PANSY — Mr. Joe Ralph Thompson of the Pansy Community died Sunday, May 12, 2013.
Mr. Thompson was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Lila Thompson; and his wife of 63 years, Betty Jo Spakes Thompson.
He was a member of Prosperity United Methodist Church at Pansy, Ark.
Joe Ralph had a diverse career. At a young age he was a cattleman. He built custom homes, churches, and commercial buildings throughout Arkansas. For those who were fortunate enough to have one of his homes they were known to say that Joe Ralph Thompson did not build houses - he built homes for families to pass on to the next generation.
Always a lover of fast cars, he took his standards of demands into the auto drag racing world where he raced three hemi cars to numerous victories and national championships.
He took his passion for building and racing into the corporate board rooms of the C & L Electrical Cooperative having served on the board since 1969. He has also served as a director of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc., Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation and Electric Research and Manufacturing Cooperative, Inc. He helped created a strong financial Cooperative for the rural people of Arkansas. He was an outspoken supporter of Rural Electric Cooperatives whether it was in his county, on the hill in Little Rock or our Nation’s Capital. He spoke before sessions of Congress about the needs of Rural Electric Cooperative and was instrumental in getting grants and funding to accomplish growth for the future electrical needs of Arkansas. He worked for the needs of the people in his community.
Mr. Thompson was a tree farmer and established a wonderful natural area for his family to enjoy.
He had a passion to teach and help those who wanted to learn. He helped numerous men who had taken wrong turns in life to learn a trade to support themselves and their families. He retired from Riverside Vocational Technical School as an instructor in 1969.
Survivors include his wife, Helen Morrison Thompson of Pansy; sister, Janelle Thomason of Pine Bluff; son, Ronnie Joe Thompson of Malvern; daughter, Robbie McKinney (Sewell) of Memphis, Tenn.; grandson, Joe Shannon Thompson (April) of Goodlettsville, Tenn.; great-granddaughter, Juliette Elizabeth Thompson of Goodlettsville; nephew, Rodney Allen Thomason of Little Rock; special friend, Nancy Jo Smith of Little Rock and niece, Connie Lynn Toland (Ed) of North Little Rock; sister-in-law, Odell Spakes; nephews, Steve Spakes (Cindy), Randy Spakes and Greg Spakes (Joni) of Hot Springs; brother-in law, Gerald Wayne Spakes (Gladys) of Colorado; nephews, Gary (Shannon) and Geoffrey (Jill) Spakes; extended family, Cindy (Terry) Thompson, Becky (Chris) Rawls, Dan (LaDonna) Morrison and Barbara Hague of Malvern.
The family would like to thank the many doctors and staff at UAMS and other caregivers for the excellent care and treatment received.
Funeral Services will be at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at Prosperity United Methodist Church at Pansy, Ark. Interment will follow in Pansy Cemetery by Ralph Robinson & Son Funeral Directors. Visitation will be Tuesday evening from 5-7 p.m. at Robinson’s.
Memorials may be sent to Pansy Cemetery, c/o Roy Boyd, P.O. BOX 6669 Pine Bluff, Ark. 71611 or UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Foundation, Joe Ralph Thompson Memorial, 4301 West Markham Street MS 623F Little Rock, Ark. 72205.
Online register: www.ralphrobinsonandson.com