MONTICELLO — Mr. Frank Carson Jr., 91, of Monticello, died September 28, 2012 at Drew Memorial Hospital. He was born in Monticello on January 21, 1921 to the late Margaret Dunham Carson and Frank Carson.
Better known by generations of Drew Countians as Buddy, he was a Monticello merchant for many years, operating Carson’s Grocery with his brothers Jack and Billy, until it closed in 1995, ending a family-owned tradition with roots tracing back to the late 1800’s. An active participant in the life of his community, Buddy served on the Monticello School Board for 19 years; on the Union Bank & Trust Company’s Board of Directors for 40 years; and as a long-time member, including terms as President, of the Monticello Rotary Club, the Monticello-Drew County Chamber of Commerce, and the Monticello Country Club. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church where he served on a variety of committees supporting the church’s operations and the activities.
He attended Arkansas A&M College (now UAM) where he was a member of the notorious Wandering Weevils football team, playing football games against college teams around the country featuring antics such as cartwheels across the field and pedaling a bicycle into the middle of a play. He was honored by UAM in 2010 with the Continuing the Connection Award, and in 2011 with the Spirit Award by the UAM Sports Hall of Fame.
Buddy was a veteran of World War II, serving as a Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps. He enlisted in 1942, having already learned to fly at age 16 at the Monticello Air Field. The following year, he was called to the Army’s flight training program and in 1944 he graduated from flight school as a B-17 pilot. He and his crew were assigned to the 401st Bomb Group in Deenethorpe, England where they flew 35 missions over Germany with the 8th Air Force. He received five Battle Stars, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and an Air Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters.
Survivors include his daughter, Kay Carson and her husband Paul McAbee of West Hartford, Connecticut; his daughter-in-law, Marsha Carson of Conway; two brothers, Jack and Billy Carson of Monticello; four grandchildren, Frank (Kris) Carson IV and his wife Rachel of Sydney, Australia, Savannah Carson and Scarlett Carson of Conway, and Anna Carson of New Orleans, La.; and two great-granddaughters, Fiona Carson and Chloe Carson. He was predeceased by his wife, Eloise Groves Carson, his son, Frank (Kit) Carson III, and his sister, Athalie Carson Gabbie.
A memorial service in celebration of Buddy’s life will be held on Friday, October 12 at 11 am at First United Methodist Church, Monticello. There will be a visitation in the church family life center immediately following the service. Arrangements by Stephenson-Dearman Funeral Home. Online guestbook www.stephensondearman.com.
Memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church Building Fund, 317 Main Street, Monticello, AR 71655; University of Arkansas-Monticello Office of Advancement, PO Box 3520, Monticello, AR 71656; or Drew Memorial Hospital, 778 Scogin Drive, Monticello, AR 71655.