Ms. Julia Lynn Shoffner of Newport departed this life on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010 at Jonesboro. She was born in Newport, at the home of her maternal grandparents, known as the Loftin House on Malcolm Avenue. She was the daughter of Mann A. Shoffner Sr. and Lucia (Loftin) Shoffner. Ms. Shoffner enjoyed an exceptional life. She grew up in Jackson County and was a 1949 graduate of Newport High School. Ms Shoffner was crowned Mrs. Arkansas 1951. She went on to compete in the Mrs. America pageant where she was ranked among the Top Ten Contestants of 1951. A memory she fondly recalled was meeting Mr. Burl Ives who served as a judge for Mrs. America 1951. From a young age, Ms. Shoffner possessed a natural talent for interior design. She developed this talent studying Interior Design formally in Chicago, Illinois. She was a member of ASID, the American Society of Interior Designers, and had worked for design firms in Chicago and Little Rock. While working in Little Rock, she helped design the home featured at McCain Mall during the Christmas Season. She also worked on projects at the Arkansas Governor's Mansion and other private homes and businesses, several of which were featured in the Arkansas Gazette. She devoted her later career to Commercial Interior Design. A project that she was particularly fond of was the renovation of the John Minor Building, formerly the First National Bank Building, on Front Street in Newport. Ms. Shoffner loved animals, and served as past president of the Jackson County Humane Society. She was born of Jewish descent. Although she did not learn of her heritage until late in her childhood, she always felt as if she were Jewish. Even before learning of her heritage, she often held candlelight rituals and performed her own personal religious ceremonies. Ms. Shoffner's Messianic Jewish faith was in Jehovah God and she accepted Jesus Christ as the Messiah and her personal savior. On occasion, Ms. Shoffner attended worship at the First Presbyterian Church and First United Methodist Church of Newport. She was devoted to Jewish traditions and faithfully held candlelight prayer vigils precisely at sundown every Friday. During her last weeks, she was saddened and grieved because her failing health prevented her from performing her candlelight service. Ms. Shoffner was preceded in death by her parents; two brothers, John Loftin "Buddy" Shoffner, Sr., and Mann Shoffner Jr. She is survived by her friend and companion of several years, John Fellows of Newport; two sons, Dr. W. Coleman Kent Jr. of Jonesboro and Loftin Shoffner "Jack" Kent Sr. and wife Marcia of Shoffner; three grandchildren, W. Coleman "Cole" Kent III of Jonesboro, Jackson Kent of Shoffner, and Nathan Kent of Shoffner; and one great-grandchild, Lily Kathleen Kent of Jonesboro. Visitation is Monday, Dec. 20, 2010, beginning at 4 p.m. and will conclude with Memorial Services at 6 p.m. at Jackson's Newport Funeral Home Chapel. Private family burial services will be held at a later date. Memorials may be made to the Jackson County Humane Society, P.O. Box 154, Newport, Ark. 72112. Arrangements: Jackson's Newport Funeral Home. www.jacksonsfh.com.
Published December 19, 2010