Obituaries from Saline County Arkansas May 12th

Richard Garner Wilson, 81, of Newport, formerly of Benton, passed away Saturday, May 7, 2022.  He was born January 5, 1941 in Mabelvale, Arkansas.  Richard was a concrete finisher and of the Baptist faith.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Walter N. & Edith Wilson and a brother, Jerry Wilson.

Richard is survived by his son, Kelly Shamlin (Denise); two daughters, Gina and Paula Wilson; sister, Brenda Tribble (Roger); eight grandchildren; fourteen great-grandchildren; and his best friend/fishing buddy, Gary Mullins (Pat).

Visitation will be 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Sunday, May 15 at Ashby Funeral Home.

Graveside services will be 11:00 a.m. Monday, May 16 at McPherson Cemetery in Sardis.

 Randall (Randy) Phillip Parson, 70 of Mt. Ida and formally of Benton, departed to his eternal home on May 8, 2022.  He  was born on December 3rd, 1951 to Vernon & Bertha Parson. Randall  was raised in the Shaw community. He resided there until his retirement. He was of the Baptist faith and attended Faith Tabernacle Church in Mt Ida.

He was preceded in death by his father & mother, and one grandchild, Kynnedi Jude Asher.

Randy leaves behind to cherish his memory, his adoring wife & best friend of 27 years, Deborah Lynn Parson. Together they shared one son, Gregg Asher (Kaycee), and three daughters; Teresa Parson, Elizabeth Parson, Melissa Sword (Jeremy). In addition, one sister, Verna Ann Burnett and one brother, James Parson (Phyllis), twelve grandchildren, two great grandchildren, and a host of family and beloved friends.

He met Deborah (Deb as he affectionately called her) while they both worked with new construction homes. They were wed on June 11, 1994. Randy & Deb spent many years building two beautiful homes, hunting, fishing, loafing and everything in between.

Randy retired as Superintendent from the City of Bryant Street Department in September of 2011 after 17 years of dedicated service. Operating heavy equipment was his most favorable task.

Randy devoted many weekend adventures and eventually every day the weather allowed to Lake Ouachita. He trotlined, jug fished, limb lined & pole fished for catfish, crappie & bream. Randy caught his fair share of gar and even a hook to the face. He took everyone fishing. If you could tolerate the bugs at night, survive the snakes on the bank & hold your own umbrella – you could fish on his boat. Good luck out fishing him though!

Randy cherished his children. He acted like a kid right along with them. Whether they were all wrestling, shooting pool, bicycling, playing football or Duck Hunt – Randy almost always won. They were brave enough to poke the bear but he couldn’t be outran!

He absolutely loved to laugh. He had the best snicker when he got tickled. He joked with everyone and if he ever gave you a nickname, it stuck. You never had to wonder about Randy’s opinions, he’d tell you. He wasn’t bashful. Honesty was an important virtue of him and he was a child of God.

Randy was the toughest man we’ve ever known. He lived a beautiful life full of joy, fun and love. We will all miss him dearly.

The Pallbearers graced with carrying our sweet Randy to his final resting place are as follows: Ted Collum, Chris Spruell, JR Bishop, Billy Mayberry, Danny Gwinn, Abner Garner & David James. Honorary Pallbearers are Gene Harrod & Charlie Jones.

Chapel services by Ashby Funeral Home,108 W. Narroway in Benton, Ar. 72015, will be 11:00 a.m. on Thursday with Bro. Bradley McCool and Bro. Roy Brooks officiating.  Burial will follow at New Friendship Cemetery.

Visitation will be at Ashbys on Wednesday, 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

Online guestbook at

Debra Lynne Goodwin, 70 of Benton, passed away on May 8, 2022.  She was born on November 6, 1951 in North Little Rock to the late Oufa Lois and Ida Bell Pritchard Covert.

Debra was member of the Ten Mile Baptist Church.

She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers, Curtis Samuel Covert and Richard Leroy Covert, sisters, Mildred Ruth Covert and Linda Covert.

She is survived by her husband, Fred Goodwin, son, Stephen Rhodes, daughters, Amy (John) Boyles, Kim Rhodes, step son, Jeremy Goodwin and step daughter, Elise Goodwin, brothers, Robert, Frank and Donald Covert and best friend Carolyn Westbrook; ten grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Chapel services by Ashby Funeral Home will be 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday with Bro. Vance Nutt officiating.  Burial will follow at Old Rosemont Cemetery.

Visitation will be at Ashbys, 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

Online guestbook at

Joe Randall Finley, Sr., 62, of Bauxite, Arkansas passed away May 7, 2022.  He was born February 24, 1960 in Benton, Arkansas to the late C.J. and Lucille (Dodson) Finley. 

Joe worked many years as a welder.  He loved his grandchildren.  Joe liked to be the center of attention and was a good friend to may people. 

Preceding Joe in death are his son, Josh Finley; parents, C.L. and Lucille Finely; and sister, Pamela Thornberry.

He leaves behind four children:  Joe Randall Finley, Jr. of Little Rock, Dawson Finley of Bauxite, Arkansas, Stephine Finley of Little Rock, and tina Olvera and husband Charlie of Benton, Arkansas; grandchildren:  Joe III, Christopher, Kain, Ayden, Landen, Rena, Isabel, Liliana, Israel; sisters:  Patricia Meredith of Benton, Arkansas and Melissa Nix of Haskell, Arkansas; six nieces; one nephew; and many family members and friends.

Visitation will be held from 4:00-5:00 PM, Friday, May 13 at Smith-Benton Funeral Home, 322 N. Market Street, Benton, AR.   Online guestbook:

Bobby Lee “Bob” Ray, age 82, of Little Rock, Arkansas passed away on May 8, 2022. Bobby was born in Old Washington, Arkansas on September 9, 1939, as the “great depression” was about to end and World War II was about to begin.

His father, Herman Lee Ray, was born in Washington as well. Bobby’s great grandfather, John Houston Ray, had brought his family to Southwest Arkansas in wagons from Covington, Tennessee in 1901. The trip took 18 days. He was a farmer and homesteaded land around Dierks before renting and buying farmland in Hempstead County. His grandfather, Henry Zan Ray, farmed and trapped mink and beaver in the Ozan Creek bottom. He loved being in the woods.

Bobby’s mother, Thelma Lucille Smedley, was born in Snyder, Texas. His grandfather, David Henry Smedley, was born and raised around Murfreesboro, Pike County, Arkansas. He left to serve in World War I. Bobby’s second great-grandfather, William Robert Smedley, moved to Pike County in 1859. He
was a landowner, a surveyor for Pike County, and a tanner. He also owned and operated a hotel and tavern in Murfreesboro during and after the Civil War.

Bobby enlisted in the Arkansas National Guard, Company D, 1st Battalion, 153rd Infantry Division, on January 16th, 1956, and completed his obligation with the U.S. Army Reserve.

He graduated from Arkadelphia Senior High School in May of 1957. While there, he lettered in football; played trumpet in the band; was part of the Dramatic Club; “A” Association; F.T.A.; Homecoming Escort; and the Junior and Senior Class Executive Council.

In 1957, he moved to Andrews, Texas to work in the oil field for the summer before starting college. There he met the love of his life, Charlotte Kay Parnell, and they married on December 24, 1957 in the Means Memorial Methodist Church. Their family grew with the births of Leigh Ann, Christopher
Lee, and Mark William Ray.

While in Andrews, Bobby worked in the oil field. He was also a route salesman for Frost Bakery and had a partnership with his father-in-law, Aubrey Alfred Parnell, in the Corner Grocery Store and a Chevron Service Station. He then began his career as a life insurance salesman.

On July 4, 1962, the family transferred to Carlsbad, New Mexico with the American Founders Life Insurance Co. Bobby and his partner, Von Burba, were the first to qualify for the Million Dollar Round Table. Bobby was elected President of the Eddy County Life Underwriters Association. He was very
active in Jaycees and Kiwanas Club, serving in several offices. He was Master of Ceremonies for the Miss Carlsbad Pagent, March of Dimes Telethon, and was selected as Outstanding Young Man of the Year in 1964/1965. During this time, he received his C.L.U. (Chartered Life Underwriter) degree from the
American College of Life Underwriters.

In November 1966, Bobby accepted an offer from Pilot Life Insurance Co. and moved to Bad Kreuznach, West Germany as an agent and later a Unit Manager. In January 1970, he transferred to the home office in Greensboro, North Carolina, and in January 1971 was promoted to General Agent in Charleston,
South Carolina. In February 1973, the company transferred Bobby and his family to St. Leon, West Germany, as he was promoted to the position of “Director of European Operations.” His duties included hiring General Agents in the USA and Europe, training, and locating them in Germany, England, Spain, Scotland, and other countries. In January 1979, he was moved back to the home office as “Regional Superintendent,” accepting responsibility for Western Texas and Southern New Mexico in January 1980 for Jefferson Standard Life Ins. Co., a sister company of Pilot Life. They later merged into Jefferson-Pilot Life Insurance Company.

Having the desire to live in Europe again and with his boys grown, and his retirement plan vested, Bobby and Charlotte retired from Jefferson-Pilot and moved to Newmarket, Suffolk, England, U.K. in July 1983. As partners, (in life, love, and business) they established and operated an independent life and
casualty insurance agency doing business as “The American Insurance Center.” They established agents in offices on the larger U.S. Air Forces and Naval bases in the U.K. They were exclusive distributors of products from GEICO and agents for Sunset Life, Lafayette Life, AIG, and others. They were the first
Americans to hold an Agency Agreement with Norwich Union Insurance Company in the U.K. They sold their business in January 1992 and moved to Orlando, Florida where Mark lived.

From March of 1992 to May 1998, Bobby fulfilled a childhood dream of living on Lake Hamilton. It was a wonderful time filled with visits from children and grandchildren. There were boat rides, bar-b-ques, and sightseeing. There was also quality time to spend with his parents. It was also during this time that
Bobby formed a partnership with Don Harris, and they developed “Files Landing Lake Homes” dba Harris/Ray Inc.

Bobby’s son, Chris, and his wife, Renee, moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas and bought “Connelley Moving and Storage.” After a lot of hard work, they bought “Brandon Moving and Storage” in Little Rock. Bobby and Charlotte moved to Little Rock in January of 1998 to help out with sales within the company.

In September of 1999, they moved to “Brodie Creek” subdivision. Bobby retired for the second time in 2005.

Survivors include his wife of 64 years and 5 months, Charlotte Parnell Ray of Little Rock; son and his wife, Christopher Lee and Renee Key Ray of Benton; grandson and his wife, David Lee and Abbey Allenbaugh Ray of Benton; grandson and his wife, Justin Ryan and Jenny Swenson Ray of Benton;
granddaughter and her husband, Amanda Ray Cox and J. Shane Cox of Benton; and granddaughter and her husband, Ashley Elizabeth Wilhite and William Dylan Wilhite of Anchorage, Alaska.

Surviving great-grandchildren include: Piper Hazel Ray, Grady Swen Ray, Henry Lee Ray, Lucy Everett Ray, Walter James Ray, and soon arriving, Charlotte Mai Cox – all of Benton.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Herman Lee Ray and Thelma Lucille Smedley Ray Geurin; daughter, Leigh Ann Ray; son, Mark William Ray; brother, Billy Henry Ray; and grandson, Jason Michael Ray.

Celebration of Life Visitation will be held from 10:00-11:00 AM on Thursday, May 12, 2022, at Smith-Benton Funeral Home at 11:00 AM. Private burial to be held in Rockport Cemetery in Malvern, Arkansas.

Services entrusted to Smith-Benton Funeral Home.  Online guestbook:

Margaret Ann Johnson was welcomed to her heavenly home May 10, 2022.

She was preceded in death by: her husband of 55 years, Elvin Johnson; father, Milton Miles Porterfield; mother, Gracie Lee Johnson Porterfield; five brothers; three sisters; one half-brother; and one half-sister.

She is survived by: two sons, Bobby Johnson and David Johnson and wife, Rhonda; two grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; brother, Charles Porterfield; sister, Ruth Zuber; and a host of other family members and friends who will all miss her dearly.

Ann was born November 10, 1941 in Sparkman, Arkansas. In 1951, the family moved to Malvern (Rockport), Arkansas. She was saved and baptized at the age of 13 at Landmark Baptist Church in Malvern, Arkansas.

Ann and Elvin met at a dairy bar, dated, and eventually married on December 20, 1959. At that time, she transferred from Malvern High School to Pine Bluff High School to continue 12th grade and graduate. She worked for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company as an operator for several years.  In 1961, she had her first child, David and her second son, Bobby was born two years later in 1963.

Ann started working for Varco Pruden in 1964 as a purchasing agent and had a successful career there until her retirement. After retirement in 1997, she moved from Pine Bluff to Arkadelphia. She did volunteer work at Baptist Health Medical Center for many years and was active in the American Women’s Business Association.

Ann’s husband, Elvin died in January of 2014. But, the Lord was gracious and blessed her and the family with a new friend, Dub Grant.

Ann was an active church member and enjoyed singing in choir and serving in her local church all her life. She was a member of the Spring Creek Baptist Church in Benton.

Visitation is Friday, May 13 from 4:00 – 6:00 PM at Spring Creek Baptist Church. Service is Saturday, May 14 at 10 AM at Spring Creek Baptist Church followed by a burial at Gilchrist Cemetery in Friendship, Arkansas.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made in her honor to the American Cancer Society.

Services entrusted to Smith-Benton Funeral Home. Online guestbook: .

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