Rita Joyce Lawrence, 68, passed away on July 5, 2019 in her family home in Pine Bluff.

Rita was preceded in death by her parents Frankie Walker (mother), Willie Wilborn (father) and James Walker (step-father) as well as her eldest daughter Deketra Lawrence.

Rita is survived by her husband Charles A. Lawrence and children Camariel J. Lawrence, Cherryn E. Lawrence-Banks, Charles A. Lawrence II and Chad A. Lawrence; grandchildren Ashton Lawrence, Chyra Lawrence, Kourtney Parker, Xavier Banks, Alexandra Lawrence, and Samuel Banks; as well as great-grandbabies Aedyn Lawrence and Kade Parker.

Rita was Big Sister to Faye Hartfield (John A.), Herman Walker (Shirley), Ray Walker, Patrice Gibson (Michael), Felicia Cobb and Khrista Lawrence.

She loved and was loved by a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

The memorial service for Rita Joyce Lawrence will be held at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 4015 S Camden Rd, Pine Bluff, AR on Saturday, July 20th at 1pm.

Thank you for your loving support and prayers at this difficult time.

Barbara Joseph

Barbara Ann Pfeffer Joseph, age 85, died Wednesday, July 10, 2019.

Born in Kilgore, TX on December 6, 1933, she was the only child of the late Edward Wolfe Pfeffer and Sara Rutstein Pfeffer. A 1951 graduate of Pine Bluff High School, she also graduated from Gulf Park College for Women and later attended the University of Alabama.

Barbara was an active member of the Pine Bluff community for many years. She was a member of Temple Anshe Emeth and the Junior League (formerly the Junior Auxiliary).

She married Simon Joseph on June 12, 1954 and he predeceased her on March 2, 2012.

Survivors include her children, Mike Joseph (Gina) of San Antonio, TX and Cathy Strauss (Bill) of Lebanon, TN; three grandchildren, Mathew Joseph (Lee’ah), Jeremy Joseph, and Benjamin Joseph; and three great-grandchildren, Caleb Joseph, Carter Joseph, and Cohen Joseph.

Barbara’s request was that there be no services. However, memorials may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice.

Arrangements were by Ralph Robinson & Son Funeral Directors. For online condolences, please visit RalphRobinsonandSon.com

Dorothy Gardner

Dorothy “Dot” Lorraine Gardner of Jonesboro, Arkansas, went to be with her beloved Lord on July 9, 2019, after a short but mighty battle. She is survived by one sister, Francis Fredrickson (Richard); three daughters, Julia Gardner Bray of Lee’s Summit, MO, Janie Gardner Cunningham (Thomas) of Beebe, AR, and Joan Gardner Hannah (Ron) of Jonesboro, AR; four grandchildren, Alison Bray St. John (Jeff), Arron Gardner Hannah, Laura Scott Rakes (Sam), and Lacey Elizabeth Cunningham; and four great-grandchildren, Cole Hannah, Dexter Rakes, Wyatt Hannah, and Charli Hannah. She is preceded in death by her husband, Sylvester Eugene Gardner; her father, George Francis Hagman; and her mother, Janie Belle Shade (Ray).

Dorothy’s story begins in Galveston, Texas, where she was born on December 11, 1929. Likely, the world didn’t know what it had in store for the next 89 years while she ventured around Texas and Arkansas.

Dorothy’s father played guitar and her mother played mandolin in a band, and Dorothy was the highlight of their live shows. At 4 years old, Dot would get on stage during band breaks to dance and sing for pennies. At 9, she won the local county fair talent show, further developing that stage presence she’d so carefully honed earlier in her young life.

About this time, her family moved to Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where Dorothy sang in the acapella choir in high school. But Dorothy was not all play and no work. She worked hard throughout her life. She was a telephone operator and a secretary for the International Paper Company both at Pine Bluff. In 1969, she moved to Jonesboro, Arkansas, and was secretary for Ed Stallings Insurance. Finally, she was owner of The Mailroom, also in Jonesboro. Many knew Dot well did not know her as a singular person; she was half of one whole. When she was 18, she married Sylvester Eugene “Gene” Gardner, who was the other half to her whole. They were married for almost 50 years before Gene tragically passed away in 1998. Dorothyand Gene’s family take great comfort in knowing they are together again with the Heavenly Father.

Dot’s story would not be complete without a brief but heartfelt mention of her love for all things holy. Her name itself means “gift of God”. She studied the Bible fervently and attended Calvary Chapel of Jonesboro for many, many years. She led others in their search for understanding as a faithful member of many Bible studies. Those who attend her church (and those who don’t) were the focus of her prayers as she was an avid prayer warrior, making list upon list of souls who needed prayer. Her prayers were, no doubt, heard.

Visitation will be Sunday, July 14, 2019 from 1-2 PM with service starting 2 at Calvary Chapel of Jonesboro with John Lawrence officiating. Burial will follow at Jonesboro Memorial Park Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Flo and Phil Jones Hospice House, the Jonesboro Church Health Center, the First Baptist Church Care Center, or Calvary Chapel of Jonesboro.

Honored to serve as pallbearers are: Ron Hannah, Aaron Hannah, T.C. Cunningham, Sam Rakes, Bryan Waldron and Cole Hannah.

To register online, go to www.emersonfuneralhome.com

Steven Ratliff

Steven Trent Ratliff, who fought a determined and valiant battle against cancer for two years, surrounded by family, passed peacefully to his Heavenly home on July 10, 2019.

Steve was born June 8, 1956 to W.E. and Jean Nicolas Ratliff in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He graduated from Pine Bluff High School in 1974. Following graduation he went to work for Brown & Root Construction Company working on projects in Arkansas and Louisiana. In 1985 Steve began a remarkable career spanning 33 years with Killian Construction Company of Springfield, Missouri. He started as Expediter and Warehouse/Equipment Manager and grew as a highly valued member of the Killian team retiring in September 2018 as Safety Director. In this role he was passionate about personal safety, job safety, and the company’s best interest. He was a dedicated and loyal employee with advanced technical skills which led to multiple honors. He was a participant in the Safety Training and Evaluation Process Program sponsored by the Associated Builders and Contractors. He received the Gold and Platinum Level Awards in 1998-2002. In recognition of his sustained performance, in 2001, the Associated Builders and Contractors presented Killian with their National Safety Excellence Award for Merit in their safety performance programs. Steve was highly respected by his Killian associates and throughout the industry. He meant so much to so many people during his career. He was a loving husband and father, a dedicated fisherman, and a lifelong fan of the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Steve was a Christian having professed his faith in Jesus Christ at an early age. He was a member of the Baptist Church.

Steve is survived by his wife, Debra Meers Ratliff; sons, Joshua Ratliff and wife Kristin of Fordland, Missouri, and J.R. Nix and wife Montana of Tampa, Florida; and daughter, Codee Jean Mudd and husband Austin of Springfield; seven grandchildren and one great grandchild, who lovingly called him “Big Daddy”; sister, Donna Kaye Cotner of Springfield; nephews, Donald Day, Jr. and Ronald Day of Springfield, and Shayne Cotner of Los Angeles, California; four sisters-in-law and one brother-in-law; one great niece, Winter, and one great nephew, Luke. Steve will be greatly missed by his family and his many friends and associates who were fortunate to enjoy his friendship and outgoing personality.

Steve was preceded in death by his parents W.E. and Jean Ratliff; sister, Sandra Day; and a baby brother, Bill Ratliff.

Celebration of Life service will be conducted at a later date. Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association. Online condolences may be left at gormanscharpf.com.

Julia Miles

Mrs. Julia Bernita Miles 86, of Pine Bluff, Arkansas passed Tuesday, July 9, 2019. She was born in Pine Bluff to the late Silas Jenkins and Elizabeth (Jackson) Jenkins. Her husband, Eugene Miles, Sr. preceded her in death.

Her memories will be cherished by three sons, Anthony Nelson of Charlotte, North Carolina; Eugene Miles, II and Timothy Nelson both of Omaha, Nebraska; four daughters, Margaret Cohens-Adair of Townsend, Delaware; Gwen Wright, Sharon Hunter and Regina Nelson-Johnson all of Hot Springs, AR; 21 grandchildren; 39 great grandchildren; and 1 great-great grandchild.

Funeral service will be held 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 16, 2019, at Brown Funeral Home Pine Bluff, AR by Rev. Milton Jenkins. Burial will be in Graceland Cemetery by Brown Funeral Home. Visitation/Family Hour Monday 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Brown Funeral Home Pine Bluff. www.brownfunneralhome.com