Bob and Ruth were long time members of Second Baptist Church in Russellville, where Bob served as a deacon and choir member for many years. Later, they joined First Baptist Church in Russellville, where Bob was active in church visitation. After joining the First Baptist Church of Claremore, he continued to be active in church visitation. Bob and Ruth belong to the Joy Sunday school class.
Bob and Ruth have three children, Connie (Legan) Wilson and husband Ron Wilson of Glenpool; Ken Legan and wife Mary of Claremore; and Carol (Legan) Erdmann and husband Carl Erdmann of Roswell, New Mexico; six grandchildren, Anora Erdmann Tillman, Ashley Legan VanCleef, Dustin Wilson, Joshua Legan, Brandi Wilson and Myles Erdmann; and five great grandchildren, Alexandra VanCleef, Hunter Wyrick, Tyson Wilson, Jackson VanCleef and Drue Legan.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Legion Post 20, Children and Youth Trust Foundation, P.O. Box 972, Russellville, AR 72811 or American Legion Foundation, Dept. of Arkansas, P.O. Box 3280, Little Rock, AR 72203.
John David Bieber, 77, of Dardanelle died Feb. 25, 2010 in a Hot Springs hospital.
He was born Dec. 16, 1932 in Hawthorne, N.J., to John W. Bieber and Margaret Knoener Bieber. Mr. Bieber retired from the U.S. Army and then worked as an ROTC instructor for Dardanelle Public Schools until his retirement.
Survivors include his wife, Ruth Ann Mullen Bieber of Dardanelle; two sons, Michael Lee Bieber of North Little Rock and Duane Christopher Bieber and wife, Teresa, of Mustang, Okla.; two brothers, Kenneth and George Bieber, both of N.J.; and four grandchildren, Zachary, Jeremy, Corey and Casey.
Memorial service with full military honors will be at 1 p.m. Monday, March 8, 2010, at Fort Smith National Cemetery in Fort Smith. Arrangements are by Caruth-Hale Funeral Home at Hot Springs.
Wilbern Ray Schouweiler
Wilbern Ray “Bill” Schouweiler, 82, formerly of Russellville, died Feb. 19, 2010, at Centennial Medical Center in Frisco, Texas.
He was born July 27, 1927, in Paris, Ark., to Ben and Ella Schouweiler. He was a member of First Baptist Church in Russellville and was employed by the Continental Telephone Company. His family lived in Russellville until 1972, when he transferred to Dallas, Texas. He retired from the telephone company in 1989 after 41 years of service.
He served honorably in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and was a Mason and Shriner. Bill was known for his laugh and sense of humor. Many called him a true southern gentleman. He loved his family unconditionally. At the time of his death, he was residing with his wife of 63 years, Mary Eileen, in Plano, Texas.
Services were Feb. 22 at the Restland Memorial Chapel, with interment following in the Restland Memorial Park in Dallas, Texas. He is buried next to his daughter, Judy Gail Romano, who preceeded him in death in 2009. Dr. Gene Wilkes of the Legacy Drive Baptist Church officiated the service. Members of the Oak Cliff Masonic Lodge 705 also presented a funeral ritual.
He was preceded in death by his parents and daughter.
Survivors include his wife; daughter, Linda Raye Hutchison and husband, Philip, of Plano, Texas; grandson, Justin Erik Kirst, a freshman at Ouachita Baptist University; sister, Ocie Marie Horne of Subiaco, Ark.; and numerous nieces and nephews.
L.D. Virden Jr.
L. D. Virden Jr., age 81, of Atkins, died Thursday, March 4, 2010, at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Little Rock.
He was born May 1, 1928, in Atkins, and was a former truck driver for B.J. McAdams, Willis-Shaw and Tyson Foods. He was an ordained Free Will Baptist minister and had served over the years as an interim pastor for several churches in the area. He was a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War, a Mason and a member of St. Joe Free Will Baptist Church.
He was preceded in death by his father, L.D. Virden Sr.; his mother, Ruby Irene Teague Virden Tackett; his stepfather, Raymond Tackett; a son, Larry David Virden; and a sister and brother-in-law, Wilma and Joe Canady.
Survivors include his wife, Helen Louise Virden; two sons, Gary Dean Virden and Terry Wayne Virden, both of Troup, Texas; a daughter and son-in-law, Rebecca Jane and Earl Swift of Winona, Texas; two sisters and brothers-in-law, Betty and J.C. Kinder of Russellville and Margaret Lou and Vernon Jones of Dardanelle; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
The funeral service will be at 2 p.m. on Monday, March 8, 2010, at the Shinn Chapel officiated by the Rev. Geno Johnston. Burial with military honors will be in Crossroads Cemetery near Deer by Shinn Funeral Service.
Active pallbearers will be Earl Swift, Ben Cheatham, Jerry and Gregory Virden, and Lonnie and Dale Smith. Honorary pallbearer will be the Rev. J. C. Kinder.
The family will receive friends from 2-4 p.m. today at the funeral home.
Memorials may be made to the Crossroads Cemetery Association.
Fred Griffith, 74, of Russellville died Saturday, March 6, 2010, at Atkins Nursing Center.
Arrangements are pending at Lemley Funeral Service.
DARDANELLE — Leroy Drewry, age 79, of Dardanelle died Thursday, March 4, 2010, at Conway Regional Health System.
He was born July 20, 1930, at Paris to Roy and Isa Parsons Drewry. He was a member of the Chickalah Church of Christ. He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Mildred Carter; a brother, Bob Gatlin; and a great-grandson, Canyon Steele Drewry.
Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Mary Drewry of Dardanelle; two sons, Don Drewry and Roy Drewry, both of Dardanelle; sisters, Elemeda Cleveland and husband, Grover, and Laverne Ward and husband, Opal, all of Dardanelle; brother, Charles Gatlin and wife, Darlene, of Harrison; three grandchildren, Tammie Drewry of Russellville, Brad Drewry and wife, Mikki, and Brent Drewry and wife, Courtney, all of Dardanelle; four great-grandchildren, Austin and Keagan Thorpe and Landon and Dallen Drewry, all of Dardanelle, and one great-grandchild on the way.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Monday, March 8, 2010, at Cornwell Chapel with Bro. Gene Littleton officiating. Burial will be in Dacus Cemetery. Honorary pallbearers are Dr. William Scott and Glendon Masters.
Visitation will be from 2-4 p.m. today in the chapel.
Arrangements are by Cornwell Funeral Home.
ATKINS — Flora Rackley, 96, of Atkins died Friday, March 5, 2010, at Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Russellville.
She was the daughter of Ernest and Dosia Minor Keener, and the wife of the late Ray Rackley. She was a member of Atkins First Baptist Church.
She was also preceded in death by four brothers, Fred, Buel, Omer and Eugene Keener.
She is survived by one son, Hubert Rackley and wife, Kathy, of Tulsa, Okla.; two daughters, Peggy and Doyle Cook of Atkins, and Frances and Phillip Christie of Stafford, Va.; six grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.
Funeral service will be at 2 p.m. Monday, March 8, at Atkins First Baptist Church with the Rev. Scott Tyler officiating. Burial will be at Pisgah Cemetery in Pottsville. Arrangements are by Lemley Funeral Service.
Pallbearers are Mark Thessing, James Alexander, Stoney Martin, Bobby Pitts, Najim Jamell and Alan Stubbs.
Visitation will be from 2-4 p.m. today at Lemley Funeral in Atkins.
Timothy Lee Hardgrave, 60, of Dover died Thursday, March 4, 2010, at the Dardanelle Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
A son of the late Johnie Hershel and Alma Luella Waits Hardgrave, he was born February 9, 1950, in Russellville. He was employed by Arkansas Tech University, working in the physical plant and was a member of the Hatley Missionary Baptist Church at Dover. He was also preceded in death by his sister, Janet L. Courson, and a nephew, Donald Hargrave.
Survivors include his wife of 31 years, Gloria Hardgrave; two daughters, Ashlee D. A. Hardgrave of Chicago, Ill., and Tamara Davis of Dublin, Georgia; a brother and sister-in-law, Johnie R. and Valli Hardgrave of Sulphur Springs, Texas; a brother-in-law, Daryl Courson of Crossett; five nephews and nieces, Chuck Sitton, David Sitton, Mark Courson and his wife, Carmen, Jana Brezinski and Brian Hardgrave; an aunt, Dorothy Sanders; cousins Evelyn and Jay Johnson; and other relatives and friends.
A funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Hatley Missionary Baptist Church, officiated by the Rev. Ronnie Canard. Burial will be in East Point Cemetery near Russellville by Shinn Funeral Service.
The family will receive friends from 5-7 p.m. Monday at the funeral home.
The family requests donations be made to the Timothy Lee Hardgrave Memorial Fund, c/o River Town Bank.
John Ernest Fox Sr.
John Ernest Fox Sr., 88, of Fayetteville passed away Friday, March 5, 2010, at Butterfield Trail Village Health Center.
John was born Oct. 17, 1921, to Ernest C. and Ilah Pless Fox of Russellville. He attended Russellville High School and graduated from what is now Arkansas Tech University in May 1941. When World War II began, John enlisted in the Navy, received his wings and was commissioned an officer. As a Naval aviator, he flew the Kingfisher observation aircraft and had the distinction of checking out as Naval Helicopter Aviator No. 55 in 1948. As a pioneer in this field, he went on to become a helicopter instructor at Ellyson Field in Pensacola, Fla.
John retired after 23 years with the rank of commander in 1966 and moved his family to Fayetteville. He attended the University of Arkansas, receiving a degree in education in 1969 and taught math at Woodland Junior High for two years. He became assistant principal of Ramay Junior High in 1971, received a masters in public school administration from the University of Arkansas in 1973 and served as principal of Ramay Junior High from 1975 to 1980.
John was a member of Central United Methodist Church, a past president of both the Fayetteville Evening Lions and Northwest Arkansas Retired Officers Association and member of the Washington County Retired Teachers Association. He was a 32nd Degree Mason and served faithfully for many years on the Washington County Equalization Board. John is preceded in death by his parents, Ernest C. and Ilah Pless Fox and his sister, Elizabeth Graves Fox, all of Russellville.
John is survived by his wife of 60 years, Penny Mellott Fox; one son, John E. Fox Jr. of Tulsa; two daughters, Jeanie Fox of Fayetteville and Tory Fox Rogers and husband, Mike Rogers of Fort Smith; and four grandchildren, Jesse Fox and Tim Rogers of Fayetteville, Ben Rogers and Caitlin Rogers of Fort Smith.
Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. Monday at Moore’s Chapel.
Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Central United Methodist Church. Burial with military honors will follow at Fairview Memorial Gardens under the direction of Moore’s Chapel.
Memorials may be made to the American Red Cross, 250 Industrial Circle East, P. O. Box 789, Tontitown, AR 72770 or Central United Methodist Church, P. O. Box 1106, Fayetteville, AR 72702.
The Fox family wishes to thank the staff of Butterfield Trail Village Health Care Facility and Washington County Hospice for their compassionate and exemplary care.