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Bernice Ballanger

Bernice “Bea” Ballanger, 74, of London, died Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008, at Jefferson Regional Memorial Center in Pine Bluff.

The daughter of the late George and Mable Stark Clark, she was a native of Scottsville, member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary and the Fraternal Order of the Eagles, maintenance purchasing agent with Con Agra for 32 years, and an organ donor for Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Association. She was preceded in death by her husband of 32 years, Wayne A. Christensen; another husband, Robert Ballanger; son-in-law, Scott Roark; five brothers, Norris Clark, Arvie Clark Sr., Floyd Clark, Eugene Clark and an infant brother; and three sisters, Rose Clark, Billie Sue McCully and Verna Mae Wells.

She is survived by two daughters, Sandra Kennamer and husband, Mike, of Russellville, and Rose (Christensen) Roark of Star City; eight grandchildren, Eddie Spencer and wife, Marilyn, of Clarksville, Jamie Spencer of Dardanelle, Jarred Kennamer of Las Vegas, Nev., Josh Henderson and wife, Gina, of Cabot, Chris Kennamer and wife, Alisha, of Austin, and Jordan Roark, Turner Roark, and Sherri Roark, all of Star City; and eight great-grandchildren, Zachary Spencer and Faith Spencer, both of Clarksville, Kaylee Spencer of Russellville, Tyler Kennamer, Riley Kennamer and Gabby Hall, all of Austin, and Gavin Henderson and Jasmine Henderson, both of Cabot.

A celebration of her life was held at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 2, at Humphrey Funeral Service Chapel with Rev. Stephen Beavers officiating. The body was cremated.

Debbie Keylon

Debbie Keylon, 50, of Lamar died Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009, in Little Rock.

She was a native of Huntington Park, Calif., daughter of the late Kelly Moon, and was preceded in death by one son, Steven Brown; and one sister, Cheryl Bell.

Survivors include her husband, Frankie Keylon; one daughter, Desiree Keylon of Lamar; mother, Earlene Sitton of Plumerville; two brothers, David Ballard of Heber Springs and Kelly Moon Jr. of Plumerville; and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 7, at Roller-Cox Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Terry Cameron officiating. Burial will be in Annie’s Chapel Cemetery.

Pallbearers will be Roy Harris, Andy Harris, Mark Harris, Johnny Keylon, Jacob Keylon, Bo Keylon and Danny Teeter.

Jerry Ray Watson Sr.

Jerry Ray Watson Sr., 68, of Hartman died Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009.

A native of Tyronza, he was a son of the late Charles Willard and Ola Mae White Watson, retired painter, member of Lamar Baptist Church, and was preceded in death by one sister, Dottie Stillwell; one brother, Charles Alan Watson; and two grandchildren.

Survivors include two daughters, Terri Chipps of Mishawaka, Ind., and Debbie Watson of Florida; three sons, Jerry Watson Jr. of Mishawaka, Ind., Ricky Watson of South Bend, Ind., and Tony Watson of Osceola, Ind.; two sisters, Yvonne Koester of Hartman and Betty Baldwin of Mishawaka, Ind.; one brother, Robert Watson of Mishawaka, Ind.; nine grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9, at Hardwicke Funeral Home Chapel.

The body was cremated.

M. E. “Gene” Johnson

M. E. “Gene” Johnson was born on January 3, 1923 in Johnson County Arkansas and died on January 3, 2009 in Round Rock, Texas.   He was a man of great integrity and honor.  From the years of service to his country in the Navy during WWII, to the many, many years of service to the Austin community in business he was always a man true to his word.  Slogans of “Service with a Smile” and “A Name You Can Trust” were the backbone of his commitment to the community.  Devotion to the love of his life, Barbara June Johnson (married 57 ½ years) and absolute love and support for his two daughters, Ady Purgason and Pam Cirkiel was the basis of his strong sense of family.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Brothers Meeks Johnson and Marlon Johnson and his loving parents Joe Johnson and Clara Johnson.  He is survived by an entire legacy of family; Adrienne & Raymon Purgason, Pamela & Martin Cirkiel, four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.  Grandsons and families; Lee & Kathy Kinser with Loren & Amber, Mike & Candace Kinser with Morgan, Madison, Micah & Makenna, Shawn & Bria Cirkiel with Noah & Dylan. Granddaughter, Sarah Cirkiel, Brother, Gaylon Johnson and wife Jo Johnson, Sister, Edna Hickey and several nieces and nephews.

During WWII Gene was Chief ACMM and first stationed on the WASP.  After the ship was hit by a kamikaze  he was put aboard the USS Intrepid, out in the bay of Sapan, Ulithi, Yap and then Guam.  He was on the Intrepid when the peace treaty was signed in Tokyo Bay.

In 1946 he opened M. E. “Gene” Johnson service station & garage at 4801 Airport Blvd. when it only was a two lane road.  Next he started Airport Auto Supply and then began a U-Haul business.  While in the U-Haul business for 20 years he was the top dealer for Austin & San Antonio.  He was very active in the Garage Association and also active in the wholesale parts association.  During this time he was often acknowledged for being the best in whatever he did.   M. E. “Gene” Johnson has always been a winner.  With a positive attitude in life he always treated everyone equally, even at a time in history when everyone else did not believe in that philosophy. He has been instrumental in supporting the youth of Austin by giving work, positive attitudes and being a respectful, responsible role model as well as sponsoring little league teams for over 50 years.  In the late 1970’s he became a licensed Realtor.  In 1983 Gene inspired both of his daughters to become Realtors.  They have followed his footsteps and continue to work in the business of M. E. “Gene” Johnson Realtors, Inc.  Over time the automotive businesses were sold and he concentrated on his real estate endeavors and playing dominoes.  He always continued to be an example to everyone he met of what a good, honest, honorable person anyone could become.

Mr. Johnson was a member of the Masonic Hill City Lodge 456 for 49 years.  He was past Master as well as an Endowed member and Life member of Hill City Lodge and Endowed member of Round Rock Lodge 227 and recipient of the Golden Trowel award from both.  He was an Endowed member of the Scottish Rite, member of the York Rite and member of Ben Hur Shrine.  He was a lifetime member of the American Legion and the VFW. 

Visitation will be Monday, January 5, 2009 from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. at Beck Funeral Home, 15709 N FM 620. Funeral services will be held at the First Baptist Church of Round Rock, 306 Round Rock Avenue on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. followed by graveside services at Cook Walden Cemeteries at 14501 N IH 35.

A reception will be held at the M. E. “Gene” Johnson Realtors, Inc. office building at 1901 E. Palm Valley Blvd. in Round Rock after the interment.  Pallbearers provided by the Past Masters of Hill City Masonic Lodge 456.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the charity of your choice.

–Paid Obituary–

Maci Nicole Birdsong

Maci Nicole Birdsong, infant daughter of Michael and Laura (Higby) Birdsong of Cainsville, Mo., was born and died on Monday, Dec. 29, 2008, at Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph, Mo. She weighed 4 lbs. 5 ozs.

Other survivors include one brother, Michael Cole Birdsong of the home; paternal grandparents, Richard and Norma Birdsong of Marceline, Mo.; maternal grandparents, Susan Graves and husband, Ralph, of Clarksville and  Ray Higby and wife, Kari, of Lamar; great-grandparents, Lee Birdsong of Moberly, Mo., and Edward Parsons and Gwenith Holman, both of Lamar; and numerous aunts and uncles.

A memorial service was held Wednesday, Dec. 31, at Cainsville Assembly of God Church followed by burial at Hebron Cemetery in Caseyville, Mo.

Michael E. Martin

Michael Eugene Martin, 45, of Clarksville died Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009, at his home.

He was a native of Reno, Nev., son of the late Beauford and Mary Stock Martin, and graduate of Reno (Nevada) High School.

Survivors include his wife, Marla Ricketts Martin; one daughter, Deidre Martin of Clarksville; one sister, Patricia Rayborun of Modesto, Calif.; two brothers, Kenneth Daniel of Reno, Nev., and Robert Daniel of Atkins; and mother-in-law, Leona Ricketts of Clarksville.

A memorial service was held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 6, at Hardwicke Funeral Home Chapel with Todd Rabalais officiating.

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