The Arkansas Leader


 Vestal Johnson 

Vestal Royce Johnson, 84, was born to Bessie Johnson on Aug. 22, 1927. He went to be with the Lord on Jan. 21. 

He attended Jacksonville High School from 1933 to 1945. Upon his 18th birthday he was drafted to the Army, where he served at Ft. Lee and Ft. Eustis, Va. Vestal went to work for Roach Paper Company in December 1947 through January 1986. He then went to work for Butler Paper Company for 10 years. Vestal retired in 1996. He was a Master Mason for over 50 years at Jacinto Masonic Lodge 216 in Jacksonville. 

Vestal married Freda Fortson in 1948, and they lived in Sherwood for 34 years. He was a member of the Sherwood Volunteer Fire Department for 27 years, retiring as captain. He helped organize and volunteered as a coach for the Sylvan Hills- Sherwood Optimist Baseball Program. They moved to the Bayou Meto area in 1990, where he was an active part of his community by serving on the North Pulaski Water Association board of directors. Vestal served on the Bayou Meto Cemetery Association as Chairman of the Board. Vestal made many special friends while catering with Royal Foods for many years. He was a faithful member of “The Bayou Meto Boys”, a group of men who had grown up in the Bayou Meto area that met for breakfast on a weekly basis. Vestal thoroughly enjoyed their time together. Vestal loved to hunt rabbits and deer with his beagles he would chase. He was a member of the Manning Hunting Club for 43 years. 

Vestal loved to tell a good story and make everyone laugh. In everything he was associated with he made lasting friendships. Vestal had lots of pride in what he did, how he looked, his home and what he had accomplished in life. But his greatest pride was in his family. He was a great dad, even better grandpa, and the best great-grandpa. 

As a child Vestal attended Ebenezer Cumberland Presbyterian Church. After marriage he attended Highway Baptist Church in North Little Rock where he was the R.A. Royal-Ambassador leader and boys assistant song leader. He helped start Stinson General Baptist Church in Sherwood. After moving, he attended Bayou Meto Baptist Church. 

Vestal was preceded in death by his mother, Bessie Garvin; his wife, Freda Fortson Johnson; and a son Ronald Dale Johnson. 

He is survived by his son, Jerry (MaryAnn) Johnson; a daughter, Peggy (Joe) Holladay; his grandchildren, Matthew (Ricki) Johnson, Michael Johnson, Jennifer Holladay and Kimberly White; great-grandchildren, Jordyn Johnson, Marley Jo White, Jenna Johnson; special friend Dora Glass; and many cousins and friends. 

The family would like to express their heartfelt appreciation for the genuine loving care of their family to Cabot Health and Rehab and Arkansas Hospice. 

Visitation will be at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28 at Bayou Meto Baptist Church, 26200 Hwy. 107 in Jacksonville. A funeral service will follow at 1:30 p.m. 

Arrangements are by A Natural State Funeral Service. 2620 W. Main St. in Jacksonville, 501-982-3400. 

Sign the online guestbook at 

Dorothy Milam 

Dorothy I. Milam, 89, of Ward passed away on Jan. 22. 

She was born Aug. 3, 1932, in England to the late Robert and Lillie Mae (Jackson) Reaves. 

In addition to her parents, Dorothy was preceded in death by her son, Jimmy Milam; a daughter-in-law, Amelia Milam; as well as seven brothers and three sisters. 

Those left to cherish Dorothy’s memory include her husband, James Milam; children, Alvin (Melissa) and Calvin “Gopher” Milam; grandchildren, Sarah Hutchinson, Barry Milam, Darris Milam, Hank Milam, Emily Arnold and Summer Blake; siblings, Alvin (Florence) Reaves and Rachel Proctor; and a host of beloved great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. 

The family would also like to express their deepest gratitude to very special friends, Jerri and Danny Hardcastle. 

Funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 29 at Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. Dorothy will be laid to rest at 16th Section Cemetery immediately following the service. 

Arrangements are by Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home, 501-843-5816. 

Carl E. Hudson 

Master Sgt. Carl E. Hudson, 84, died peacefully at his home in North Little Rock on Jan. 9. 

Visitation will be held from 5 until 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27 at Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home. 

The funeral service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 28 at Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home. 

A graveside ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28 at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery at 1501 W. Maryland Ave. in North Little Rock, 501- 683-2259. 

Mary Sexton 

Mary Sexton, 89, of Ward passed away on Jan. 23. 

Visitation will be at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 31 with service following at 11 a.m. at Sixteenth Section Cemetery in Austin. 

Arrangements are by A Natural State Funeral Service in Jacksonville, 501-982- 3400. 

Sign the online guestbook at 

Betty Lee Horness 

Betty Lee Horness, 90, of Ward passed away Jan. 20 at home in the presence of her loving family. 

She was born Jan. 19, 1932, in Austin to the late William (Bill) Sr. and Dona E. Reeves. 

Betty was a lifelong member of Old Austin Methodist Church and active in the United Methodist Women’s Group. She retired after more than 30 years working for the Lonoke County Assessor’s Office. Betty loved spending time with her family and friends, sharing her Christmas light displays, growing lovely flowers, cooking, reading and doing genealogy research. 

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Harold Horness, and a brother, William (Bill) Reeves Jr. 

The greatest joys in her life were her family and friends. 

Left to cherish her memory are her two daughters, Leisa Horness and Lori (Peter) Lombardi, all of Ward; a nephew, Gary (Rita) Reeves; a great-nephew, Clay Reeves; a great-niece, Casey Dailey; and dear life-long friend, Fran Eads. 

Betty was loved by so many people for her loving heart, witty sense of humor and kindness to others and animals. She is already missed by all who knew and loved her. 

Funeral services and visitation were held Jan. 24 at Old Austin United Methodist Church with Rev. Steve Carr officiating. Interment will follow at Old Austin Cemetery. Arrangements were by Thomas Funeral Service, 501- 941-7888. 

Lessie Scroggins 

Lessie Carol Scroggins, 74, of Sherwood and formerly of Jacksonville died in hospice care at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Conway on Jan. 14. 

She was born April 8, 1947, in Jonesboro to Leslie Howard “Doc” Davis and Maxine Carter Davis. 

She was preceded in death by her father and her ex-husband and father of her children, Albert Archie Scroggins. 

Lessie was a longtime employee of Rebsamen Hospital in Jacksonville in the 1980s and 90s working side by side with her mother and best friend in the kitchen. Lessie and Maxine resided together since 2001 until her death. Lessie and Maxine were affectionately known to their family and close friends as “the Mothers.” 

Lessie’s guilty pleasure was a Hersey’s chocolate bar and a Dr. Pepper. All who shared Lessie’s life knew her passion for her family and her utter delight in the presence of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Lessie will always be remembered for her sense of humor, big smile, big heart and those big hugs. She was a thoughtful loving and very forgiving of others. Lessie was a confessing Christian and was prepared for Jesus Christ, her redeemer, upon passing from this earth. 

Survivors include her mother, Maxine Carter Davis; children, Leslie Dean Scroggins (Cheryl) and Caroline Michele Scroggins; grandchildren, Stephanie Ann Archdeacon (Michael), Kara Elizabeth Patterson (Stone) and Gage Swearengin; and great-grandchildren, Buck Matthew Patterson and Maverick Chase Dean Archdeacon; step great-grandchildren Mark Archdeacon, Elliot Archdeacon, Dominic Archdeacon and Damien Archdeacon; a sister, Joy Nell Chronister; a niece, Ashley Chronister; and nephews, Joshua Chronister and Jordan Chronsiter. 

Visitation and funeral were held Jan. 22 at the Griffin Leggett Rest Hills Funeral Home. Burial was in Rest Hills Memorial Park in North Little Rock.

Earnest Norman 

Earnest Lee Norman, 84, of Cabot passed away on Jan. 15. 

He was born Aug. 5, 1937, at Romance. 

Visitation will be held at 6 till 8 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 23 at Smith Westbrook Funeral Home. Funeral services will be Jan. 24 at Smith Westbrook Funeral Home. Visit www. to view the registry. 

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