Clarence Ross “Sonny” Spharler, Jr., “The Watchmaker,” passed away Thursday, June 27, 2013, surrounded by his loving family. Sonny, the name he was always known by, was born in Pine Bluff, November 15, 1930, to Helen Lee Woods and Clarence Ross Spharler, Sr. He was a member of the First Baptist Church and loved passing out church bulletins and hugs and smiles.
He was preceded in death by his mother, father, brother, Charles Spharler and sister, Shirley Marie Spharler.
He is survived by his sisters, Betty Lee Hughes Floyd, Joyce Gothcer (Jim), Patsy Baber, Mary Lou Taylor and JoAnn Bussey (Jim); his brother, Larry Joe Spharler; his nieces, Mary Lynn Mercer, Bobbie Anne Taylor, Tammy Bussey Jacobs, Betty Kinsey, Chrelle Bostic, Lee’a Grammer, and Crystal Spharler; his nephews, Joe Hughes, Blaine Spharler and Dwain Baber; along with, Barbara Jean Green, who was like a sister to the family and could always make him smile; and if she needed help he was always there for her, and the love of his life and best friend, Maxine Jeffcoat.
Sonny treated his nieces and nephews as if they were his children, supplying special treats and fun jokes when they came to visit he and Mamaw.
Sonny attended Watson Chapel and Pine Bluff High Schools. He started working with his father at Spharler’s Watch Repair, a jewelry store when he was in Junior High School. Sonny learned the business quickly, and after his father’s death, he, his mother and sister Betty continued to run the business.
He was widely known as an expert watch repairman. He repaired watches not only for his personal business but also for many jewelry stores; and when competitors couldn’t repair a watch they never hesitated to ask for his help. They knew if a watch could be repaired, he was the man to do it. Usually he could fix it while they stayed and waited for it.
Sonny’s sense of humor, generosity of spirit and boundless energy, and dedication were his trademarks. He was a kind, loving and honorable man and he truly had a heart more precious than gold.
He was passionate and dedicated to every endeavor he engaged in.
He was very civic minded. He was a 50 year member of the Kiwanis Club, American Legion, serving as chaplain, Commercial Travelers Insurance Organization, where he held state and national leadership rolls. He was a member of the Sahara Shrine Clowns Patrol, who sponsored the circus each year to benefit children. Symbolic Masonry. He was a member and past master of Jacob Brump Lodge #160. He held the best attendance record in the history of the lodge. He was raised to the Sublime degree of Master Mason December 2, 1958. Served as Worshipful Master in 1964. He served as chaplain many times.
He served on the Widows and Orphans Board for over 25 years. He was an honorary member of DeMolay, and worked with Boy Scouts of America and made presentations to Eagle Scouts and was a member of the York Rite Masonry. He was exalted a Royal Arch Mason in LaFayette Chapter #7 August 22, 1959. He served as Excellent High Priest in 1966, served as Most Excellent High Priest, Royal Area Masons of Arkansas in 1981. Greeted a Royal and Select Master in English Council #14 September 7, 1959. He served as Thrice Illustrations Master in 1972, Knighted a Knights Templar in Damascus Commandery in 1972. He became a 32nd degree Mason, Scottish Rite Masonry at Valley of Little Rock on May 13, 1959. He was elected to the rank and decoration of Knight Commander of the Court of Harvar (KCCH) on October 20, 1955. He was Coronated a 33rd Degree Mason December 7, 1991, in Hasting-on-Hudson, New York. He holds the only 33rd Degree honor in Jefferson County and holds life-time membership in all the Masonic Bodies to which he belonged.
Sonny visited patients in nursing homes on a regular basis. Jenkins Center for Children was one of his favorite charities. He played Christmas Carols on his harmonica and gave each child fruit.
At age 29, after his father’s death, he was dedicated to make Fitzhugh Cemetery one of the best. He served as president of the Fitzhugh Cemetery Association for 51 years until his health declined.
Vernon Hardin, a friend once told him “Sonny, you belong to too many organizations; he said Sonny’s reply was “It’s better to wear out than rust out.”
The family would like to express their sincere appreciation to all who have loved and cared for him. We will forever be grateful to you.
Funeral services were at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, June 29, 2013, in the chapel of Ralph Robinson & Son with Reverend Ken Thornton officiating.
Burial followed in Fitzhugh Cemetery. Friends may sign the online register at www.ralphrobinsonandson.com.
Memorials may be made to The Fitzhugh Cemetery Association, c/o Ed Hughes 7425 Camden Cutoff Road, Pine Bluff, Arkansas 71603 or to the Arkansas Baptist Children’s Home, P.O. Box 552, Little Rock, AR 72203.