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Kennard ChandlerLeonard Tillman L.T. WalkerOscar FaulknerDee GuthrieAnna Eaves Hodge


Lineman with a heart for people dies at 72

By Matthew Hodges

Family members like to say even the apostle Paul could not have written enough nice things about Kennard Hadley Chandler Jr.

"The way he lived his life was exactly the way you were taught how to do it in Sunday school," remarked Pat Howell, Mr. Chandler's son-in-law. "You couldn't have had a better role model."

Mr. Chandler, 72, a 48-year resident of Sylvan Hills, succumbed to cancer on Saturday, June 3.

Born in Fort Smith and raised in Russellville and Cabot, Mr. Chandler graduated from the latter city's high school, where acting on the school's stage he had met his future wife.

"Our parts were boyfriend and girlfriend in a high school comedy and that's how we got more acquainted," recalled his wife Loretta.

His career came about in much the same fashion - by being in the right place at the right time.

Mr. Chandler's father, Kennard Sr., a local manager for Arkansas Power & Light Co., needed Extra manpower one night during a storm and got special permission from the company for his 17-year old son to help the other linemen. Forty-four years later, Mr. Chandler was still helping.

And he was as tough as nails, his daughter Lou Ann said, recalling the day he slipped on a wooden utility pole and she found him leaning back casually remvoving giant splinters from his limbs and trunk while treating his wounds with antiseptic iodine.

He did develop a tremendous proclivity to climb up poles, however, and so he always volunteered to fix the lights at the Sylvan Hills football and baseball fields.

He just felt a real devotion to community, his family said, which explains why he served as a firefighter with the Sylvan Hills Volunteer Fire Department for nearly 35 years.

Mr. Chandler's son, Ken remembered going often with his father to the weekly meetings at the firehouse that, in later years, turned into a club of volunteer "consultants" who would lounge in the back room to play rummy and tell jokes.

Mr. Chandler was also a 50-year member and former Past Master of the Cabot Masons, the same lodge his father had belonged to, and a member of the Whispering Pine Travel Club.

He was also an avid sporting spectator who, because of his affinity for people, enjoyed the occasion as much as the game. With no particular rhyme or reason, he would travel to such venues as the Indianapolis 500, plan to see the Cubs in Chicago, sit in the crowd as a faithful Trojan fan or simply take his grandchildren to see their first hockey game, family members said.

Woodcraft, creating everything short of a cabin, and leather-working were two other favorite hobbies. Never failing to share his interests with others, Mr. Chandler once accompanied Howell, who sells farming machinery, to the Wrightsville Penitentiary to inspect some equipment. While they were introduced to the polished leather-working skills of a life-sentenced inmate. Mr. Chandler and the convict established an easy rapport, and soon he was sending back collected magazine and articles to his unlikely friend.

"Every time the inmate came up in conversation, [Mr. Chandler] would ask how he was doing," Howell said . "This was a man who was in prison for life, and yet [my father-in-law] was asking how he was doing."

Indeed Mr. Chandler, gregarious and upbeat, thrived on being with people, no matter who they were.

An "if he didn't tease you then he didn't like you," quipped on family member, recalling how he would mischievously sneak away one puzzle piece from a colossal jigsaw as everyone else in the family labored to put the work together. And when the puzzle was completed except for that single piece, Mr. Chambers would waggishly take the fragment out of his picket and put it in place with a boyish grin.

"If he hadn't been so honest, he would have made a great politician," joked one family member about his amiable nature.

But remarkable, too, was his genuine kindness. Even as he was ailing from the effects of chemotherapy, just for the sake of "doing," he once loaded and stacked firewood from the Howell's farm.

"If our children grow up to be half the kind of man he was, then they'll turn out right," concluded Pat Howell. "They've got good genes."

Besides his wife Loretta, sister Mary Ruth, son Kennard III and his wife Ruth of Cabot, daughter Lou Ann and her husband Pat of Lonoke, Mr. Chandler is survived by his four grandchildren, Ruth Anne Rose, Amy Watson, Emily and Wyatt Howell; six great-grandchildren; and one aunt, Lee O. Cross of North Little Rock.

Funeral services were held on Monday, June 3, at the North Little Rock Funeral Home chapel with Rev. Don Moseley officiating. Burial was held at the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Cabot.

The family requests that memorials be made to the Sylvan Hills First Baptist Church, 9008 Sylvan Hills Hwy., Sherwood, Ark. 72120.

The Times - June 8, 2000


Railroad conductor and historian dies at 82

By Jenn Long

Leonard Tilman Walker's passion was history. From spending hours searching for lost family records and antique remnants of the Rock Isalnd Railroad to excavating Indian artifacts on Lake Ouachita, Mr. Walker never passed up the chance to learn about the past, family members say.

Mr. Walker died last Friday from brain damage suffered during heart surgery. He was 82.

Born to Marvin Jackson and Louie Walker of Ione, a small town 20 miles southeast of Fort Smith, Mr. Walker was the second oldest in a family of six children. The oldest son, he was expected to follow in the footsteps of his father, a blacksmith.

But that was a field that Mr. Walker soon found out he could not bear, said his son, Marvin Walker.

"He liked to talk too much to be a blacksmith. He had a salesman mentality," he explained.

After graduating from Ione High School, Mr. Walker tried to join the military but was turned away because of a sinus problem, his son said.

So he stayed around home, helping his dad, until at 23, he eloped with his childhood love, Marguerite Fuller, to sidestep any objections from either of their families. Then they kept their marriage a secret for two months.

They needn't have worried, Marguerite Walker said. Both families were happy when they learned of the couple's secret.

"Our families knew each other for a long time. So, they were happy about it. Why, we all knew Tilman when he was a little boy, I played with his younger sisters," she explained.

After the couple married, Mr. Walker became a traveling magazine salesman for Curtis Publishing Co. Journeying to Texas and New Mexico, the business suited his outgoing personality, his son said.

"He loved to talk. He was so open and friendly, and he never slowed down. That is what people will remember the most about him," he said. But Mr. Walker didn't stay on the door-to door circuit for long.

When the United States entered World War II, he and his wife moved to Little Rock, where he tried once again - without success-to join the military. But an uncle who worked with the Rock Island Railroad soon helped Mr. Walker get a brakeman position with the railroad.

Mr. Walker would spend the next 32 years of his life working for the railroad.

Tragedy struck in 1959 when the Walkers' youngest son, Stanley, died of a kidney disorder. The family moved to North Little Rock five years later, Mrs. Walker said because their Little Rock home contained too many memories of Stanley's suffering.

Eventually Mr. Walker rose up the railroad ranks to become a passenger train conductor, a feat akin to becoming the captain of a cruise ship, Marvin Walker said.

"You should've seen him in his uniform. He looked more as if he were a high ranking admiral with his gold cords and pins covering his uniform," Walker remembered. And given his fondness for history, he would eventually also find a way to connect his passion with the Rock Island Railroad that had been his career.

About 12 years ago, he founded the Rock Island Railroad Club to bring retirees of the railroad together through monthly dinners and an annual picnic. He also collected Rock Island memorabilia, a hobby he continued even after his retirement, his son said.

But Mr. Walker, who was one-fourth American Indian, also became interested in his family history, his son said.

"All of Dad's family were interested in our family history. My great grandfather was a doctor for, of all things, the Union Army. He did the terrible thing in everyone's eyes of marrying an Indian woman, but it is interesting to learn about," he said.

Mr. Walker even found some family documents that link his family with Charlemagne, and became inspired to embark on amateur archeological digs at Lake Ouachita, Marvin Walker said.

Shortly after their move to North Little Rock, the Walkers bought some land on the lake.

It wasn't long before they were finding arrowheads of all colors, and Mr. Walker's interest in history became an all-consuming passion, his wife said.

"I was never really interest in all the history such as that, but I loved to pick up pieces of beautiful arrowheads - deep reds, dark blacks-and Tilman started looking for pottery and anything else," she said.

Besides his youngest son, Mr. Walker was preceded in death by a brother, Coleman Walker, and a sister, Julia Walker.

Besides his wife and son Marvin, he is survived b twin sisters, Grace May of Rogers, and Ruth Wilson of Wichita Falls, Tex.; and a brother, Gilbert Walker of Fort Smith.

Funeral services were held Monday, June 21, at Griffin Leggett-Rest Hills chapel with the Rev. Timothy Diehl officiating. Burial was at Roselawn Cemetery.;

The Times - June 24, 1999


Veteran, "Mayor of Fort Chaffee," dies at 72

By Brian Cormack

Love of country and family characterized Oscar Faulkner. He joined the Army as an 18-year-old at the end of World War II and would eventually rise to the rank of colonel, working in the Pentagon and the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before retiring to his North Little Rock home in 1979 with 34 years of military service under his belt.

But after retirement, he stayed active, opening up a wholesale auto parts business with his son, Thomas, in Sherwood.

Oscar Lee Faulkner, a decorated military officer from West Virginia with great reach and stamina, died of cancer on Tuesday, July 13. He was 72.

His long career in the military led him to be known in Army Readiness circles as the "Mayor of Fort Chaffee" where he served as chief evaluator of summer training in the late 1970's.

While in the service, he received almost a dozen awards, including the Bronze Star Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Joint Service and Army Commendation Medal, the Master Parachutist Medal and the OCS Hall of Fame award.

Julia Snodgrass, one of Col. Faulkner's two daughters, remembers her father as a hardworking man with a strong character.

"He was very well educated," she said. "He could talk to anyone, from the normal person on the street to Colin Powell."

Born on April 4, 1927, in the small coal mining town of Richwood, W.V., Col. Faulkner grew up on a dairy farm with three brothers and three sisters. He was only 11 when his mother died.

At the end of World War II in 1945, he signed up with the Army and was stationed in Okinawa and Japan, serving with the 77th Infantry Division until 1946. He would then move to Europe with the Second Armored Calvary Regiment in post-war Germany. In 1949, he returned to West Virginia, where through a mutual friend he met the woman who would become his wife of more than 48 years.

While he was stationed in Austria with the 350th Regimental Combat Team, the two were married on Oct. 14, 1950, in the city of Linz. But like most military families, they moved again in 1953 after the birth of their first son, Thomas, and headed back to the United States, where they lived in Maryland until 1955 when Col. Faulkner was sent to Iran. He returned stateside again in 1956 to become the battery commander and operations officer of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky.

By 1964 the family was back in Europe for his assignment with the NATO Allied Headquarters for Southern Europe in Naples, Italy. The couple now had two sons and two daughters.

In 1967, they were sent to Fort Carson, Colo., and from 1969 to 1970, he served in Vietnam.

From there he would head to the Pentagon as the special projects officer in the Office of the Army Inspector General, then to the manpower division at the Office of the Chiefs of Staff, and finally in 1975, to Arkansas, first to serve in the 122nd U.S. Army Reserve Command in Little Rock and then as the chief evaluator of summer training at Fort Chaffee.

Retirement followed in North Little Rock, where he opened the auto parts store with his son Thomas.

Col. Faulkner was an avid reader, mainly of military history. Also a fisherman and hunter, his favorite spot was Lake Ouachita, where the family spent numerous vacations.

The Faulkners also enjoyed visiting civil war battlefields, museums and mansions, as well as taking trips to Florida.

Diagnosed with cancer in 1990, Col. Faulkner fought the disease with great spirit, his wife said. But the cancer kept growing back after being removed.

"He never quit and sat down," his wife said. "He always tried to keep going."

Last year the Faulkners took a vacation driving across the country to see Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota.

"We were able to stop wherever we wanted," she said. "It was one of our most enjoyable vacations."

Col. Faulkner is survived by his wife Wilma; one son and daughter-in-law, Thomas W. and Lisa Faulkner; two daughters, Julia Snodgrass and Sharon Hill; son-in-law Phillip Hill; three brothers and three sisters; and one great-grandchild.

Funeral services were held on Friday, July 16, at Griffin Leggett Rest Hills Chapel in North Little Rock. Interment was at Rest Hills Cemetery.

The Times - July 22, 1999


"Go-getter" led life of giving, helping other people

By Jenn Long

She had a personality that wouldn't let her sit still, so Dee Guthrie poured her energies into what she loved best: helping other people.

"If she wasn't sleeping, she was active, always doing something for somebody. My mother was a go-getter," her son, Joe Guthrie said.

Mrs. Guthrie, longtime partner with her husband and son in the Brass Bell Realty company, died in her home on Walnut Street last Sunday, July 18, after a heart attack.

Born in Elmira, N.Y., to a poor but proud Irish couple, Mary Agnes Guthrie was the oldest of eight children. Her family called her Dee because the younger siblings could not pronounce her name, her son said. It was with her five brothers and two sisters that Mrs. Guthrie began her life of giving as she helped her mother take care of the family while her father was working in the town's bakery, Guthrie said.

She would meet her future husband, John "Jack" Guthrie in high school on a blind date set up by her cousin. It was love at first sight, her son said, and after they each graduated, they were married in 1943.

She worked as secretary the first years of her marriage, but when her husband joined the Air Force in World War II, she followed him south to his training in Florida.

"They had a beautiful marriage, they loved each so much. She doted on him all the time," Guthrie chuckled.

The couple had their first son in 1945, while Mr. Guthrie was still away at war. But near the end of the war they were reunited and began living on air bases around the world, first Japan, later Panama, and finally Germany where Mr. Guthrie retired in 1971 after the two had raised four boys and one girl.

It was in Germany that Mrs. Guthrie's flair for volunteer work abounded as she devoted time to hospitals and orphanges on the many bases where they lived, her son said.

In fact, it was in an orphanage that Mrs. Guthrie met a 3-year old boy named Andrews and was immediately taken by him.

"She was sending me letters about this little blond headed boy in the orphanage. I was planning a wedding and as I was sending the invitation, they were sending an adoption announcement," Guthrie laughed. "She fell in love with him."

When Mr. and Mrs. Guthrie moved back to the states, they picked North Little Rock for their retirement. The whole family eventually moved to the area because they were so enamored with the weather and the people, Guthrie said.

While her husband began working for a real estate agency, Mrs. Guthrie had the perfect opportunity to "spoil us rotten". her son said.

"She wasn't happy when she was sitting still. She always wanted something to do."

But after their son moved to North Little Rock, the three of them began the Brass Bell Realty, where again, she found a way to help people around her.

"She knew everyone we rented to, and if they needed help, she was there to give it." her son said proudly.

She would seek out the less fortunate families at Christmas, showing up that morning with gifts for the children. And she often gave families cash to help them through financial rough spots.

When her husband died in 1991, Guthrie said his mother handled the loss well, though she missed being able to do such simple things as cut his bananas or get him a drink.

But soon she was opening her home to British soccer coaches who came to the states for different soccer camps, and she directed all her energies toward them, doing their laundry, ironing and cooking.

"She would have at least two boarding with her at a time, and she loved it," her son said.

"With sparkling eyes and a beaming smile, my mother loved to help people."

She is survived by Joe and Kelly Guthrie, Tim and Sandy Guthrie, Michele Guthrie-Hill, Andy and Sandy Guthrie, A.J. Guthrie, seven grandchildrn, Heidi, Karma, Ryan, Adam, Sean, Michael, and Kyle; and two great-grandchildren, Sammy and Alexis; two sisters and three brothers.

Her funeral was Wednesday, July 21, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church with the Rev. Tom Elliot officiating.

The Times - July 22, 1999


Disabled veteran, editor dies at age 50

By Eunice J. Hart

She was an extraordinary person born under extraordinary circumstances, according to her younger sister Joy Williams.

Her father was part of the American occupation of Japan in 1947, and Anna Eaves Hodge, born two months premature, ended up being the first American child born in Japan on Kyushu Island, Williams said.

"She spent the first two or three weeks in a shoe box with a light bulb at the other end," Williams said. And "when she was a little over 1, she was in a reception where she was presented to the emperor of Japan," Williams said.

Ms. Hodge, a disabled veteran turned active volunteer at the VA hospital as well as editor of Veterans' Voices magazine, died in her sleep on Aug. 1 at Fort Roots Hospital. She was 50.

Her father said she inherited her interest in the health care field from him.

"I was the commander of a hospital at a post in Puerto Rico, and she went and helped out as a candy striper in the sixth or seventh grade and in high school. She becmae very interested in nursing then," he said.

She would study nursing for two years at Ouachita Baptist University, the go off to Baylor University for one year before finishing her degree in Dallas, her father said.

More than anything she wanted to be an Army nurse, her sister said.

"I really wanted to help people and my country as well," she had written in an essay in 1995 called "How My Disability Has Made Me A Better Person."

She had been in college "when she got sick," her father explained.

She had just been inducted into the Army when she had her first breakdown and her diagnosis changed from schizophrenia to manic depression, her sister said.

"I felt my life was destroyed," she wrote of that time.

She spent several months in a medical facility in San Antonio and then returned to school, determined to turn her illness into another nursing specialty with a degree in psychology.

"And she tried nursing again," her sister said. But again she was unable to complete the program, this time identified by the Army as emotionally disabled and unable to work.

Still, Ms Hodges refused to let this stop her from contributing to the world around her, family members said.

"Anna was a disabled veteran who worked through her disabilities as best she could," Williams said. "Anna was a very brilliant person...and just unbelievabley able to learn new things."

Searching for ways she could still fulfill her need to help others, she poured herself in volunteer work, assisting the ailing veterans at Fort Roots Hospital working at the Southern Baptist Association's Caring Center for the homeless and serving as a contributing editor of a national magazine for veterans called Veteran's Voices.

"She would work with patients there [at Fort Roots] to get them to submit their writings and get them into publishable form and type them up and send them into the magazine," Williams said.

Intermittantly, however, she would have to have her own medication dosage changed, which forced her to become a patient at the hospital herself.

One day she would have on a patient's gown and the next day, she would have on a volunteers uniform, her sister said.

Williams said her sister was in no way ashamed of her illness.

"She never went around being ashamed about who she was and what she was. She had pretty well accepted what she could or couldn't do," Williams said.

"I have learned I can pick myself up keep trying time and time again," she wrote in the essay two years ago.

Being on the other end of the service, she also had a deep appreciation for how the VA Volunteer Program could halp patients.

"I shall always be in debt to the VA volunteer program - the many unselfish and noble men and women who give more than they have to give, who love both the lovable and sometimes the unlovable, who tirelessly share their God-given gifts and talents through a well-organized program of giving, loving and sharing," she once wrote.

Having accepted her disability, she also understood it well enough to know how to deal with the changes that came with it and to recognize when she needed help as she did in the last few weeks of her life when she found herself in a manic state.

"She checked herself into the hospital, which was very responsible, when she noticed that she was having this problem," Williams said.

Ms. Hodge is survived by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Royce L. Eaves, Sr. of North Little Rock; two brothers, Bill Stipp of San Antonio, Tex. and Royce L. Eaves, Jr. of Germany; three sisters, Patricia Heckel of Plano, Tex., Edna Wetherington and Joy Williams both of North Little Rock; a former husband, Larry Hodge of Little Rock; a step-son, Mark Hodge of North Little Rock, and many nephews and nieces.

She was also a member of Disabled American Veterans, Songwriters' Association, Poets' Roundtable and the Eastern Star.

Graveside services and interment will be at 10 a.m. today at Little Rock National Cemetery with the Rev. S. Cary Heard officiating.

A memorial servicew ill be held 1 p.m. next Wednesday in the Fort Roots VA Chapel with Chaplain Ryan officiating.

The family asks that memorials be made toMain House, Community Support Program, P.O. Box 5671, North Little Rock, Ark. 72119.

The Times - August 7, 1997