Feb. 16, 1936 – March 5, 2020
Bill Blakely of Nashville, Ark., passed away on March 5, 2020, at the age of 84.
Bill was born on Feb. 16, 1936, at home in Nashville, Ark., the oldest of five sons of Henry Blakely and Leone Elder Blakely.
Bill graduated in 1954 from Nashville High School and later earned a degree from Mississippi College. He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1954. In 1955, Bill married his high school sweetheart, Mary Russell. In the following 22 years in the Air Force, Bill was stationed in Texas, California, Iceland, Oklahoma, Louisiana, England and Mississippi. Bill also served in Vietnam from 1970 – 1971.
After retiring from the Air Force in 1976, Bill went on to work as a paralegal for a law firm and then to Mississippi Title Insurance Company in Jackson, MS until retiring in 1998 and moving back home to Nashville.
Bill was a member of First Baptist Church of Nashville, where he taught adult Bible classes and served on numerous church committees. Bill helped establish the Christian Health Center of Howard County, a health clinic providing free basic medical and dental care to those in need. Bill also served on the Clinic Board of Directors for several years. Bill also served on the Nashville Cemetery Board and volunteered with Operation Christmas Child. In recognition of his many community efforts, Bill was named Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year in 2009.
Bill’s love of family led the Blakelys back to Nashville upon retirement where they could be closer to family and lifelong friends. Golf was a passion of Bill’s and he was a member and Director of the Senior Golf Association of Arkansas. He was also known for his sweet tooth and could never pass up a bowl of ice cream or a tasty dessert. He shared his wonderful jellies and fudge widely.
Bill was preceded in death by his father, mother and three brothers, Roy Blakely, Bob Blakely and Marcus “Ray” Blakely.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Mary Russell Blakely; his son, Jeff Blakely, and his wife, JoAnne, of St. Augustine, Fla.; his brother, Ronny Blakely and his wife, Jeanne, of Greensboro, N.C.; his sisters-in-law, Shirley Blakely and Pat Blakely of Nashville, Ark., and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. on Monday, March 9, at Latimer Funeral Home in Nashville.
A graveside service will be held on Tuesday, March 10 at 10:30 a.m. at Nashville Cemetery under the direction of Latimer Funeral Home. Kevin Sartin and David Blase will be officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Operation Christmas Child, P.O. Box 339, Nashville, AR 71852.
You may send an online message at www.Latimerfuneralhome.com.