John Lile III
John Gardner Lile, III, was born on April 3, 1938, in Little Rock, Arkansas. He died Tuesday March 30, 2020 just short of his 82nd birthday, after a long illness. He is predeceased by his parents, Ray Louise Wilson Lile and John Gardner Lile Jr.
John graduated from Little Rock Central High School (1955), from Hendrix College (B.A. in 1959), and from Duke University (LL.B. in 1962). He made lifelong friends during his four years at Hendrix and enjoyed telling people that he became a better student after he met Pat McGill of Hope in September of his second year, her first.
John and Pat married August 25, 1959. Their honeymoon was the drive to Duke Law School in Durham, N.C. where they made many special friends over those 3 happy years. The one sorrowful time was when their firstborn child, a baby boy, would live only 3 days due to a then-irreversible heart defect.
When determining where to practice law he was powerfully influenced by attorney Louis Ramsay and announced to Pat they were moving to Pine Bluff upon graduation. He accepted a position with the Coleman, Gantt, Ramsay, and Cox Law Firm and practiced law for 28 years in Pine Bluff, 26 of them as a partner with the Ramsay, Cox, Lile, Bridgforth, Gilbert, Harrelson & Starling Law Firm. In 1988 he joined Wright, Lindsey, and Jennings Law Firm in Little Rock. John was named a partner in the WLJ Firm January 1, 1990. He became “of Counsel” January 1, 2011; continuing to work part-time until fully retiring in March of 2015. He loved practicing law with his colleagues and highly valued his partners and associates at both firms over the years.
He served as Chair of the Young Lawyers Section of the Arkansas Bar Association 1971-72, as Jefferson County Bar Association President in l973, and on several other committees over 5 decades. He especially appreciated serving on the Arkansas Bar Law School Committee for several years. He chaired the Arkansas Bar Committee on Professional Ethics which prepared the current Rules of Professional Conduct.
He was a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers for decades, as well as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Arkansas Bar Foundation. His professional honors include: Chambers USA 2004-2012, The Best Lawyers in America from 19952014, and the Mid-South Super Lawyers from 2006-2014.
John, though modest of demeanor, loved being a trial lawyer and making his client’s case in court before a judge and/or jury. He specialized in business and commercial litigation, defending railroad and insurance companies among others, as well as in labor and employment matters. Without doubt he most valued being named in July of 1983 as a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of the premier legal associations in America. Membership in the College cannot exceed one percent of the total lawyer population of any state or province.
John valued serving on the board of the Southeast Arkansas Mental Health Center in Pine Bluff from 1964 till 1990 with his dear friend and comrade, Pat Brown. He was also on the board of the Southeast Arkansas Arts Center. In Little Rock, he cherished his service for several years on the Arkansas Hospice Foundation board. He appreciated this fine program which served him well in his home the last six months of his life.
Although John loved practicing law, he most treasured his wife, Pat; and children, Gar, Gretchen, Jennifer, and Sue; and his home. John had many interests and hobbies especially in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, particularly duck and quail hunting, bird dogs, art, and woodworking. Hobbies he shared with Pat included cooking, traveling, and “wine time.” He particularly enjoyed reading the daily newspaper, a variety of magazines and books.
John was also active in church. He grew up as a Presbyterian and served as an Elder in First Presbyterian Church, Pine Bluff. In Little Rock they joined First United Methodist Church in 1991. The pastors provided great comfort during the season of esophageal cancer in 1999 and provided comfort in his most recent illnesses as well.
Survivors are his wife of 60 years, Pat McGill Lile, son John Gardner “Gar” Lile IV (wife Teresa) of Benton; daughter Gretchen Bachman (husband David) of Little Rock; Jennifer Owens (husband Patrick) of Guys, Tennessee; and Sue Hendricks (Todd) of Conway. Grandchildren are John “Gardner” Lile V (wife Leah), Garrett Lile (wife Kathleen) all of Little Rock; and Grace Ann Lile of Fort Worth, Texas. Grandsons Spencer and Will Owens of Guys, TN. And grandchildren Ty Hendricks (wife Brenda) and great granddaughter Cora, all of Conway; and Tarra Hendricks Castleberry (Patrick) of Bryant. John is survived by his sister Sue Lile Inman (husband Sam) of Greenville, SC. He is also survived by many cousins, nieces, and nephews who are loved dearly. He was predeceased by his younger sister, Gini Lile Roland, and her husband, Frank Roland.
A memorial service will be held when activities return to some level of normalcy in our city and state. Should anyone wish to make a charitable donation in his memory, we suggest First United Methodist Church (723 Center Street, Little Rock, AR 72201), Arkansas Hospice Foundation (14 Parkstone Circle, North Little Rock, AR 72116), or Arkansas Community Foundation - John Lile Memorial Fund (5 Allied Drive, Suite #51110, Building 5, 11th Floor, Little Rock, AR 72202). Online guestbook: www.rollerfuneralhomes.com/chenal .
Mary Lois Cummings, 94, of Pine Bluff, passed away on Monday, April 6, 2020. She was born July 28, 1925, in Glendale, a daughter of the late Charley and Hattie Spears. She was also preceded in death by her husband, Nickie Cummings, who was the love of her life; their only daughter whom they loved very much, Carolyn Cummings; two sisters, Lillie Haynes and Lela Doss; and three brothers, C.W. Spears, Holland Spears, and Edward Spears.
She leaves behind two wonderful granddaughters, Tammy Harrison and husband, Henry, of Pine Bluff, and Cathy Holcomb and husband, Thomas, of Ft. Worth, TX; a great-grandson, Brittin Harrison of Ft. Worth; a sister, Gladys Ratliff of Pine Bluff; a brother, Albert Spears of Garland, TX; and several nieces and nephews, especially Bonnie Gehring, who helped her out in any way she could.
Lois was a member of Watson Chapel Baptist Church, and loved working in her home or yard.
A graveside service for the family will be held at 2:00 P.M. Monday, April 13, 2020, at Memorial Park Cemetery with the Rev. Todd Howard officiating. Burial will be under the direction of Fuller Hale-South Funeral Services.
The graveside service will be live streamed at www.fullerhalesouth.com for those who wish to share in this time with the family but are unable to due to current circumstances.
Mrs. Ruby Thorns Pruitt was born June 10, 1920 to the late Lanie and Lee Thorns in Nevada County, Arkansas. She was preceded in death by her husband, Leo Pruitt Sr., four sisters and five brothers.
She is survived by her children, Rhonda Pruitt, Patricia (Charles) Stewart, Rose Tisdale, and Leo Pruitt, Jr. Graveside services will be Wednesday, April 15, 2020 at Graceland Cemetery. Services entrusted to the P.K. Miller Mortuary.
Julia Christian, 82, of Pine Bluff passed away Thursday, April 9, 2020 at Jefferson Regional Medical Center. Julia was born November 5, 1937 in Milo, AR to the late Crawford and Evora Miller Foster. Mrs. Christian confessed her belief in Christ at a very early age. She was a 1958 graduate of Drew High. Soon after school she married her late husband, Willie Christian Sr., with whom she traveled the world while he was in the military. Through her travels she became fluent speaking German. Julia was a caregiver and worked most of her life as a home health provider. Most recently she attended St. James United Methodist Church in Pine Bluff.
Also preceding in death are 3 brothers, Edward Foster, Ivory Foster, and Jerry Foster, two sisters, Mary Foster, and Deborah Foster.
Survivors include three brothers; Melvin Foster (Mary) of Monticello, Troy Foster (Rose) of Monticello, and Larry Foster of Little Rock, three sisters; Rosetta Foster of Pine Bluff, Classie Foster (Clairence) of Pine Bluff, and Barbara Richardson (Clint) of McGehee, five sons; Willie Christian Jr. (Benita) of Pine Bluff, Wayne Christian of Fayetteville, Rodney Christian of Fayetteville, Darrell Christian of Conway, and Andre Christian (Ruthie) of Conway, two daughters; Sharon Christian of Pine Bluff, and Cynthia Christian-Henderson (Earl) of Pine Bluff, , many grandchildren and great grandchildren, special family friend, Evelyn Ward, a special cousin and phone buddy, Mary Merle, a host of nieces and nephews, and extended family.
The Family will hold a memorial service at a later date. Arrangements by Roselawn Funeral Service and Crematory of Pine Bluff. Online obit at www.griffinfuneralservice.net
Lee G. Okey
Lee G. Okey of Pine Bluff passed April 9, 2020. Arrangements later by Henson-Holcomb Mortuary.
Emma Jean Williams
Mrs. Emma Jean Williams ,83, of Crossett, Arkansas passed away Tuesday, April 7, 2020. A graveside service will be held Tuesday, April 13, 2020, at Forrest Lawn Cemetery in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, by Pastor Roy Thomas. Services are entrusted to Brown Funeral Home of Pine Bluff, AR. www.brownfuneralhomeandmortuary.com.