Obituaries for Jan. 18, 2024



Our beloved Shelley Ferguson Cheatham of Magnolia, Arkansas, was born April 11, 1964, in Shreveport, Louisiana. She departed this life January 12, 2024, and ran straight into the arms of Jesus and then to her Momma Boo, if she had it her way. And she usually did.

Shelley taught and loved students at Bradley School District, Stephens Elementary, and Magnolia Central Elementary before retiring from teaching full time, and because she couldn't stop influencing children, she became the favorite substitute at CCS elementary. She completed her active service years and was an associate member of Magnolia Junior Charity League. She looked forward to Tuesday afternoons, because she was surrounded by all the children at FBC children's choir, where she volunteered as a director for years. Those children brought her so much joy, but she brought them just as much. Her absence leaves a hole in a lot of little hearts.

Shelley was always smiling, maybe a little loud and outspoken, and her love for Christ was evident in the way she always cared for others. She checked on the sick and hurting, and would show up with a meal anytime one was needed--a takeout meal, because she knew how to love, not cook. Who cares? She loved well. And she smelled so good. Shelley bathed in her signature fragrance daily, and she will be remembered every time someone who knew her smells Euphoria by Calvin Klein.

Shelley's love for others didn't stop at death. Her viable organs were donated to multiple recipients, giving them and their families joy and hope. The rest were donated to research. She would encourage others to do the same.

Shelly was reunited in heaven with maternal grandparents William Coy and Lavelle Martin Tucker (Momma Boo), paternal grandparents John L. Sr. and Sybil Abercrobmie Ferguson, and her father-in-law, Jimmy Clyde Cheatham.

Shelley is survived by the love of her life, high school sweetheart and husband of 36 years, Craig Cheatham, her daughter Amy (Zach) Rogers; her son Clay (Mia) Cheatham, and the ones who gave her the favorite title "Boo": Easton and Sadie Rogers and Asher and Silas Cheatham, who will welcome a baby brother in 7 weeks for Boo to watch over from above; her parents Vernon and Sherry Ferguson, brother Todd (Shari) Ferguson and son Drake; mother-in-law Elizabeth Cheatham, and sister in law Valerie Cheatham, all of Magnolia, and niece Courtney Alspaugh of Houston, Texas.

Private family graveside service will be at Magnolia Memorial Park Cemetery at 10 a.m. on Saturday January 20, 2024. Visitation will be held at First Baptist Church Magnolia, AR on Saturday January 20,2024 beginning at 3 p.m. and a memorial service to follow at 4 p.m.

Pallbearers will be Robert Dodson, Steve Edwards, Seth Edwards, Gary Farrar, Evan McCrary, and Jeff Whitener. Honorary pallbearers will be the deacons of First Baptist Church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Columbia Christian School Laila Hooker Memorial Scholarship, 250 Warnock Springs Road, Magnolia, AR, 71753, or the FBC Magnolia Capital Building Project, P O Box 456, Magnolia, AR 71753.



Funeral services for Rickey Lee Toms, age 68, of Taylor, AR, will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, January 20, 2024 at Spring Branch Baptist Church, Taylor, AR, with Rev. Will McGee officiating. Interment will follow in Spring Branch Cemetery under the direction of Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill, LA.

Visitation will be held on Friday, January 19, 2024 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Bailey Funeral Home.

Rickey was born on November 19, 1955 to Johnny Ray and Refugio "Cookie" Aguirre Toms in Springhill, LA and passed away on Tuesday, January 9, 2024 at his home in Taylor. He was a 5th generation resident of Columbia County and a 1973 graduate of Taylor High School. A faithful member of Spring Branch Baptist Church, Rickey served many years as church treasurer and was a member of the Spring Branch Cemetery Board. He was a wonderful bass singer and often sang in church quartets and led the music service on Sundays. In his younger years, Rickey worked in the area oil fields as a Rig Operator for GBI Well Service, Inc. in Springhill. In 1995, he obtained his real estate license. He then became a broker and established White Oak Realty with his late wife, Martha. He was most recently an Associate Broker with Magnolia Group Real Estate Professionals.

In his spare time, he enjoyed having a large garden in the summer and giving away much of his harvest to friends and family. Every fall, he could most often be found in Dorcheat Bottoms hunting. Rickey was especially gifted at restoring antiques and woodworking. He loved to build rocking chairs and tables for all of his grandchildren and close friends. He was an animal lover, with some of his closest allies over the years being Elvis, Brother, and Tater, his beloved terriers. Above all, he enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. Rickey was a loving father, grandfather, brother, and friend, who will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

He is survived by three daughters, Lyndi Toms Jean and husband, Cale of Magnolia, AR, Kati Toms Garland and husband, Blake of Benton, LA, Amy Emerson of Magnolia, AR; eight grandchildren, Rhett Jean, Farrah Jean, Abel Jean, Gabriella Jean, Owen Garland, Hadley Emerson, Landry Emerson, Brittan Emerson; brother, Jimmy Ray Toms of Taylor; sister, Teresa Toms of Taylor; mother of Lyndi and Kati, Sheila Toms Impson; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and wife of 20 years, Martha Jean Toms.

Pallbearers will be Russ Toms, Grant Toms, Dillion McGee, Cole Winkler, Todd Winkler, Chris Winkler, Tony Winkler, and Tim Denmon. Honorary pallbearers will be Kerry Griffin and Pat Gunnels.

Memorials may be made to the Spring Branch Cemetery Fund, PO Box 34, Springhill, LA, 71075



Carolyne Bunch Waters of Magnolia and Hot Springs, died peacefully January 12, 2024, following a brief battle with cancer. Carolyne passed away at CHI St. Vincent Hospital in Hot Springs with her loving husband, Randy, by her side. Carolyne was born June 23, 1945, at Davis Hospital in Pine Bluff to the late Felix Smart and Vivian Von Vere Bunch. She grew up on her family's farm in rural southeast Arkansas in the community of Reydell, attending the two-room Reydell Schoolhouse through the sixth grade and later graduating from DeWitt High School. At only 16 years old Carolyne left home to attend the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, "like throwing a sheep to the wolves," as she liked to say. Carolyne kept a level head though and comported herself with grace and wisdom beyond her years. She enjoyed college life, both academically and socially, only complaining that the girls were not allowed to wear pants except when the temperature dropped below freezing. These years previewed a life-long theme of Carolyne's – a capable, independent and adventurous nature coupled with femininity, beauty, and a distinct distaste for being told what to do.

Carolyne was a Southern belle in the truest sense of the word, not the fainting couch, fiddle-dee-dee variety, but intelligent, fearless, charming and ladylike. She was an accomplished businesswoman, owning and operating a successful bed and breakfast in Magnolia for many years all the while continuing as the third generation to oversee her family's farm in Reydell. Her bed and breakfast attracted a loyal following of repeat guests from 17 countries, including many connected with the Albermarle Corporation. Her qualities as a welcoming hostess as well as her famous eggs Benedict drew guests to visit again and again. On one occasion a favorite French visitor brought "Chef Carolyne" a bottle of wine from his own vineyard on a return trip to Magnolia. She cherished these experiences of friendship and connection.

Carolyne's pride in her origins in a "farming family" never waned. The deep green fields of rice and soybeans were as beautiful to her as her beloved antiques. The old farmhouse was another tableau for her loving restoration of worn pieces deserving of attention and care. She could tackle any project, enthusiastically enjoying the process as well as the end result. She was an accomplished seamstress, crafting designer evening gowns for her mother and others. Nothing intimidated her. She purchased a 28-foot San Jaun sailboat in Washington State for sailing on DeGray Lake. Of course Carolyne was not content to simply "own a boat," she was the fearless "helmsman."

Carolyne was a life-long member of the Methodist church, baptized as a child at the Bayou Meto United Methodist Church where she grew up attending with her family and later where she and Randy were wed. Carolyne was also a member of First Methodist Church of Magnolia as well as Asbury Methodist Church in the years that followed.

Of special significance to Carolyne was her membership in Magnolia Chapter AN P.E.O., a philanthropic educational organization dedicated to celebrating, educating, and motivating women to achieve their highest aspirations.

Carolyne's 25 happiest years were those spent with her adoring husband, Randy. She was already an avid traveler but she and Randy continued that passion together. She loved beaches, sand, and cruises, especially multiple days out at sea. Some of her favorite destinations were New Zealand and Bora Bora, but it was the Scandinavian countries she held especially dear because of her Van Valkenburg roots. Content in both their world travels and quiet times spent at home, together Carolyne and Randy built a life they loved.

Carolyne was a perfectionist in her work, in the kitchen, with her antique restorations and in simply making the most out of all life had to offer. She loved her cats, garden, and all of nature's gifts. Afternoons spent with family and friends on Lake Hamilton were among her favorite. Carolyne will be remembered for her heart-warming smile, her gracious manners, her kindness and enthusiasm. She will forever remain the feisty redhead featured on the downtown Magnolia mural watching on as President Clinton awards the trophy at the World Championship Steak Cook-Off at the Magnolia Blossom Festival. Friendship, hard work, community, good food, and a lot of fun – who could ask for more.

Carolyne is survived by her husband, Randall Keith "Randy" Waters; mother-in-law, Mary "Jo" Waters; brother-in-law Mike Waters (Angie); niece Abby Alphin and her son Quinton; and grand niece Phinley Waters, all of Magnolia. She is also survived by her most special, life-long chosen brother, cousin Felix G. Smart V (Tere) and his sons and their families of Altheimer. She was predeceased by her parents, brother Felix "Van" Van Valkenburg Bunch, father-in-law Roy Waters, Jr. and beloved nephew Joseph Waters.

A time of visitation for family and friends will be held Thursday, February 1, 2024, from 5 to 7 pm, at Lewis Funeral Home, Inc., in Magnolia. A memorial service will be held on Friday, February 2, 2024, at 11 am at Asbury Methodist Church in Magnolia with Rev. David Moore officiating. A family burial will precede in the Magnolia Memorial Park Cemetery.

The family would like to extend special thanks to the nurses and staff of CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs for the loving care Carolyne received.

In lieu of flowers please send memorials to either Magnolia Specialized Services, P. O. Box 595, Magnolia, AR 71754 or The Pattillo Center School, 601 S. Union Street, DeWitt, AR 72042.


Arrangements are pending with R.L. Reed Funeral Home Magnolia for 32-year-old Patrick Deon Jamerson of Magnolia, who passed away Saturday, January 13 at Magnolia Regional Medical Center.


Arrangements are pending with R.L. Reed Funeral Home of Magnolia, for 72-year-old Terry Vincent Sims of Magnolia, who passed away Saturday, January 13, at The Springs of Magnolia.


Arrangements are pending with R.L. Reed Funeral Home of Magnolia, for 68-year-old Tommy Haynes of Magnolia, who passed away Tuesday, January 16,2024 at Magnolia Regional Medical Center.


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