December 6, 2017 Edition

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Clara Jo Gipson


Dwain Austin Lee Eugene Brown Sherrye Ann DeMay
Maria Elizabeth Mathis Judy Lee Melton Thelma Smithee


Clara Jo Gipson

Zeb and Jade Gipson of Pocahontas have announced the birth of their first child, a daughter, born on Nov. 30, 2017, at St. Bernard's Birthcare Center in Jonesboro.

The baby weighed eight pounds, three ounces, and has been named Clara Jo Gipson.

Grandparents are Shane Camp of Jonesboro and Steve and Frema Gipson of Pocahontas.

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Dwain Austin

A long time Hoxie resident, Sergeant Major Harold Dwain Austin (US Army, retired), went to be with his Lord on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, at NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital in Jonesboro after a brief illness. He was 85.

He was a veteran of both the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War. He was combat infantryman and was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions at the Battle of Hue City during the Tet Offensive of 1968.

Dwain was born in Walnut Ridge on Sept. 2, 1932, to Leonard and Cloyce (Waddell) Austin, the first of three children. He attended Hoxie High School, graduating in 1950, and earned an associate's degree in applied science from El Paso Community College in Texas. He graduated from the 1st. U.S. Army NCO Academy, US Sgt. Maj. Academy, and the Vietnamese Language School.

He was united in marriage to Cloyce Willene Fouts on Aug. 26, 1951. Unto this union, three children were born, David, Donald and Dianna.

He was drafted into service in February of 1953, serving in the U.S. Army, and retired after 26 years of distinguished service at the rank of Sgt. Major. His service took him across the globe to Korea, Vietnam and Southeast Asia, France and the Panama Canal Zone.

He was a drill sergeant during the Vietnam War at Ft. Dix, N.J. He was awarded the Bronze Star, Legion of Merit and numerous other commendations. He earned a Combat Infantryman Badge and was proud to have been lucky enough to have never received a Purple Heart, or as he jokingly called it the Enemy Marksman Badge.

Dwain was a Master Mason and past Worshipful Master of the Hoxie Lodge #692. He was a deacon for many years and taught a men's Sunday school class at both Hoxie Baptist Church and Crossroads Baptist Church in Portia.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Leonard and Cloyce Austin; and a sister and brother-in-law, Joyce and Joe Crawford.

He is survived by his spouse of 66 years, Willene Austin, of the home; his three children, David D. Austin (wife ReneƩ) of Cheyenne, Wyo., Donald E. Austin of St. Augustine, Fla., and Dianna A. Willie (husband Thomas) of Jonesboro; one brother, Doug (wife Fran) of Cape Girardeau, Mo.; five grandchildren, Lisa M. Austin, Zachery D. Austin, Breanne (Austin) Stables, Joshua L. Austin and Heather D. Tallmadge; four great grandchildren and one soon arriving, 12 nieces and nephews, and numerous family and friends. Pallbearers are Dewayne Gillian, Rick Brewer, Stan Schmidt, Anthony Ashlock, Joshua Austin and Johnny Gaither.

A viewing for immediate family will be at 9 a.m. on Thursday. A public viewing and visitation will be held at 10 a.m., and a funeral service with Masonic rites will be held 11 a.m. at Bryan Funeral Home with Bro. Lynn Garmroth officiating.

A graveside full-military service will be held immediately following at Lawrence Memorial Park. The services are under the care of Bryan Funeral Home of Hoxie.

Memorials may be made in his name to any veteran's hospital, or St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Memphis.

An online guestbook is available at


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Lee Eugene Brown

Lee Eugene Brown, 52, of Walnut Ridge, died Dec. 4, 2017, at his home.

Born March 13, 1965, in Pocahontas, he was a veteran of the U.S. Marines. He was a construction worker and also worked at Skil. He attended New Life Full Gospel Church in Black Rock.

He was preceded in death by his father, Jeffery Eugene Brown.

Survivors include his mother, Bernice Medlock Brown Parish, Walnut Ridge; a sister, Barbara Whitlow and husband Robert, Black Rock; three nephews, Robert Lee Whitlow Jr., Britt Whitlow and Blake Whitlow; a niece, Bridgette Spurlock; and seven great-nieces and nephews.

Visitation is today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Cox Funeral Home. Funeral will follow at 1 p.m. with Allen Stinnett officiating. Burial will be in Oak Forest Cemetery in Black Rock. Military honors will be rendered.

Pallbearers will be Mark Rutledge, William Lynn Dowdy, Timmy Baker, Chris Collins, Emmanuel Dowdy and Blake Medlock. Honorary pallbearers will be Robert Whitlow Jr., Britt Whitlow, Blake Whitlow, Bob Whitlow Sr., Larry Medlock, Eddie Medlock, L.F. Medlock and Matthew Spurlock.

An online guestbook is available at

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Sherrye Ann DeMay

Sherrye Ann DeMay, 69, of Bolingbrook, Ill., died Nov. 26, 2017.

Born July 22, 1948, in Texas City, Texas, she was the daughter of the late Alvis and Erna Dillport Moore.

Survivors include her husband, Paul DeMay; a son, Robert Snyder and wife Chris Ann; five grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

Funeral was Friday at 10 a.m. at McNabb Funeral Home in Pocahontas. Burial was in Randolph Memorial Gardens.

An online guestbook is available at

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Maria Elizabeth Mathis

Maria Elizabeth Mathis, 80, of Walnut Ridge, passed away Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, at the Flo and Phil Jones Hospice House in Jonesboro.

Born Nov. 8, 1937, in Kubelberg Rheinlanol, West Germany, she was the daughter of Freidrich and Maria Hasenfratz. She was active in the church, the Extension Homemakers Club and charities. She enjoyed cooking and bird watching.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, James Mathis; and a brother, Freidrich Hasenfratz.

Survivors include three sons, Mike Mathis and Steven Mathis, both of Jonesboro, and Glen Mathis, Huntsville, Ala.; two daughters, Belinda Bryant, Sheridan, and Karen King, Pea Ridge; 11 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and a host of other family and friends.

The family requested a private disposition under the direction of Faith Funeral Service of Manila.

An online guestbook is available at


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Judy Lee Melton

Judy Lee Melton, 90, of Walnut Ridge, died Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, at St. Bernards in Jonesboro.

Born May 30, 1927, in Mechanicsville, Md., she was the daughter of Howard J. Thompson and Frances Julia Owens Thompson. She was an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. She loved canning, and one found it hard to meet her without getting sent home with a jar or two. She loved to fish. She was a loving wife and mother, and was of the Baptist belief. She was also a member of the USO.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Charles Melton; a daughter-in-law, Pat Melton; and eight siblings.

Survivors include a daughter, Wanda Williams; a son, Ray Melton; a granddaughter, Marci Stallings; two grandsons, Craig Melton and Josh Melton; and a great-grandson, Leighton Leddy.

Visitation was Monday, Dec. 4, from 6-8 p.m. at House-Gregg Funeral Home. Funeral was Tuesday at 10 a.m. with Bro. Tim Campbell. Burial was in Lawrence Memorial Park.

An online guestbook is available at


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Thelma Smithee

Thelma Lee Smithee, 105, of Walnut Ridge, died Dec. 5, 2017, at Lawrence Hall Nursing Center.

Born Oct. 6, 1912, near Tuckerman, she was the daughter of Jeff and Gracie Huskey Brand. She was a homemaker and a member of the Hoxie Methodist Church.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Sid Smithee, whom she married Jan. 11, 1933; four sons, Garland, Boyce, Cloyce and Leland Smithee; three sisters, Ruby Adams, Audrey Gilbert and Velma Hartwick; and a brother, Jeff Brand.

Survivors include three daughters, Freda Wall, St. Augustine, Fla., Sue Fallis and husband Dave, and Geraldine Rogers and husband Roy, all of Hoxie; a brother, John Alfred Brand and wife Etta Lou, Newport; a sister, Lamelda Fortenberry, Tuckerman; 14 grandchildren; 40 great-grandchildren; and 36 great-great-grandchildren.

Funeral is Thursday at 2 p.m. at Bryan Funeral Home with Bro. Garry Wiles officiating. Burial will be in Clover Bend Cemetery.

Grandchildren will serve as pallbearers.

Visitation is Thursday from 1 p.m. until time of the service.

Memorials may be made to the charity of the donor's choice.

An online guestbook is available at

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