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Thelma Van Arsdale


THELMA VAN ARSDALE, aged 93, of Little Rock, Ark., passed away Saturday evening, June 12th at her home in Little Rock. Thelma was born March 4th, 1917 in a tent at an Oklahoma coal field near Henryetta. She traveled by covered wagon to Clarksville, Ark. in 1931 where she lived for 64 years, until 1995. After graduating from College of the Ozarks in 1941 with a B.A. degree, Thelma began a long and rewarding teaching career that began as an elementary school teacher in Judsonia, Ark. In the early 1940's, Thelma also worked for the government WPA agency that built the high school in Clarksville that was located on Cherry Street. Thelma then resumed her teaching career at Hartman, AR., teaching 5th and 6th graders at the elementary school, then later taught a business class at the high school there. In 1952, Thelma met and married her beloved Philip Van Arsdale.
They were happily married for 38 years. In 1956, Thelma began teaching Business and English at Lamar High School, where she remained until her retirement in 1977. Thelma was richly rewarded by the many relationships and bonds she developed with her students, many of whom remained in touch with her until her death. After Thelma's retirement in 1977 she traveled all over the USA with Phil and her children. Many good times and fond memories were had which will be cherished by her family. After Phil's death in 1990, Thelma moved to Parkway Village Retirement Center in Little Rock, AR. to be closer to her children. Thelma developed many good friends there including Miss Emily, Edie, Velma, and Ida Marie, along with many others whom she cherished. She lived a rich and fulfilling life her remaining years in Little Rock and will be missed by all who knew her at Parkway Village. Thelma is preceded in death by her father, Elijah Marvin and her mother, Rusha Ellen Blackwell Curtis, two brothers and one sister, along with three stepdaughters. She is survived by one son, Wade and his wife Lyle Ann, one daughter, Ellen Johnson and her husband Hugh, all of Little Rock, one stepson Ronald Van Arsdale, also of Little Rock, two grandchildren, Wendy Nelson of Maumelle, Clay Johnson of Houston, Tx, and six great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Wednesday June 16th at Hardwicke Funeral Chapel in Clarksville, AR. preceded by a visitation from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Hardwicke. Interment will be at Oakland Cemetery in Clarksville immediately following the service.

Memorials made to Cherry Street Baptist Church, 800 W. Cherry St., Clarksville, AR., 72830, or Feed the Children, P.O. Box 36, Oklahoma City, OK., 73101

Published June 14, 2010