Robert Coleman Wise
Robert Coleman Wise, of Clarksville,
Arkansas, was born August 14, 1938, at home in Peak's Mill, near
Frankfort, Kentucky. He died January 18, 2008, in Little Rock,
Arkansas, after a lengthy battle with leukemia. Growing up in rural
Kentucky, he graduated midterm 1957 from Peak's Mill High School and
immediately enlisted in the United States Air Force.
Soon after enlistment, he served
with the Air Force Drill Team in Washington, D.C., escorting Senator
and Mrs. Estes Kefauver at the Inauguration festivities for President
Dwight D. Eisenhower, as well as honoring fallen heroes in funerals at
Arlington National Cemetery. He later cross-trained into Aircraft Fuel
Systems and Mechanics, serving in Ohio, Florida, Alaska, Oklahoma and
Arkansas. His overseas assignments included Greenland, Nova Scotia,
and, during the Vietnam era, Thailand, the Philippine Islands, and
Japan. He earned the Air Force Commendation medal and Oak Leaf
Clusters. He retired as a Master Sergeant in 1977, serving 21 years, 6
mo, and 21 days.
He "retired" to Johnson County,
Arkansas, raising registered Beefmaster cattle at Ludwig, chickens at
Harmony, repeatedly earning Top Producer honors for his efforts. He
owned Good Guys Auto Parts, was parts and station manager for Lazy
Earl's Truck Plaza, and owned & operated Film Transit/Beaver
Express delivery, serving Conway, Pope, Yell, Johnson and Franklin
counties. His favorite retirement occupation was driving the school bus
in town and rural areas, often covering 72 miles a day on his routes.
He greatly enjoyed kick-starting the day with his school kids, his
friends, and fellow school bus drivers, often stating "if there was no
rumor going, we could start one." He drove a school bus on various
routes for 28 years for the Clarksville School District, retiring
several times to farm, but finally, reluctantly and permanently,
retiring in May 2007.
He was preceded in death by his
mother and father, Josie and Harry James Wise; sister, Anna Mae Martin;
grandparents, Lucy and Neal Taylor and Lizzie and Graham Wise, all of
Peak's Mill, Kentucky; and infant son, Francis James Wise.
He is survived by his wife of 42
years, Franlee Jo Hamilton Wise, of Clarksville; his children, Robert
Graham Wise, Sr. and wife, Nicki, of Statesville, North Carolina; Robin
Lee Milligan and husband, Patrick, of Mountain Home, Idaho; and David
Neal Wise and wife, Catherine, of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia;
grandchildren, Ashly Druew and Robert Graham (Gray) Wise, Jr. of
Salisbury, North Carolina; and Allison Aron and Ida Lee Lewallen, of
Mountain Home, Idaho; father-in-law, Francis Hamilton of Clarksville;
brothers-in-law, Bill Martin, of Frankfort, Kentucky, and David
Hamilton of Sale Creek, Tennessee; nephew, Steven Martin, and nieces,
Becky Gill and Lois Roberts of Frankfort, Kentucky, and Jamie Hamilton
and husband, Will Perry, of Sale Creek, Tennessee.
Pallbearers will be Dusty Talley,
Jon Talley, Scott Talley, Doug Hunter, Danny Nichols, Ronnie Zachary,
Mike Hanshew, and Don Garrett. Honorary pallbearers will be the Bus
Drivers for Clarksville Schools.
Bob Wise will be most remembered for
his strong, independent, hard-working spirit, and unabashed honesty. He
leaves a legacy of family and friends, tied together by more than DNA.
He also leaves four generations of Johnson County children, whom he
safely and caringly transported to adulthood.
The Memorial Service will be held
Wednesday, January 23, 2008, at 10 am at Grace Lutheran Church, 406
Brown Street in Clarksville, Arkansas. Visitation will be Tuesday
evening, January 22, 2008, 6-8 pm at Hardwicke Funeral Home in
Clarksville, Arkansas. Interment with full military honors at Harmony
Cemetery on Lone Pine Road, Clarksville, Arkansas.
Memorials may be sent to Grace
Lutheran Church Building fund or Heifer Project International, 1 World
Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72202.