Louie Roland Clark passed away peacefully on December 5, 2012 at Southridge Nursing Center in Heber Springs, Arkansas, at the age of 91, a lifetime resident of his beloved Cleburne County.
Louie was born August 11, 1921 to Oscar T. and Mattie Sharp Clark while the family was in Seminole, Oklahoma, where Oscar was a teacher. A year later the Clarks and their young children returned back home to Cleburne County where generations of their families had lived since the 1840s. Louie grew up fishing, hunting, and roaming the wooded hills of Wolf Bayou. He loved to tell the stories of his boyhood adventures.
Louie married Ruby Cooper January 4, 1941, and was called to active duty in WWII soon afterwards. Their first child Jeannie was born while he was away. His "stint" in the Army included fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, Germany, and Belgium. He was proud to be a veteran and stayed in close contact with men from his company for many years.
Back in Wolf Bayou, two sons Connie and Kerry and another daughter Kathy completed the family. Louie was a building contractor and woodworker by profession, but his passion was writing songs. The family entertained music greats such as Jim Ed Brown, Lefty Frizzell, and Freddie Hart in their home. In 1951 Carl Smith recorded "Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way" which hit number one and remained on the charts for eight weeks. As a general contractor, Louie built many homes in Eden Isle and throughout the county. He also owned his own custom furniture business for a time. He shared the works of his talents with his family, one year surprising seven grandkids with seven mountain dulcimers he had made for them.
In 1978 the Clarks built a new house and moved to Drasco, Arkansas. Always interested in history, Louie began compiling the story of Wolf Bayou and the surrounding area. With his daughter Jeannie, two books were published detailing life and images of the earliest settlers. The books became locally known as "the book" to fellow historians. He also wrote an historical novel based on early settlers as well as modern connections. Louie and Ruby were members of Oak Grove Methodist Church in Wolf Bayou and Drasco General Baptist Church in Drasco.
Louie was preceded in death by his parents; siblings Max, Nelda Thorn, Noel, Lovena Davis, and Glen ; his two sons Connie and Kerry, and wife of 62 years, Ruby; and son-in-law Frank McGary.
He is survived by his wife Verl and her children Brenda, Anita, and Randy; two daughters Jeannie McGary and Kathy Ward (Sam); daughters-in-law Freida Clark (Connie) and Barbara Clark (Kerry); nine grandchildren Vikilyn McElroy, Robin Bowman (Gary), Darrin McGary, Alicia Clark, Mandy Clark, Kristie Burford (Gary), Jennifer Helton (Keith), Nikki Rogers (Michael), and Kelly Ward. Great-grandchildren are Tyler, Molly, and Noah Bowman, Linton and Arielle McElroy, Ashley and Amy McGary, Patrick Sharp, Aaron Archer, Parker, Mattie, and Elizabeth Burford, Sawyer James, and great-great-granddaughter Avory Sharp.
Visitation was at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, December 7, at Olmstead Funeral Home and the funeral followed at 3:00 p.m. Interment was at Oak Grove Cemetery in Wolf Bayou. Pastor Billy Henderson officiated. Pallbearers were Darrin McGary, Keith Helton, Gary Burford, Linton McElroy, Noah Bowman, and Aaron Archer. Honorary pallbearers were Tyler Bowman, Patrick Sharp, Parker Burford, and Sawyer James.