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Lemley Funeral Service

1401 North Church Street, P.O. Box 126, Atkins, AR

Phone: 479-641-2589

J.D. Virden

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Published: December 7, 2012

J.D. Virden, formerly of Atkins, Arkansas, age 90, went home to be with the Lord on Monday, December 3, 2012. He was a graduate of Russellville High School, attended Arkansas Polytechnic College (ATU), and graduated with Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Education from the University of Arkansas.

Northwest Arkansas provided opportunities for J.D. to start his career in education by teaching in Jerusalem and Deer before becoming Superintendent of Schools at Western Grove in 1953. From there he continued his superintendence by serving the communities of Jasper and Leslie before coming to Dover in the same capacity between the years of 1962-1971. Finally moving back close to his family home, he finished his illustrious career at Atkins, Arkansas. During the years in the school business, J.D. touched the lives of many students, sometimes through their hearts and sometimes by applying "The Board of Education" to the other end. During his last days, he kept reiterating to his family that the goal of his entire career was to meet the needs of his students, whatever they were or whatever it took. After retelling a favorite story he would always say, "It was all about the kids."

J.D. was a WWII Veteran. He served in the Army Air Corp as a Master Sergeant, based in New Guinea. Even though he didn't speak a lot about his experiences with the family, he would describe it by saying, "I fought the war with a flat head screw driver and a boxed end wrench."

"J" as Maxine would call him, was a man of many passions. He enjoyed raising animals including game roosters, bird dogs, quarter horses, and cattle. In later years he relished 4-wheeler rides in the mountains, playing dominoes, and picking his bass guitar in bands from his home church at Union Grove Baptist to the weekly Friday mornings at the Russellville Senior Citizens Center. His long life afforded him the opportunity to see many grandchildren born. When visiting, they would find candy in "Nanny's" candy dish and money tucked purposefully in "Papa J's" pocket shirt waiting to be discovered.

J.D. was preceded in death by his parents, Bill and Lethie McGee Virden; and wife of 70 years, Maxine Hays Virden. He is survived by his sisters, Emma Zee Shackleford and Wilma Lee Barefield of Russellville; a brother, Jerry Virden of Little Rock; son, Kelton Virden of Morrilton; son, Kim Virden and wife Sue of Dover; five grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and numerous extended family members and friends.

Visitation will be held Friday, December 7th, from 6-8 p.m. at Lemley's Funeral Home in Atkins. Funeral services will be Saturday, December 8th, 10 a.m. also at Lemley's Funeral Home. Burial will be at the Churchill Family Cemetery in Dover. Memorials may be made to Choices Pregnancy Resource Center, P.O. Box 394, Russellville, Arkansas 72811.

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