James Clifford LarrisonWilmot, AR, 1920 - 2016
James Clifford Larrison, 95, of Wilmot, Ark. passed away peacefully on January 6, 2016, at St. Catherine's Village in Madison, Miss. He leaves behind a life marked by fun times with friends, business success, and innumerable stories of his wit and impishness.
Clifford was born in Pine Bluff, Ark., on March 17, 1920, to Clifford Enoch Larrison and Jimmie Curtis Larrison, and grew up in Wilmot, Ark. He graduated from Wilmot High School and attended Hendrix College in Conway, Ark. He loved Hendrix, so much that the president of the college told him that while the feeling was mutual, at Clifford's rate, it would take him 10 years to graduate. Clifford then transferred to and graduated from Henderson State Teachers College in Arkadelphia, Ark., where he later served on the Board of Directors and was awarded the Honorary Alumni Business Award.
After college, Clifford worked in Little Rock, Ark., where he met Aline McClain. On their first date he told her that he was going to marry her. She was skeptical but laughed so much that night that her cheeks hurt for days after, a joyous problem she had through their 58 years of marriage. They liked nothing more than to decide on the spur of the moment to dress up and go to New Orleans with friends, where they enjoyed everything from Bourbon Street to Antoine's and Commander's Palace.
Clifford began farming and managing a gin in the 1940's in Wilmot, Ark. In 1956 he moved his family to Camaguey, Cuba, to manage a rice farm there. Unfortunately, Fidel Castro interrupted those plans, forcing Clifford and his family to escape the country in the middle of the night. They returned to Wilmot, Ark., with no land and no prospects. From that challenging position, Clifford and Aline arranged to buy a farm and started growing rice. They went on to be successful in that venture and at one time owned more rice allotments than anyone in the United States.
Aside from the courage required to start and build his business, Clifford is best known for his wicked yet loving sense of humor, his intense enjoyment of his friends, and his ability to find fun anywhere. Despite living in a remote area, there is unlikely any group who set their minds to enjoying life as much as Clifford, Aline, and their friends did. Their parties were marked by exuberant laughter, the type of teasing that only loving friends can give each other, and a zest for life that brings joy to all involved. It must also be mentioned that Clifford was able at a moment's notice to pray in any language.
Following Aline's death in 2002, Clifford married Nola Wright of Lake Village, Ark., in 2008, and they enjoyed traveling and living together in Lake Village. She died on January 6, 2016, in Lake Village, Ark.
Clifford is survived by his son, Dr. Jim Larrison and Jim's wife, Dr. Sherlyn Larrison, of Youngsville, La.; and his daughter, Dr. Nancy Larrison Campbell and her husband, Roy Campbell, of Jackson, Miss. His grandchildren, are Kim Larrison Bullen (Jimbo) of Lafayette, La.; Larrison Campbell (Courtenay Green) of Los Angeles, Calif.; Martha Campbell of New York, N.Y.; and Elizabeth Campbell of New York, N.Y. His great-grandchildren are Hannah and Josh Bullen of Lafayette, La., and Clifford and Louisa Campbell-Green of Los Angeles, Calif.
We thank Dr. Mac Addison, his nurse Pam Grantham, and the staff at St. Catherine's Village for their help throughout his last years.
A celebration of a life well-lived will be at 4 p.m. on Saturday, January, 9, 2016, at the Wilmot Cemetery in Wilmot, Ark., followed by a reception at the home of Bland Shackelford Currie in Wilmot, Ark. Memorials may be made to Henderson University in Arkadelphia, Ark.
We are thankful for being a part of Clifford's life. Wonzo, Daddy, you were a joy.
Published January 8, 2016