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4500 Jenny Lind Road
Fort Smith, AR | 72901
700 Jefferson St.
Van Buren, AR | 72956
Richard Kelton

Richard Stephen "Steve" Kelton

Sunday, June 12th, 1955 - Monday, February 8th, 2021
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Richard Stephen “Steve” Kelton, 65 of Van Buren passed away Monday, February 8, 2021 in his home. He was a facility manager at Heritage United Methodist Church in Van Buren which he was also a member. He was preceded in death by his father Bill Kelton.

He is survived by one daughter Amanda Lee Davis and husband Matt of Beebe, Arkansas; one son Daniel Stephen Kelton and wife Tara of Greenwood; his mother Emma Lee Kelton of Van Buren; a brother Kevin Kelton of Fort Smith; four grandchildren.

Family held memorial service will be 10AM, Thursday, February 11, 2021 at Heritage United Methodist Church in Van Buren. Arrangements and cremation are under the direction of Ocker Funeral Home in Van Buren.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Heritage Building Fund, 1604 East Pointer Trail, Van Buren, Arkansas 72956 or Hearts of Hope Ministry, 4306B Alma Highway, Van Buren Arkansas 72956.

Due to the COVID-19 cases, please wear your mask, your cooperation would be greatly appreciated.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Thursday, February 11th, 2021 | 10:00am
    Thursday, February 11th, 2021 10:00am
    Heritage United Methodist Church
    1604 Pointer Trail
    VAN BUREN, AR 72956
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Pastor Wesley Hilliard


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J. Wesley Hilliard

Posted at 07:33pm
Here are some of the comments from the Heritage staff that I did not get to include at the funeral, Pastor Wes Hilliard
Almost no one spent more time with Steve the past five years than our Heritage Staff:
Brian Seewald, former youth minister and now disciple-making minister says, “I appreciated his love and interest for me and my family”

Pam James says, “My kids sent me all kinds of pictures of them with Steve. I was reminded how much he loved my family. He was going through the Experiencing God devotional, and getting more excited about his faith.”

Becki Kneeland – “No one was harder on Steve than himself. You didn’t have to point out his flaws. The Draw the Circle book we are currently going through, meant so much to him.”

Bobby Boyakin says, “As rough as he seemed on outside, he was very tender on the inside. I will miss being able to get frustrated with him”

Another said, “I’ll miss seeing how the little kids loved him; how they would jump into his arms.”

Jake Simmons says, “I will miss him coming to my office and checking through all the food I had for the youth. He’d say, “What other food do you have in here?” He always had the report on Monday on what food was in the fridge from the weekend.
Madison says, “We’d call him “Grandpa” in stores and say, ‘Now grandpa, don’t be doing that.’”

Roger says, “He had a way of offending people. He’d come in my office and say, ‘I need to tell you what I did and I’m going to apologize.’” I appreciated his willingness to apologize non-stop.
We’ll never know all Steve did because he did so much of it behind the scenes.”

Brian Seewald says, "He was a worshipper." … Steve said, “My favorite time of the day is before everyone gets here and the band is going through its worship sound check …”

Becki Kneeland says Steve chided her Sunday, “You aren’t peppy enough for greeting like Stephanie.”
He was a good encourager. His favorite thing to do was encouraging and doing the welcome desk.

Renee Henson says, Steve was a mentor in the school district. He was the very best that we had because he stayed in touch with the kids …

Velta Thomas

Posted at 04:39pm
We loved Steve so much. He always had a smile you and always spoke to you. Even if he was busy and you passed on by he would come find you and say hello. He was such a very special person. We will miss him so much. Our prayers are with Emma Lee and the family. Our hearts are comforted by knowing that he is in heaven and laughing and joking around with Bill and Jesus.
Our sincerest condolences,
Rob & Velta Thomas

Lisa Butler

Posted at 07:22am
Steve was the nicest, most down to Earth guy who always went out of his way to talk to you and make you feel welcomed and comfortable. He was always joking around and laughing. He is going to be missed so much! I cannot believe he is gone. Our loss but Heaven’s gain.

Sarah Kneeland

Posted at 02:47am
It is hard to find the words to say. Although I didn't speak to Steve everyday he always seemed to know what was going on in my life. There would be days I would call my mom and steve would be right there ready to ask me to sing for him over the phone, or he would simply want to know how my day was. His ability to make anyone feel important and like you hung the moon was admirable. I first met Steve when I was apart of the youth at heritage. Even then I saw his unique ability to include everyone around him by just being himself. It's hard for me to imagine coming back home and not running up to the church to say hi to Steve and all of the other staff members. Steve was such a good person that I am so fortunate to have known. I wish I could be there to celebrate his life and all the good that he did. I will sure miss him.

Brian Seewald

Posted at 05:48pm
From Many Friends!

Laura Moore
I remember meeting him for the first time working the food pantry together he had just starting coming to church and it didn’t take long to know I liked working with him. When he join  youth we had already known each other well so it wasn’t long before he was teasing me and giving me a hard time like the rest of the guys did but he also always knew when I needed to hear something nice to! No one can have enough big brothers in their life. I will miss him but find comfort in knowing exactly where he is❤️

Erin Brown
He always took Jude out of my arms and said "come here bud, let's give your mom a break". Every time I was at the church during the week or on sundays he did this. This past Sunday, Joey was working and Steve saw me in the hall with all 3 and of course, he took Jude walking down the halls.. such a sweet man. He loved all 3 of my kids like they were his own and we loved him the same!
Mr. Steve is a big reason why my kids love church so much.

Boo Edmonds
I didn't know him well but he always smiled and said hello to me and my family.

Sarah Walker
He was one of kind and one of the Best ever!! My heart is so shattered. He will be so greatly missed. Love you always Steve!

Bailee Woodard
He was the absolute BEST!! Going to miss him so much! Love you forever Steve. I remember when I got my wallet stolen in New York and was completely devastated as soon as we got back on the Subway I was bawling my eyes out and Steve came up to me and gave me the biggest hug and said "quit crying you're ugly when you crying" and to this day I still think about it just about every-time i cry and for some reason it gives me strength. He also gave me all of his tickets from the trip because all of mine were in my wallet (that got stolen) because I was so upset I lost them.... another story I have that I think is just funny is Steve would take my sisters and I down to the snowcone shack ALL the time during the last couple summers and every single time he would order a snowcone he would peak his head in the stand and whisper "can I have a Barbie" because he was SOOO embarrassed to order out loud then one time they couldn't hear him so he yelled "BARBIE" and it was just the funniest thing! Steve would also go outside at the church and play basketball with me all the time, he would support me at so many of my games, he was just such an amazing guy and friend. We would have long conversations every single time I was up at the church throughout the week and we would definitely spend lots of time on Sundays talking. I remember when Steve gave his testimony up in youth one night it just brought tears to my eyes because he came from the lowest of it all and has done SO much with his life to get where he was. He had such an amazing story that I will never forget. He made such an impact on my entire family's life. He was the absolute best guy there was!

Lisa Butler
He was the nicest, friendliest, most down to Earth guy! He always spoke and greeted everyone and made everyone feel comfortable. He is going to be missed tremendously!

Travis McMillan
Steve was and is a great guy!
I will miss him always asking me if I am staying out of trouble and miss working with him.

Bruce Brown
So many great memories with Steve! What a great example of a servant! He never met a stranger!

Jennifer Gregory
Steve was not just an awesome friend, he was a great mentor. He was constantly encouraging me to be better and leading me to be better. He was always there when you needed him, to fix anything or help you. He might've complained just a tad, but it was all out of fun. I will miss him and remember him every time I walk through the church.

Bethany Mason
Steve was a great man that always made sure everyone knew they were cared about. Our birthdays were just a few days apart and he never let me forget that, he called me “his birthday buddy” or “Brittany,” a remnant of a high school joke. No matter how long I’d be gone from Heritage for college I knew that when I came back I could expect a welcoming smile, a “Hey Brittany”, and hug from Steve. He was really what being the church was about, loving, welcoming, and serving others.

Bryan Cates
I didn't know Steve very long but he encouraged me a lot...he talked with me and texted me whenever I needed to talk...he inspired me to work hard and was excited about my relationship with Landon after all these years...i know he's in heaven where we all want to be....but I don't understand why God put him here to help me and now he's not sorry I'm just sad and confused"

McKenna Wilburn
Such an amazing person

Cindy Nelson (VBHS Counselor)
He was always so helpful and the kindest man when we would come over to Heritage for our high school senior luncheons. He was a great guy!

Susan Moore
When my grandson, Cash Springwater, started coming to church with us to attend children’s church Steve became a great motivator for Cash. They would high-five each other every opportunity. It made Cash feel like he was an important part of the day. We will surely miss Steve.

Earl Craft
Steve and I tried to be accountabilty partners. We would ask 'Have you prayed for anyone today? How about raising the dead, healing the sick or walking on water?' We enjoyed weird conversations and would laugh a lot. Gonna miss my brother!

Katie Lovette
Wow. I can't even believe I'm writing this. It's so hard to imagine coming to church every week and not seeing my friend Steve. He was so much more than just the guy who was always at the church. Steve was my friend and he loved my family like we were his own. I first met him when we were both serving as volunteers for youth ministries. We served together on many Wednesday and Sunday nights. We took several trips with the Youth. He was my buddy on the bus rides. He shared my love of snacking and playing cards. He looked after me on road trips like I was his own daughter. When I was pregnant with my daughter, he constantly checked on me and encouraged me about being a mom. When I had doubts about my ability to care for an infant, he always reassured me that I would know what to do when the time came. When I had Stella, he was always checking on her when she was at school and doting on her like she was his granddaughter.
Steve had shared his testimony with me over the years. He came to Heritage in the humblest of circumstances, but I think he would tell you now-It was the best thing that could have happened to him. I think he learned more about the grace of God these last few years than he ever had before. I think he learned more about serving and loving the church than he ever had before.  

Steve had a way of complimenting woman that was, well, sometimes offensive. I always knew he had the best of intentions though. Except for the time he told me my hair looked like I had stuck my finger in a light socket, I'm not sure what his intentions were ,other than honesty, and I think, in hindsight, he was probably right.  

I will miss those compliments, even the terrible ones. I will miss seeing your face at church. I will miss your encouragement. I will miss baking you pies and cookies. I will miss knowing I can call you if I need anything at all... I will miss my friend.
Until we meet again... Katie  

Karen Beckner
He was wonderful. He helped me with Matthew 25 back to school bash every year.  He was funny and just a joy to be around.  Praying for his family and church family.

Lyla Wright
When I did Timothy team last year, he was in the class with Mrs. Allison, and he was the funniest guy. When Mrs. Allison asked “Who didn’t do their homework?” He would point at me and look away, lol, and he would stare at me during class to make sure I was doing what I was supposed to be doing, he was a great guy, and I will miss him very very much.

Katie Brown
I literally entered the building this Sunday morning with Steve picking at me and always in such fun, and exited the church with Steve teasing me still. His nickname for my Peyton was
"Peyton with an e”.

Justin Lovette
Every Sunday when we ushered and even not ushering before covide we would compare/compete on who hugged the most people. After covid he as an employee was limited so I would still say how many people I got to hug. Most importantly every Sunday we found each other to hug and say I love you. I am very thankful for that hug this past Sunday and the time we talked after church. Steve was more than special, I would try to explain it to him, he just didn't know. I will miss my friend and encourager. Love you Steve!

Judd Tuttle
He always had a way of bringing out the best in me and everyone else in the pulse group.

Doris Wortham
Steve always had a smile on his face, ready to tease, and build you up! He will certainly be missed!  Blessings to Emily and the rest of the family.

Christina Cazzell
Chloe made homemade oatmeal cream pies for Steve several times. He loved them and would always go on and on about how good they were. He really encouraged her to keep baking and doing what she loves! Every time he would see her he would say, “Where are my cookies at?” Or “Did you bring cookies this time?” Such a great guy!

Bob Bretch
Steve and I worked together at the food panty getting the truck , going to the River Valley Food Pantry then to Heritage to unload. We had many great conversations and laughs. Steve was smart and quick whited. I always looked forward to our trips together. We were also in Sunday School together with many great studies. We worked with the Pulse ministry together for years. So many great experiences with our wonderful youth and awesome leaders. I will miss Steve terribly. He was a good friend. Heavens gain is our loss.

Alexis Boster
I will always miss my fellow Steelers fan! It was fun always talking about the game we would probably miss because we would be at church on Sundays. We agreed a couple weeks ago to find a new team since they looked so bad!
He was always the first to encourage and tell you to keep going. He was always the first to admit he had made some poor choices and still had work to do on himself. I hoped he realized what an impact he had on so many. He always had a smile, laugh or encouraging word with of course some sarcasm thrown in! Church won’t be the same without him and he will be so missed.

Renee Baldwin
One of the sweetest, most thoughtful, kind person I have known. I loved talking with him. Love to his family and many friends.

Kim Tinsley
Steve was always smiling and only had kind words to say!! At preschool he would always tell us that he needed to go to other side of church that there was way to many ladies and he knew we would either complain about being cold or hot!! He will be missed!!

Loved Jesus!
Partner in ministry!
Steve and I talked nearly everyday. We talked about walking with Jesus, family, sports, food...nearly everything! We were open books with each other. He loved the Steelers...I did not...hahaha! Recently we talked about our past trips, times of deep conversations and growth in the Lord. I will miss very bit of that! I am blessed to have known Him...even more blessed that He knows Jesus!
Until we meet again "dude": love ya!
Brian Seewald

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