Joe P. StanleyNorth Little Rock, AR, 1930 - 2019
JOE P. STANLEY, M.D., was born on December 30, 1930. He died on February 9, 2019, at the age of 88. He was preceded in death by Barbara Ann House Stanley, his high school sweetheart and wife of 56 years, and his parents, Martha and L.H. Stanley. At the time of his death, Joe was married to Shirley Hardke Stanley. They met after both had long and happy marriages end with their spouses' deaths. Shirley had been married to Fred Hardke, and she has a large and loving family. Joe was very fond of them.
Barbara and Joe had five children, Patti Luppen (Bill), Steve Stanley (Melody), Robert Stanley (Laura), Laura Fortner (Neal), and Cindy Higgins (Pete); six grandchildren, Sarah Fowler, Ashley Griffin, Michael Stanley, Justin Stanley, Peter Stanley, and Alena Higgins; and three great-grandchildren, John Fowler, Ada Anne Griffin, and Joseph Stanley. Joe is survived by Shirley, all of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, his sister, Joy Lary of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and his niece, Alanta Lary of Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Joe practiced medicine in North Little Rock, Arkansas, for more than forty years. He would end his obituary at this point---considering the relevant record of his life to have been clearly stated.
His children want you to know more. They want you to know that he served as a lieutenant in the Navy for more than two years—enjoying his service and the friendships he developed there; that he was among the first, if not the first, internist in NLR; and that he served as chief of staff at NLR Memorial Hospital, which is long-gone now but was still new and thriving at that time. They want you to know that despite his busy medical practice, he was always active in community service. He enjoyed his time in the NLR Rotary Club, serving in several capacities, including President; he relished his volunteer work with Meals on Wheels and the Shepherd Center; and he worked hard to help Arkansas Hospice come to fruition, believing that it would provide essential services to help families cope with end-of-life journeys.
There's more. Depending upon what time in his life you knew him, you might have called him Spud, Joe Pat, Joe, Dr. Stanley, or Doc. When he was still being called Spud, he lived on his family's farm and—being the mature, responsible kid he always was---he drove the "school bus" to town (Carlisle), full of neighboring children from other farms. The "bus" was one of their pick-up trucks, with a modified bed to accommodate the riders. We think he was 16 at the time, and we are fairly certain there would have been no seat belts. He thought his mother's waffles, which were cooked on a wood-burning stove, were the best he ever had. He loved to play checkers. One night, he played with his father (who was an exceptional checker player himself) to see who would have to go out in the cold to milk the cow. When his mother came back into the room later and asked who had won, Joe reportedly said, "Well, who do you see putting on his coat?" It wasn't Joe. For the rest of his life, it was extremely rare for anyone to beat him in a game of checkers. Long after starting his medical practice, Joe developed a drip-irrigation system on some land he owned near Morgan, and he raised the biggest, juiciest, tastiest blueberries and blackberries. In addition to having horses on that land, he also had goats (which frequently escaped), and we cannot fail to mention the earthworms he raised there. He could build anything but had little free time to do so. He could name the United States presidents forward and backward, and he could name all 75 Arkansas counties in any order you chose. For example, alphabetically—starting with the beginning or end of the alphabet, or geographically—east to west, west to east, north to south, south to north. We could go on and on.
What we want you to know more than anything though is that he was a good and honorable man. He was a hard worker. He was unbelievably smart. He had a wonderful laugh—originating from his soul; the head-thrown-back, belly-holding, eyes-shining kind of laugh. He loved our mother very, very much, and together they created a safe harbor where their children and grandchildren were always welcome, always greeted with joy, and always felt safe and happy. He was loved greatly and will be sorely missed. As was true for our mother, he experienced a life well lived, and we are very grateful to have had them as parents.
When Joe was a young boy, his favorite poem was "If" by Rudyard Kipling. We can think of nothing more fitting than to repeat a portion of that poem here:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn out tools;
. . . .
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And—which is more—you'll be a Man, my son!
At Joe's request, the only service will be a private, family graveside service at the Carlisle Cemetery where he will be laid to rest next to Barbara. In lieu of flowers, please donate to any organization of your choosing. If you would like to know some of his favorites, they are the Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, Ala., 36104; Arkansas Hospice Foundation, 14 Parkstone Circle, North Little Rock, Ark., 72116; and Lakewood United Methodist Church, 1922 Topf Road, North Little Rock, Ark. 72116. Online obituary at www.SmithFamilyCares.com.
Published February 17, 2019
OBITUARY SUBMITTED BY:
North Little Rock Funeral Home
1921 Main St, North Little Rock, AR