Vowell joining WBC psychology faculty

VowellWALNUT RIDGE – Dennis Vowell of Paragould is returning to his alma mater, Williams Baptist College (WBC), as a psychology professor. Vowell will join the faculty at WBC this fall.

“Dr. Vowell brings superb academic credentials to his new position and he brings a wealth of practical, clinical experience.  For nearly a decade he has served as a practicing clinical counselor in northeastern Arkansas,” said Kenneth Startup, academic dean at Williams.

Startup said that Vowell has also served for a number of years as an adjunct faculty member for WBC and for Arkansas State University.

Vowell earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Williams and went on to earn master’s and doctorate degrees from Forest Institute of Professional Psychology.  He and his wife, Debi, live in Paragould, and they have two children.

“I am very excited and honored to join the WBC psychology department.  I am looking forward to being a part of a very high quality Christian college,” Vowell said.

Psychology is one of the most popular majors at Williams, and the college offers bachelor’s degrees in psychology and family psychology.


Billy Burks, Cowboy Church pastor, dies at 62

Billy Wayne Burks, 62, of White Hall, died April 19 at Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pine Bluff.

Burks was pastor of Whispering Pines Cowboy Church in Pine Bluff.

He was preceded in death by a son and six brothers.

Survivors include his wife, Hallie Gerard Burks, two daughters, two sisters, and six grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m., Friday, April 22, at Whispering Pines Cowboy Church.



Gladden, longtime IBC member, dies at 88

Robert Howard "Bob" Gladden, 88, of Little Rock, died April 4. Born in Caddo Gap,he lived there until his family moved to Arkadelphia for his four brothers and one sister to attend college. In 1948, he graduated from Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) in Arkadelphia. There he played on the varsity basketball team along with his brother Tom. He made the Arkansas All-State college basketball team in 1947. In 1975, he was honored by OBU with a Distinguished Alumni Award along with his wife, Alla B. Gladden, who predeceased him in 1997 after 48 years of marriage.

After college Gladden served in the U. S. Army, then worked for Reynolds Metals Company in Bauxite for 30
years. He next worked for the Pulaski County School District as Assistant Superintendent for Finance. In 1986, he became the CFO of Coulson Oil Company in North Little Rock, later becoming its senior executive
advisor. He was still working at the time of his death, in his 30th year of service to the company. He also served on the board of Delta Dental of Arkansas for many years.

When he and his wife moved to Little Rock in 1950, they joined Immanuel Baptist Church, where he was a member for more than 65 years. At Immanuel Gladden served as a trustee and a deacon, as chairman of the budget and finance committees, and as a Sunday school director to many groups of young married adults.

He loved to travel the world with his family, visiting 117 countries and every continent. He cherished each trip as "the trip of a lifetime." While traveling he would joke about his birthplace, "We're a long way from the Gap!" Known to all as an optimist, he loved the motto "The harder I work the luckier I get" and his favorite
Bible verse "Let all things be done decently and in order," (I Corinthians 14:40, KJV).

He is survived by two daughters, two grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, a brother, and a sister.

A memorial service was held at Immanuel Baptist Church April 7. A private burial took place at Pinecrest Memorial Park in Alexander.


Betty Ferguson Oliver, 79, dies

Betty Ferguson Oliver, 79, of North Little Rock, died April 9.

She was preceded in death by her parents, a twin brother, a sister, and a brother.

She is survived by her husband of almost 53 years, Robert (Bob) Oliver.

Having served for more than 57 years, she was the longest tenured employee in the entire University of Arkansas system. She served as staff chair for the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension’s Pulaski County program from 1969-2001, and in 2004 was inducted into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall Of Fame.

A longtime member of Little Rock's First Baptist Church, she sang in the choir and served as a group leader in her Bible study class.

After her twin's death, she and her husband established a Robert and Betty Oliver Twins' Scholarship at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia where she served on the Board of Trustees.

She is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University and received a master's degree from the University of Arkansas.

In the fall of 2015, she was the honoree at Stepping Up for Ouachita, an annual event which has raised more than $350,000 in scholarships for women since its inception. Assisting young people in obtaining education has been of paramount importance for her. She was honored to help young people reach their goals, especially through a faithbased college education.

A celebration of her life was held April 12 at Little Rock's First Baptist Church. A graveside service followed at Bluffton Cemetery in Bluffton.



Charles E. (Charlie) West, 62, dies

Charles E. (Charlie) West, 62, of Benton, died April 4.

Charlie was a former hospital administrator most recently at Rivendell Behavioral Health Services.

He was a member of The Church at Rock Creek in Little Rock.

His wife, Karen, is employed by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention in Little Rock.

He was preceded in death by his father and a sister.

Other than his wife, Karen, he is survived by two sons, three grandchildren, his mother, and a sister.

Funeral services were held April 6 at Hurricane Lake Baptist Church in Bryant. Interment followed at Pinecrest Memorial Park in Alexander.