Wetzel Hermon Stark, age 89, of Heber Springs, Arkansas passed away due to COVID complications on December 18, 2020. Wetzel was born April 20, 1931, in Pearson, Arkansas, to Charles Herman and Lucy Mae Stark. Wetzel is preceded in death by his parents; his children, Karen Michelle Stark, twins Mitchell DeWayne and Cynthia Elaine Stark, Stanley Herman Stark; and brother Billy Bentley Stark. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Dorothy Lee Dixon Stark; son Philip Wetzel Stark (Pam) of Heber Springs; grandson Clint Stark of Batesville; granddaughters Melissa Stark Fureigh (Brad) of Ward; Sara Alverson of Arlington, TX; Reagan McGahhey Davis (Corey) of Marion; and Courtney McGahhey of Little Rock; great-grandchildren Grayson Tatrow, Paul Tatrow, Dylan Stark, MacKenna Tatrow, Daxton Davis, Deagan Davis, Madelyn Fureigh, Audrey Buchan, and Collin Fureigh; brother Jay C. Stark (Jessie) of North Little Rock; and many cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.
Wetzel and Dorothy were married on April 23, 1953. He entered the U.S. Army the next month, in May of 1953. Most of his army career was with the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. After leaving the army, he and Dorothy returned to Heber Springs and purchased a grocery store from his step-father, Jay Chesbro. Following the purchase, Wetzel changed the name of the store to Stark Grocery. He then operated the grocery store until 1982, when he decided to run for public office. In 1982, he was elected to the office of Circuit and County Clerk for Cleburne County. Wetzel held this position for 12 years until his decision to enter retirement.
Throughout his career, Wetzel held many civic positions including, but not limited to: Heber Springs School Board (10 years – 7 as president) where he only missed one meeting in 10 ½ years; Board Member of Cleburne County Bank (38 years) and First Arkansas Bank & Trust, Jacksonville (7 years); Heber Springs City Council; First Electric Roundup Board; Arkansas Rural Development, Heber Springs Rotary Club (49 years), White River Area Agency on Aging; 33rd Degree Mason; Shriner; Pearson Cemetery Board; Mountain Top Water Board; and Vice President of the Heber Springs Historical Society. He was also a member of the Cleburne County Quorum Court/Justice of the Peace where he performed hundreds of weddings. His highest civic distinction was the Heber Springs Chamber of Commerce’s Hall of Honor in 2017.
He was a faithful 65-year member of First General Baptist Church (aka Connection Church) where he was a deacon for 60 years and taught Sunday School for 64 years.
Due to COVID restrictions, a private celebration of Wetzel’s life was held on December 21 at the First General Baptist Church (aka Connection Church) with a private burial in the Pearson Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Wetzel’s memory to First General Baptist Church, aka Connection Church, 110 N 2nd St, Heber Springs, AR 72543; Heber Springs Historical Society, 102 E Main St, Heber Springs, AR 72543, or to the charity of your choice.