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Obituaries for Jan. 27, 2021

January 27, 2021 at 8:27 a.m.


Robert Arlen Scott was born on June 28, 1932 in Taylor, Arkansas and died January 15, 2021 at the age of 88, in Bella Vista, Arkansas.

Bob graduated from Magnolia, Arkansas High School in 1950 where he played football for the Panthers. During high school he started working in the oilfields in the summers for McAlester Fuel Company.

He attended Magnolia A&M College and then married Mary Narcissus McDaniel. After marrying Mary, their eldest son, Ross Arlen, was born in New Mexico, followed by Mary Shannon in Magnolia, Arkansas. Following his career path to Billings, Montana, Mary gave birth to their youngest children, Melissa and then Robert. Because of Bob and Mary’s love of animals, the children were fortunate to have horses and always a dog. He taught his children his strong work ethic and the importance of honesty.

Bob had a long and successful career in the oil industry spanning 35 years. He supervised drilling operations in Alaska, Canada and the Rocky Mountain Region for Champlin Petroleum and Union Pacific Resources (UPRC). He was the Regional Drilling Manager at UPRC in Denver, Colorado when he retired in 1988. He and Mary moved home to Arkansas from Parker, Colorado in 1993, where he pursued his passion for golf. Bob participated in several men’s golf leagues in Bella Vista. Over his golfing years he made a hole in one four times!

He was preceded in death by his parents Chester Overton Scott, Helen (Norman) Scott and daughter-in law Tammy (Striegel) Scott. He is survived by his wife Mary and children Ross Scott of Shreveport, Louisiana; Shannon Siebert (Lowell) of Henderson, Nebraska; Melissa Albert (Darryl) of Golden, Colorado; Robert Scott of Grand Junction, Colorado; and grandchildren Andy Scott (Michelle), Eric Scott, and Taylor Siebert (Jessica), Tessa Siebert, Nikki Scott, as well as ten great grandchildren.

He will be remembered how he loved his family in his own strong way.

Because of Bob’s love for animals, he and Mary volunteered for Horses for Healing, a therapeutic program for disabled children. He was also a loyal supporter of Bella Vista Animal Shelter. Services will be held at a later date.

Arrangements are by Bella Vista Funeral Home and Crematory. Fond memories and condolences may be shared at www.

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Leesa Stephens, 64, of Magnolia, AR passed away Sunday, January 17, 2021 in CHI St. Michael Health System in Texarkana, Texas.

Leesa was born on June 21, 1956 in De Queen, Arkansas. She was graduate of Southern Arkansas University earning a degree in Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance. She was the owner of Stephens Country Store and a member of the Magnolia Downtown Merchants.

Leesa took an active role with the youth in Magnolia and Columbia County. She was very involved for 30 plus years with the Girl Scout Troops #257 and #136. She served as a Troop Leader, as a Service Unit Director, and active supporter of the Friends of Highland Drive Girl Scout Hut. She was also active and an avid supporter of the Magnolia Dolphin Swim Team, served as director of the American Red Cross, and as director of the Salvation Army.

She is preceded in death by her father Charles Wayne Smith and niece Cara Smith. Leesa is survived by her husband of 45 years Eddie Stephens of Magnolia; children Mandy Belt and husband Kevin, Michael Paul Stephens and wife Kimmy of Magnolia, Cassie Franks and husband Zane of Humble, Texas; mother Myria Smith of De Queen; grandchildren Brodie and wife Anna, Hallie, , and Cecylie Belt of Magnolia, Tate, Knox, and Neely Stephens of Magnolia, Gunner and Savanna Franks of Humble, Texas; brothers Clint Smith and wife Leslie and family, Carter Smith and wife Angela and family, Steve Smith and wife Brenda and family of De Queen; father and mother in law Harvey and Roxy Stephens of De Queen; sisters in law Laurie Tidwell and husband Mitchell and family of Wickes and Sherri Flournoy and family of De Queen; and a host of extended family and many friends.

A private family memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to the ISI “Iron Sharpens Iron” Campus Ministries, 131 Bethel Rd, Magnolia, AR 71753. A local Campus Ministry affiliated with Southern Arkansas University founded in 2019 by Leesa’s daughter Mandy and her husband Kevin.

To sign the online guest book or to share a memory visit Cremation services were provided by Lewis Funeral Home, Inc. in Magnolia.

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Charles Joshua Smelser, 27 of McNeil, Arkansas passed away on Monday, January 18, 2021 in McNeil, Arkansas.

He was born on October 1, 1993 in Magnolia, Arkansas. Josh was a 2012 Graduate of Magnolia High School where he was on the Panther Football team and the Trap Team and graduated from SAU Tech Welding Academy. Growing up, Josh was a Boys Scouts of America Eagle Scout, Order of the Arrow Member, and attended First Baptist Church.

He was employed as an operator for Albemarle Corporation and a member of the West Plant Fire Brigade and Rescue Team. In his spare time, he loved to hunt and fish and anything outdoors, shoot and build guns and reload his own ammunition. He was a jokester and always had fun while leading his pack of friends.

He is preceded in death by his paternal grandfather, James Ledell Smelser; maternal grandmother Cathy Lentz; maternal grandfather Richard Loe; and great grandparents Sport and Myrtis Blankenship.

Josh is survived by his fiancé Amber Massey of McNeil, mother Jan and Willie Glover; father Charles and Page Smelser; brother Jimmy and Amy Smelser; paternal grandmother Joyce Smelser; nephew Haygen Smelser; niece Raylee May all of Magnolia, Arkansas; Aunt Sue and Ricky Nash of Mt. Holly; step siblings, Kiery and Corey McMullen of Dallas, Garrett Glover and Whitney Glover both of Texarkana, Lorie and Eric Hamilton of Snook, Texas, Willie and Vanessa Glover, Jr. of Poway, California; Jonathon Jordon of Magnolia, Krystal and Travis Gore of Fouke, Arkansas; and a step nephew Kaden Gore of Fouke; and a host of extended family and friends.

A graveside service was held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 23, 2021 at Falcon Cemetery with Patrick Finney and Corey Martin officiating under the direction of Lewis Funeral Home, Inc. A guest book and video tribute were available at the funeral home on Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the funeral home.

Memorial donations may be made to the Magnolia High School Trap Team.

Pallbearers were be Haygen Smelser, Chance Nash, Josh Hines, Terrell Fulton, Matt Finney, Colton Barnhart, Greg Sherman, and Jonathon Jordan.

To sign the online guestbook or share a memory visit

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Julia Marian (Tootsie) Schmidt, 92, formerly of Magnolia, died on January 18, 2021, in Little Rock after a long illness. She was born on October 12, 1928, to Homer Floyd and Julia Powledge Greer in Magnolia, where she resided her entire life until relocating to Woodland Heights in Little Rock in 2014 to be near her children. Tootsie was a 1946 graduate of Magnolia High School and attended Magnolia A & M College, now Southern Arkansas University. She was a talented musician and accomplished pianist, having studied piano all her growing-up years and during college, and she could play beautifully by ear as well as by reading music. She was in great demand as an accompanist for receptions, parties and style shows, as well as in Sunday School. She and her dear friend, the late Glo Atkinson, served as pianists for the Magnolia Junior Charity League Follies for many years. And she and her nephew and gifted pianist, Mike Epley, spent many hours entertaining family and friends with their playing, either on one piano or two. In her last years she often entertained on the piano for her new friends at Woodland Heights.

Tootsie’s early employment was as secretary for Magnolia oilman Dick Lawton, and the dexterity of her fingers made her an excellent typist as well as a wonderful pianist. She was known for the speed and accuracy of her typing. Later she became a court reporter for Judge Harry Crumpler and Judge Jack Graves, judges of the Thirteenth Judicial District. In that capacity she travelled through six counties in South Arkansas and was highly regarded by all the court and law enforcement personnel with whom she came in contact.

Tootsie was known for her beauty, charm, wit, and sense of humor, and especially for her positive, upbeat personality. She spread joy wherever she went and was a delight to all her family and friends. She was a self-professed “choc-a-holic” and frequently made world-renowned fudge. Tootsie was a lifelong member of First United Methodist Church in Magnolia, where she was active in the Leland Clegg Sunday School Class. She was also a member of the PEO sisterhood, chapter AN, as well as the Magnolia Junior Charity League.

In 1949 Tootsie married W.C. (Pete) Schmidt, who predeceased her in 2012, and they had two children, who survive: a daughter, Nancy Culbertson and husband Charlie of Little Rock, and a son, Phil Schmidt and wife Paula, also of Little Rock. She is also survived by five grandchildren whom she dearly loved: Dr. Bennett Schmidt of New Orleans; Philip Schmidt and wife Mary Catherine of Fayetteville; Thomas Schmidt and wife Anna of Little Rock; and Greer Culbertson and Brooke Culbertson, both of Austin, TX; and one great-grandchild, her namesake, Marian Schmidt. She was so proud of each of them.

Tootsie was part of a close-knit family. She is also survived by a much-loved brother and sister, Homer F. (Sonny) Greer Jr. of Magnolia, and Lois Gene Russell, of Conway, as well as cherished nieces and nephews, and great-nieces and great-nephews. Tootsie was preceded in death by her parents and two sisters, Margaret Reagan and Mildred Ruff.

Interment will be in Magnolia City Cemetery with arrangements to be announced at a later date. The family requests memorials to be sent to First United Methodist Church in Magnolia, or to ALS Association of Arkansas, Suite 2406-08, Rogers, AR 72756 or online at

The family extends heartfelt thanks to the staff at Hospice Home Care, led by Dr. Jennifer Casey, for their outstanding, dedicated, and compassionate care of Tootsie during her illness, and especially to Beverly White, Stacy Wiley, and Richema Genus for their “above and beyond” care. Also many thanks to Elle Hogan and Art and Zina Horne for their care and kindness to Tootsie at Woodland Heights, as well as to Verna and Lynda Frierson, for providing loving companionship and support to Tootsie, in Magnolia and in Little Rock.

Arrangements are under the direction of Ruebel Funeral Home, sign an online guestbook at

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Ruddy Joe Morgan, 76, of Magnolia, Arkansas passed away Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at his home.

Joe was born on December 29, 1944 in Hot Springs, Arkansas to the late Joe Conway and Margaret Quintilla (Clark) Morgan. Joe retired from the Albemarle Corporation and was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Stephens, Arkansas.

Joe is survived by his wife Sharron Morgan of Magnolia, son Randy Morgan and wife Beth of Stephens, daughter Amy Wilson and husband Bubba of Magnolia, brother Jeff Morgan and wife Julie of Magnolia, grandchildren Brice Morgan of El Dorado and Tres Wilson of Magnolia, great grandchildren Nayley Morgan of Magnolia and Memphis Morgan of El Dorado, step daughters Candy Drake and Nancy Newman of Magnolia, four step grandchildren and four step great grandchildren, and a host of extended family and friends.

A visitation will be held on Friday, January 22, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. at the Stephens Cemetery with a graveside service to follow at 10:00 a.m. with Bro. Mike Launius officiating under the direction of Lewis Funeral Home, Inc. in Magnolia.

Pallbearers will be Josh Morgan, Justin Creech, Jeff Hunter, Jared Hunter, Tres Wilson, and Brice Morgan.

To sign the online guest book or to share a memory visit

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De’Taevias LaShawn Cooper, 19 of Magnolia, AR, passed away Saturday, January 16, 2021 at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock. Graveside services were held Friday, January 22, 2021, at 23rd Psalms Cemetery in Magnolia at 2 p.m., under the direction of R.L. Reed Funeral Home. Rev. B. J. Harris eulogist. Visitation was Friday, January 21, from 1–4 p.m.

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Eliseree Young, 90 of Magnolia, passed Monday, January 11, 2021 at Methodist Charlton Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. Graveside services will be held Saturday, January 23, 2021, at Anderson Cemetery in Emerson at 2:30 p.m., under the direction of R.L. Reed Funeral Home. Rev. Earnest Moore eulogist. Visitation was held Friday, January 22, from 1-4 p.m.

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Rev. Otis Berry, 69 of Buckner, AR, passed Thursday, January 14, 2021 at Christus St. Michael Hospital in Texarkana, TX. Graveside services will be held Sunday, January 24, 2021, at Buckner Community Cemetery in Buckner at 2 p.m., under the direction of R.L. Reed Funeral Home. Rev. Charles Blanks eulogist. Visitation will be Saturday, January 23, from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

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Zachariah Deshun Porchia, 15 of Camden, AR, passed away Saturday, January 16, 2021 at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock. Graveside services will be held Friday, January 22, 2021, at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery in Camden at 10 a.m., under the direction of R.L. Reed Funeral Home. Visitation will be Thursday, January 21, from 1–4 p.m.

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Benjamin Earl Wright, 55 of Magnolia, passed away Saturday, January 16 at Magnolia Regional Medical Center. Graveside services were held Sunday, January 24, 2021, at 23rd Psalms Cemetery in Magnolia, Arkansas at 11 a.m., under the direction of R.L. Reed Funeral Home. Rev. Al Brewer eulogist. Visitation was Saturday, January 23, from 1–3 p.m.

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Virda Paden, 88 of Camden, passed away Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at Hospice of Texarkana in Texarkana, Texas. Arrangements are pending with R.L. Reed Funeral Home in Magnolia.

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Curtis Lorenzo Trimble Jr., 56 of Texarkana, TX, passed away Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at his residence. Arrangements are pending with Reed Funeral Home.

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Theodis Sanders Sr., 73 of Falcon, passed away Wednesday, January 20, 2021 in Shreveport, LA. Arrangements are pending with Lewis Funeral Home.

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Louise Northern, 72 of Magnolia, passed away Thursday, January 21, 2021 at Magnolia Regional Medical Center. Arrangements are pending with Reed Funeral Home.

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Wanda Frances Keith Stewart was born on March 17, 1934 in Magnolia, Arkansas. On January 20, 2021, her husband, John Ed “Red” Stewart was waiting at Heaven’s gate to welcome her home.

Proverbs 31 asks, “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.” Wanda Stewart was the epitome of the virtuous woman.

Wanda grew up in Macedonia, graduating from Magnolia High School in 1952. Throughout her life, classmates commented that they remembered her as the most beautiful girl in school. She was crowned in numerous beauty contests including the titles of Miss Columbia County and Centennial Queen. She was a truly beautiful woman, both inside and out. Red Stewart fell in love with her in high school, and on December 12, 1954, the couple eloped to Greenville, Mississippi. They lived in California and Washington during the years Red spent in the Navy during the Korean War. The couple returned to Magnolia where they raised their children, a son and three daughters. They were proud of their family and never missed an opportunity to tell them so.

Wanda was an accomplished homemaker, keeping a spotless house despite four children, their friends, and assorted pets. She was an excellent cook, feeding her growing family nutritious meals. Wanda excelled at making divinity (even on rainy days) and clear ice-green cucumber pickles. She made it all look so easy, taking daily misadventures in stride. Once her children were all in school, Wanda began working in the Magnolia Public School Systems at Westside Kindergarten and Magnolia Junior High School, then returned to SAU where she later retired as the assistant to the Dean of Education.

A talented artist, Wanda honed her love of art as an adult, winning numerous first-place ribbons at the Magnolia Sidewalk Art Show. Wanda and Red spent many hours singing together at area nursing homes, entertaining the residents with hymns and familiar songs. She was an active member of Jackson Street Methodist Church, which became Asbury Methodist Church. Her never-ending patience and sweet disposition were loved by all who knew her.

In their later years, Red and Wanda celebrated their wedding anniversaries by spending the weekend at the Grand Arlington Hotel and Spa in Hot Springs. They came home full of love and laughter, with a twinkle in their eyes. They loved the Christmas season, all the fancy decorations at the hotel, and the enormous food buffet. They danced the night away at the Christmas ball, while the Big Band music took them back in time. They were beautiful dancers together, and it was obvious to all who saw them that they were still so very much in love. Wanda celebrated 62 years of marriage with Red – full of love and laughter - here on earth. Their lifelong love story will continue for eternity, as they sing together in Heaven.

When Wanda was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, it devastated her. But true to form, she spent hours working on brain teasers, exercises to stay sharp and focused, crossword puzzles and more, doing everything she could to stave off the inevitable for as long as possible.

Wanda is survived by her children, John Ed Stewart, Jr. (Melinda), Robinette Hennessy, Rene Folse (Lawrence), and Roxane Stewart (Stephen); her grandchildren, Heather Barker (Kevin), Karen Meier (Jeff), Lance Folse (Sarah), Josh McGaugh, Stewart Hennessy, Parker Dunn(Macie), and Jordan Dunn(Jacob); her great-grandchildren, Townes Barker, Reef Barker, Evan Stewart, Joshua McGaugh, Jada McGaugh, Shay Ware, Benjamin Garner, Timmy Preston, Sydney Preston, Luke Folse, and Beaux Folse; brother, W. C. “Butch” Keith of Macedonia; special family friend, Jane Carrie Patrick-Powell of Dover, AR, and a host of nieces, nephews, and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents, William Clifton Keith, and Edna McWilliams Keith; husband, John Ed Stewart, Sr.; sister, Mary Keith Moore and brother-in-law, Howard Moore; parents-in-law, Clatha Ora McNatt and Robert Lee Stewart; son-in-law Jeffrey Hennessy; son-in-law, Wyatt McGaugh; and grandson, John Kalon Stewart.

The family extends a special thank you to all the staff at the Greenhouse Cottages at Wentworth, Brown House, and the staff of Lifetouch Hospice Care, led by Jennifer Ray.

There will be a graveside ceremony at 10am, Tuesday, January 26, at the Philadelphia Methodist Cemetery under the direction of Lewis Funeral Home. Services will be conducted by the Rev. David Moore of Asbury Methodist Church. A non-contact visitation will be held at graveside just prior to the service beginning at 9:30 am.

A guest book and video tribute will be available at Lewis Funeral home on Monday, January 25th, from 9 am to 5 pm.

The family asks that memorials be made to Asbury Methodist Church, 1300 East University, Magnolia, AR 71753

or to the Alzheimer’s Association (

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Graveside services for Mrs. Audra LaVerne Baucum Phelps age 92 of Haynesville will be at 11:00 am on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at Old Town Cemetery in Haynesville, with Bro. Jeff Tinsley and Bro. Andrew Abshire officiating. Visitation will begin at 10:30 am, prior to service time at the cemetery.

Mrs. Phelps was born November 10, 1928 in Emerson, AR to the late Georgia Bailey Baucum and Ben Baucum and passed away Friday, January 22, 2021 at her residence in Haynesville.

LaVerne attended Emerson High School, where she was an All-State Basketball player, and from where she graduated in 1947. She formerly worked for Edmont Wilson Glove Factor in Haynesville, serving thirty plus years before their closing and her retirement. She was a longtime member of First Baptist Church of Haynesville, where she served in many capacities. She especially loved children, which led to her teaching Sunday school and working with the churches’ children’s ministries. She also enjoyed cooking and helping with any church function where food preparation was involved. In her spare time, she especially enjoyed getting together with her friends and playing bridge, rook and domino’s.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband of 62 years, Nuel Dean Phelps; a son, Claude Dean Phelps; a granddaughter, Ashley Brooke Phelps; four brothers, and three sisters.

Survivors include; her daughter, Deborah Millican and husband, Sammy of Emerson; daughter in law, Sheree Phelps of Shongaloo, LA; three grandchildren, Stacie Griffin and husband Ken of Camden, AR, Leslie Millican of Magnolia, AR, and Nick Phelps of Louisiana; two great granddaughters, Abby and Anna Grace Griffin of Camden, AR; one sister, Mary Lynn Whitley and husband Byron of Haynesville; two brothers in law, John Phelps of Jackson, MS, and Bobby Phelps and wife Karan of North Carolina; one sister in law, Virginia Baucum of Texas, along with numerous nieces, nephews and friends.

The family would like to say a special thank you to care givers, May Hall, Linda Bailey, Lisa Hurley, Tanya McClure, and daughter in law, Sheree Phelps; Dr’s Butler and Abshire, and all the staff from Regional Hospice for their compassionate care given to Mrs. Phelps.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donation be mad to First Baptist Church of Haynesville, LA.

Please sign our online guestbook at

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Francile S. Moore, 84 of Magnolia, passed, Saturday, January 23 at her home. Arrangements are pending with R.L. Reed Funeral Home of Magnolia.

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Lee Madison, 79 of Stamps, AR, passed away Friday, January 22, 2021, at Hospice of Texarkana in Texarkana, TX. Arrangements are pending with R.L. Reed Funeral Home in Magnolia.


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