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Roller-McNutt / Conway

8th and Vine, P.O. Box 249, Conway, AR

Phone: 501-374-2731

Ralva R Bass

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Published: February 21, 2013

Ralva Ray Bass, 91, of Conway, died February 18, 2013. He was born May 12, 1921 in Butlerville, Arkansas, to G.W. and Josephine Bass.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Victorean Ruth Orr Bass, and his sister, Retha Mae Fudge. He is survived by two daughters, Diane Dickens and Connie Martin, and her husband Sam Martin, all of Conway; one sister, Luola Bass Mathers and her husband Harvey of Lubbock, Texas; two brothers, Reverend Vernon Bass and his wife Linda of Clarksville, Arkansas; and Wilburn Bass and his wife Patricia of West Branch, Iowa; four grandchildren, Angela Dickens Hearst and her fiance Charles "Buddy" Baird of Conway; Melanie Dickens Jones and her husband Matt of North Little Rock; Brandon Martin and his wife Elizabeth of Katy, Texas; and Eric Martin and his wife Megan of Conway; three great-grandchildren, Hannah Hearst, Jacob Hearst and Abby Grace Martin of Conway; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Shortly after graduating from high school in Beebe, he joined the U.S. Navy and was stationed in the South Pacific on the USS McKee during World War II from 1942 until 1945. He married Victorean Ruth Orr on March 22, 1943.

He earned a bachelor of science degree from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville and a master of science degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He taught math at Hazen High School for one year and at Newport High School for six years before he began his career at the University of Central Arkansas in 1958, when it was still known as the Arkansas State Teachers College. He was an associate professor of physics, and served as chairman of the department. He was co-sponsor of the Society of Physics Students, sponsor of Phi Sigma Epsilon and coach of the UCA bowling team for 13 years. He was a lifetime member of Sigma Phi Epsilon honor society.

He founded, along with other members of the University of Central Arkansas' College of Natural Sciences faculty, the bluegrass band The Professors in 1967. The six-piece group released two albums, Introducing The Professors and Remember Me, and over the course of 25 years played more than 500 performances.

Although he retired from full-time teaching in 1991 at the age of 62, he continued to teach part time into his 70s. Throughout his career, he taught more than 10,000 students. In 1992, he received the honor of being named professor emeritus by the UCA Board of Trustees.

He was a member of the Conway Kiwanis Club, where he served as president and secretary, and was named Kiwanian of the Year in 1986. He was also a member of First Baptist Church of Conway.

Funeral Services will be Friday, February 22, at 10 a.m. at Roller-McNutt Funeral Home in Conway. Burial will be at Crestlawn Memorial Park. Visitation will be Thursday from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.

Pallbearers are Sam Martin, Eric Martin, Brandon Martin, Jacob Hearst, Dr. Harold Pray and Matt Jones. Honorary pallbearers are Charles "Buddy" Baird, Dr. Denver Prince, Dr. Jerry Manion, Travis Northcutt, W.K. Heard and Sam McKaskel.

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