Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lyell Thompson remembered



Epting Funeral Home

709 N. Walton, Bentonville, AR
Find it at: corner of Walton and College
Phone: 479-273-3443

Lyell Thompson

Fayetteville, AR

1924 - 2014

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Published: March 12, 2014

Lyell Floyd Thompson, born May 10, 1924, died peacefully on March 10, 2014, at Fayetteville, Ark.
Lyell is survived by his wife of 68 years, Marcella Horn Thompson; five children, Andrea Thompson Bevernitz (Kurt) of Little Rock, Ark., Andrew Mark Thompson (Susan) of Tacoma, Wash., Susan Thompson Sklar (Charles) of Pisgah Forest, N.C., Kent Thompson and Kevin Thompson (Dana) of Fayetteville, Ark. He leaves 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; as well as brothers, Jack Thompson of Perry, Okla., Don Thompson of Wichita, Kan., and Gene Thompson (Bernell) of Seagraves, Texas.
His parents, Kenneth and Gladys Bowman Thompson; as well as his sister, Mariella Thompson Crews of Perry, Okla., pre-deceased him.
After serving in Europe from 1943-1946, where he fought in the Battle of the Bulge and subsequently received three battle stars and a Purple Heart, he returned home and married his high school sweetheart, Marcella. He graduated with a B.S. from Oklahoma A&M (1948) and a Ph.D. from Ohio State University (1952) before beginning work as an agronomist with a focus on soil fertility at the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation in Ardmore, Okla.
In 1958, he joined the faculty of the College of Agriculture at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville where he taught and did research until his retirement in 1991. He was the major advisor of some 30 M.S. and Ph.D. candidates. He worked with all aspects of soil fertility but his major interests were with trace element nutrition. His research led to boron, molybdenum and zinc recommendations for Arkansas crops. He published a number of scientific papers and was recognized for excellence in the classroom when he received the 1983 Gamma Sigma Delta Outstanding Teacher Award.
Lyell was active in the Civil Rights Movement throughout the 1950s and 1960s, serving on the Arkansas Council on Human Relations and was appointed to the Arkansas Advisory Committee of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. In the words of Martha Davis, "He was the first professor at the University of Arkansas to employ a black student; he housed black students in his home when university housing was still not open to them; he went door to door to promote opening to blacks the city swimming pool, the movie theaters and the restaurants across town. He often risked his career to support unpopular issues that he believed in, and his efforts made the way less risky for those he led and those who have followed his example." Equality for all was a founding principle of his constitution.
He was a vibrant member of the Northwest Arkansas community. He served in the Active U.S. Army Reserve retiring as a major. He served 18 years as Washington County Justice of Peace on the Quorum Court. As a Justice of Peace, he enjoyed officiating at weddings in Washington County and performed around 1,400 ceremonies during and after his term. He was instrumental in the development of the UARK Federal Credit Union. He was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Fayetteville, and was honored to support the growth of the organization and its building.
Lyell read poetry and engaged in storytelling before retirement groups and on the local public access TV and local radio stations. He was active in the Tellers of Tales society, which serves to preserve oral history. He characterized and portrayed before many groups as "Mark Twain," in costume, to whom he had an undeniable resemblance and shared Twain's sense of humor.
Lyell was an early proponent of recycling. His commitment to recycling seemed boundless. The style of Lyell's recycling was such that he often recycled things in-house when he couldn't find the resources to recycle them externally. He started with recycling cans, clothing found on the streets and roadways, plastic cutlery and any sort of paper product, with a special emphasis on paper napkins from restaurants. This commitment stemmed from his deep affection for and appreciation of our living planet.
Lyell was well known to many as a "tree giver" and a "tree planter." Lyell knew many varieties of trees and was never shy about asking anyone he was keeping company with, "What kind of tree is that?" as an opportunity for a learning moment. One of his favorite days of the year was National Arbor Day at the end of April. His front yard bears a gigantic symbol of the labor of his love in the form of a tulip poplar. He planted it in the mid-eighties and took exquisite care of the growing sapling over the following decade until he was confident that his tree was going to be a fine example of what a tulip poplar should be.
Over his tenure on the University of Arkansas, he planted innumerable "rescued" seedlings and saplings on campus. He was always keen to point out and say, "I planted that tree." A number of those "rescues" live as specimen trees today on and around the campus arboretum.
Memorials may be sent to the Willard Walker Hospice House or the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, both in Fayetteville.
The words of his longtime colleague, Dr. Bob Frans, expresses how Lyell will be remembered by his family and his many friends and colleagues:
"Most of all, he is a human being in the deepest sense that the term can imply. Quite truly, Lyell Thompson is in love with the human race — he is friend to all, neighbor to the first person he meets every morning and stranger to none. He is compassionate, loving and caring, not only for his fellow Unitarians, but also for the rest of us Christians, Jews, Muslims, Blacks, Whites, etc., etc., etc.! Does that make him a good teacher? In my view emphatically, yes! I have learned much from him, as have all who have come to know him throughout the years. Indeed, he is the best example I know of one to be called: "Teacher," "Professor," but above all — "Friend."
Arrangements by Epting Funeral Home of Fayetteville.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Voter rights presentation FREE from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, at Fayetteville, Arkansas, public library

The League of Women Voters is a multi-issue organization, whose mission is to encourage the informed and active participation of citizens in the government and to influence public policy through education and advocacy. View a presentationon the League's history.
The Washington County League provides non-partisan political information, a guide to elected officials, candidate forums, programs on current issues, a citizens' information guide (Spanish), and other resources to help citizens participate in the political process.

Upcoming Events

American Voting Experience Report and Recommendations
The American Voting Experience: Report and Recommendations of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration was released on January 22, 2014. Because many voters in the 2012 election experienced long lines and waits of many hours, President Obama apppointed a ten-member Commission to study and provide recommendations on improving the voter experience. Co-chairs of the Commission were the chief counsels to the 2012 Obama and Romney campaigns. The report and recommendations, which included ways to shorten waiting, expand early voting, and improve technology, were presented to the President after a six-month investigation. Read the report and the news release.

New Voter Identification Law of 2014: Make Every Vote Count on Election DayThe League of Women Voters of Washington County, Arkansas, invites you to a presentation by Jennifer Price, Election Coordinator of Washington County, on the new voter ID law on Wednesday, February 19, 6:00-7:30PM at the Fayetteville Public Library. A question and answer session will follow.
Act 595, enacted in 2013, mandates “Proof of Identity” by voters. Rules to implement the law became effective January 1, 2014. Valid identification must be presented by every voter. The law makes special provisions for people living in long-term care facilities.
This new law is bringing major changes in voting to Arkansas. Voters and citizens who wish to register to vote need to know what is required. The program is aimed at the general public as well as at organizations serving citizens who might have more challenges meeting the requirements of the new law.
We will hear the answers to questions such as:
  • What are the valid forms of identification?
  • How do you obtain a valid voter identification card?
  • What are the special issues affecting residents of long-term care facilities and affecting absentee ballots?
    Helpful resources have been compiled on Arkansas Voter ID rules. These include the text of the Arkansas law and rules, guides and explanatory material, and voter identification news.
    For more information, contact Rita Officer,, 973-9755, or Karen Crocker,, 790-5539.

  • Saturday, February 9, 2013

    A very wise friend shared a wonderful idea for legislators who are seriously considering allowing guns on campuses, in churches and such

     Something happened in the Public Radio station operated by the University of Arkansas on February 8 that totally blew my mind.
    A student brought a gun into the station on February 8 and it accidently discharged, wounding him. Here is a link to a local TV broadcast:
    Before this incident, one of our local state legislators had introduced legislation that would permit the carrying of concealed guns on campus. My fear is that it might undermine existing law enforcement and now I wonder about things like this – apparently a pure accident.
    My thought at this point is that instead of trying out this experiment on the 25,000 of us associated with the campus, maybe the legislators should first make it legal to carry concealed weapons in the House and Senate chambers at Little Rock. They could try it out there for a while BEFORE experimenting on the rest of us. 

    Tuesday, December 18, 2012

    Lindsley Smith, Fayetteville's director of communication, introduces three new members of Fayetteville City Council to new director of Senior Center: Please see link below for photos of New School kids visiting senior center

    Please click on image to ENLARGE.

    For many more photos from Fayetteville Senior Center, including today's photos of youngsters from New School visiting with senior residents of Fayetteville, please see Senior Center set on Flickr.

    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

    Support Peace at Home women's shelter Saturday evening

    Washington County Democratic Women
    Cordially Invites You to Our
    Annual Holiday Party
    December 15
    6:00pm to 9:00 pm
    At the home of Eva Madison and David Pieper
    2600 Candlewood Fayetteville, AR 72703
    Please bring hors d'oeuvre and a donation for Peace at Home.
    (See suggestions below)*
    Please R.S.V.P. by December 12th to
    Eva Madison
    or call (479) 521-2652 (h) or (479) 283-9229 (c)

    Sunday, August 26, 2012

    Democratic national convention coming up soon in Charlotte, North Carolina

    Weekly Update | Sunday, August 26th

    Happy Sunday Democrats,

    It was an extremely busy week with the Monthly Democrats of Washington County Meeting, Naturally Blue Happy Hour (who endorsed Butch Berry), Young Professional for Diana Event, Movie Night at HQ, Candidate Ballot Draw and Washington County Democratic Women's Ice Cream Social!  I don't know about you but I am taking some time today to relax. But don't rest too long, there are only 72 jammed-packed days left before the election.  I know each of you are doing your part to support our great candidates.  I encourage you to dig in a little deeper and encourage your friends, neighbors, co-workers and family to get involved.  TOGETHER WE WIN! 

    In case you missed it last week, we elected new State Committee members at the State Convention last week:  Congrats to: Ezra Smith, Daniel Balls, Dustin Seaton, Vince Chadick, Adella Gray, Maria Hicks, Lauren Marquette and Lisa Whikater.  Party rules require myself and Vice Chair Elizabeth Manney also serve on the State Committee, also.

    By this time next week the Arkansas Delegation to the Democratic National Convention will be heading to Charlotte, NC.  I am honored to be on of the EIGHT delegates from Washington County.  I'll bring you updates and pictures via twitter @TylerBClark.  Feel free o follow me for the latest happenings at the DNC


    Tyler B. Clark
    Washington County Democrats

    Office: 479-856-6127


    Monday, August 20, 2012

    County Democrats gather at 6 p.m. today

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    Official Party Meeting Tonight!

    6:00pm Social Time

    6:30pm Official Business

    Washington County Headquarters

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    Saturday, August 18, 2012

    Jefferson-Jackson Dinner beginning at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock.

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    Arkansas Democratic Party
    Dear Friend,
    As we enter into a weekend of remembering our past and celebrating our future, we mark again the tragic death of our friend, former state senator and Democratic Party of Arkansas Chairman Bill Gwatney. As someone who worked on Bill’s first campaign for state senate, I know that all of us owe a great deal of gratitude to him for everything he did to make our state and our party stronger. He will never be forgotten.                           
    It’s an honor to serve as Chairman in the footsteps of great men and women who have previously served, and we are especially glad to recognize them for their service with a special presentation at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.
    This morning, we will open our state convention with remarks from Gov. Mike Beebe at 8:45 a.m. Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday. You can find the agenda for the day’s activities below or at this link.
    Saturday, August 18       
    Times are subject to change.
    8:45 a.m.
    Chairman Bond calls the state convention to order.  Governor Beebe addresses Arkansas Democrats.
    12:00 p.m.
    Working lunch with a presentation by J-J Special Guest Drew Westen
    1:00 p.m.
    Chairman Bond calls afternoon session of state convention to order, followed by reports from the platform committee and rules committee.
    3:00 p.m.
    Chairman Bond calls state committee meeting to order with newly-elected members. Elections for national committeewoman and committeeman are held.
    We hope to see you all again this evening for the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner beginning at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock.  Please call us at the Democratic Party of Arkansas headquarters at (501) 374-2361 if you have any questions.
    See you in a few minutes!
    With warmest regards,
    Will Bond
    Chairman, Democratic Party of Arkansas
    "Keeping Promises, Getting Results"
    WILLIAM A. GWATNEY DEMOCRATIC HEADQUARTERS 1300 W. Capitol Avenue , Little Rock, AR 72201
    PHONE: 501.374.2361 | FAX: 501.376.8409 | WEB SITE: | EMAIL ADDRESS:

    Thursday, August 9, 2012

    Agenda for Arkansas Democratic Convention Saturday August 18, 2012, pretty busy

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    Arkansas Democratic Party
    Fellow Democrats,
    We have a full agenda for our State Convention on Saturday, August 18th at the Wyndham Hotel in North Little Rock.  Registration and auxiliary meetings will start at 7:30 a.m., and our full state convention will open at 8:45 a.m. with remarks from Governor Mike Beebe and our call to order by Chairman Will Bond.
    U.S. Senator Mark Pryor and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel will also make remarks, followed by our congressional candidates: Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington, Herb Rule, and State Senator Gene Jeffress.
    For the full agenda, click here, or call us at the DPA Headquarters at (501) 374-2361 and ask for Anderson Penix.
    The Jefferson-Jackson Dinner will also be held on August 18th.  Starting at 7:00pm at Verizon Arena, Arkansas Democrats from around the state will enjoy good food, good company, and good speakers in Governor Beebe and political analyst and author Drew Westen.  For information on J-J, please contact Amanda Daugherty at (501) 537-0190 or you can email Amanda at this email address.
    The Young Democrats of Arkansas invite you to kick off the 2012 Jefferson-Jackson weekend with the J-J After Dark Party! All proceeds will go to benefit the Young Democrats of Arkansas.  Tickets are $25 per person.  You can RSVP for the event online here or call YDA President Jessica Xan DeLoach at (501) 765-2677 or email here at this address with any questions.
    The Arkansas Democratic Black Caucus also invites you to the JJ After Mixer, immediately following the J-J Dinner from 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. at the River Trail Station on 140 Riverfront Drive in North Little Rock.  Tickets are $20 and should be purchased from Darrell Stephens, Lynette Vinson or Tony Washington.  For more information, contact us at this email address or call at (870) 403-6187.
    We look forward to seeing you at an exciting Jefferson-Jackson weekend!
    Bluest regards,
    Dawne Benafield Vandiver
    Executive Director
    Democratic Party of Arkansas
    Herb Rule for Congress Campaign Activities
    Help elect our next congressman from central Arkansas, Herb Rule! Volunteer to speak with local voters and help Arkansas Democrats win with phone banks on Monday through Friday from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Herb Rule Campaign Headquarters on 7509 Cantrell Road in Little Rock. Contact Forest Boles at (501) 291-1750 to find out how to get involved.
    Democratic Hispanic Caucus Voter Registration Events
    Beginning this week through October 6th (the last day to register before general election) we will be helping to coordinate weekly voter registration events in NWA. We need everyone to help – Anglo and Hispanic – Bi-lingual, English-only and Spanish-only speakers…it will take ALL of us to get this done and surprise some people in November.  We will be helped in this endeavor by local radio station PSA’s promoting the weekly events. This week – two locales – El Ranchito Supermaket (1900 Huntsville Rd, Springdale) and Supermercado Taranda (1618 South 8th Street, Rogers, AR ) beginning at 11am.  Shifts are available between 11am and 5pm for 90 mins to 2hrs – come for as long as you can and help change the political ‘face’ of NWA. Contact Maria Hicks at 479-422-9273for additional info.
    Pulaski County Democratic Committee Backpack Project
    We are gathering donations from now until August 1. In-kind donations will be accepted until August so that we can assist underprivileged, at-risk elementary and middle school children get school supplies, healthy snacks, and necessary services/information to at least get the kids off to a good start. The Democratic Party of Arkansas has agreed to keep a donation bin at the William Gwatney State Headquarters for drop-in donations. Please consider donating to this project. 
    17th Annual Clark County Clinton Day Dinner
    The Seventeenth Annual Clark County Clinton Day Dinner will be at the Garrison Center, Henderson State University in Arkadelphia. This year’s speaker is Congressman Mike Ross. The Silent Auction begins at 6:00 p.m., the buffet opens at 6:30, the program begins at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $25.00 each/$250 for a table of ten seats. For more information, call Anna Farris 870-230-1550
    Lonoke County Democratic Committee Meeting
    The next meeting of the Lonoke County Democratic Committee will be held on August 23, 2012 at 7:00 PM at the Lonoke County Museum. For more information contact Chairman Tim Blair at 501-628-5000.
    "Keeping Promises, Getting Results"
    WILLIAM A. GWATNEY DEMOCRATIC HEADQUARTERS 1300 W. Capitol Avenue , Little Rock, AR 72201
    PHONE: 501.374.2361 | FAX: 501.376.8409 | WEB SITE: | EMAIL ADDRESS:

    Paid for by the Democratic Party of Arkansas 
    Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.