Clora Myrtle Smith Parham was born in Jacinto, Arkansas, on June 11, 1933, to Reverend Ray M. and Essie Jones Smith. She grew up in a home just up the road from her birthplace. On that land years later, she and her husband built the cabin she always wanted, for family gatherings of generations to come. She graduated Valedictorian of her class from Princeton High School in 1951 and attended Magnolia A&M (now SAU) and Little Rock Junior College (now UALR). She attended Beech Grove Baptist Church. She died on Wednesday, March 4, 2015, at the age of 81.
Clora was a homemaker in every sense of the word. She married Edward Parham, also of the Jacinto community, on August 8, 1953. They had five children and they were each Mama’s favorite. She was an excellent cook and for nearly 30 years made sure her children had a hot breakfast every morning before sending them to school. She was the family caretaker and helped care for her parents and in-laws when it was needed, as well as for extended family members. She was a kind and generous person with a keen mind, a gentle spirit, and a very dry sense of humor, a trait she passed along to all of her children. As quiet as she was, her absence will be felt strongly by her loved ones.
Clora was a genealogist who researched extensively all sides of her family, as well as her husband’s. She was introduced to the internet in 1997 and was thrilled to the world it opened up to her in researching and connecting her to others in that same pursuit. Being an historian and a storyteller, she compiled The History of Jacinto and was a key contributor to Keeping Up with the Joneses, a family history/cookbook. She was a lifelong expert quilter, and made innumerable hand-pieced quilts. She was proud of winning the blue ribbon for her double-wedding ring quilt at the Dallas County Fair as a young teenager. She could create anything using needle, thread, and fabric. She will be buried with her final quilt.
Clora was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Chicot Trace Chapter, serving as recording secretary for many years. She was a member of the Mayflower Society and the American Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary. She was a supporter of the Senior Citizens’ Center and was a Dallas County Museum volunteer, who also used her organizational and sewing skills to assist with fundraising. Clora volunteered in many church and civic activities throughout her life.
Clora’s family was her greatest accomplishment, with her children and their families numbering 31, with another one on the way. As the matriarch, it seems fitting that she be the first to go, so she would never suffer the loss of one of them. She will have everything ready and waiting for them when they come home, just as she did in her time here on Earth.
Preceding her in death were her parents, brother, Randolph, and sister, Rosie Jane Jones, as well as many beloved family members.
Survivors are her husband, Edward, of the home, children Edward Ray (Teresa) Parham of Camden, Carol Jane (Neil) Wright of Lewisville, Rodney Jay (Kim) Parham of Little Rock, Susan Elaine (Raymond) Adams of Texarkana, and Sandra Ann (Steven) Turner of Sheridan. Her grandchildren are Stacy (Dan) Breshears, Aaron (Jessica) Wright, Kenny (Nicole) Wright, Nathan (Gee) Adams, Nicholas Adams, William and Caroline Parham, Jacob Turner, and Robert Parham. Great-grandchildren are Cora Helen Breshears, Morgan, Addison, Lily, Elijah, and Zoey Wright, Klaire Wright, and Blake Kim. She is also survived by her sister, Doris Beeson Faulkner of Camden, her sister-in-law, Bonnie Smith of Mountain Home, and many nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be Monday, March 9, at 10:00 am at Benton Funeral Home, Fordyce, with Rev. John Steelman and Rev. John Franklin Walker officiating. Burial will follow at Temperance Hill Cemetery with a graveside marking conducted by members of the Chicot Trace Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. Her grandsons will be her pallbearers.
Visitation will be held Sunday, March 8, from 6:00-8:00 pm at Benton Funeral Home.