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

Laura Lee Whitson

Saturday, September 13th, 1947 - Sunday, April 25th, 2021
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Laura Lee Whitson, 73, of Fort Smith, Arkansas passed away on Sunday, April 25, 2021. She was born on September 13, 1947 in Fort Smith to Carl and Eunice (Mendenhall) Whitson. A 1965 graduate of Fort Smith Northside High School, Laura went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from the College of the Ozarks and a Master’s Degree in Education from Arkansas Tech. Teaching was one of her many gifts, and she used this gift to nurture children at Howard Elementary and Trusty Elementary in the Fort Smith Public School System for 39 years. After retiring, she worked part-time at Valley Behavioral Health and volunteered as a CASA caseworker. Laura was a true advocate for children. She was also active in the community and had a passion for reading prompting her involvement with The Friends of the Fort Smith Public Library where she served as President of the organization. She was an active member of the Altrusa Club and a volunteer for The Clearinghouse and other charitable organizations. Perhaps most of all, Laura was devoted to God. As a longtime member of Unity Baptist Church, and later, Central Baptist Church, she used her gift for teaching children in Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and as a leader in the Youth Department, taking many teenagers to Bogg Springs Baptist Church Camp. Laura was a tremendous blessing to family and friends and the occasional stranger in need, and the world was a better place with her in it. She was preceded in death by her parents, a brother, Dale Whitson, a sister, Carlene Swearingen, and a nephew, Evan Williams.
Funeral services are Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 2pm at Community Bible Church in Fort Smith under the direction of Ocker-Putman Funeral Home of Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Viewing will be from 4-7 on Thursday, April 29 at the funeral home.
She is survived by her three sisters, Mary Williams and her husband Dennis of Greenwood, AR, Marcie Elliott and her husband Darrell of Van Buren, AR and Nancy Whitson of Fort Smith; her nieces and nephews, Davi Smith, Andrew, Adam and Matthew Elliott, Amy McClure, Kari Hempel, Monte Whitson and Greg Boley; her great nieces and nephews, Emma and John David Smith, Niko and Magnolia Hempel, Jackson Elliott, Nora Costner, Tanner and Tori Porter, Tristan Boley, and Amaya Whitson, as well as a host of extended family and friends.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to The Community Services Clearinghouse, Fort Smith Public Library, and CASA of Sebastian County.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Ocker Putman Funeral Home
    4500 Jenny Lind
    FORT SMITH, AR AR 72901
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Laura may be viewed from 4-7PM on Thursday at the funeral home.
  • Service

    Saturday, May 1st, 2021 | 2:00pm
    Saturday, May 1st, 2021 2:00pm
    Community Bible Church
    9201 Dallas Steet
    fort smith, AR 72903
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Reverend Matt Nowatny
  • Interment

    Woodlawn Memorial Park
    4211 Stateline Road
    FORT SMITH, AR AR 72901
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Mary Jo Kline

Posted at 02:08pm
I am so sorry for your loss. I knew Laura through Altrusa. She was a pleasure to be around. She was a beautiful person. May God bless you at this difficult time.

Mary Jo Kline

Betty Smallwood

Posted at 12:30pm
I regret that I just heard about Laura's passing last night. I would have paid my respects at her memorial service certainly. Laura was a beautiful person in every way. She had so much compassion for others, always first to help someone in need. She had an innate understanding of children especially. I doubt that any student who ever encountered Mrs. Whitson, ever forgot her. She was a great sister, aunt and friend. I loved Laura and will miss her dearly. I can't begin to say enough nice things about this wonderful woman. My heart goes out to her family and friends. Betty Smallwood (colleague of Laura's at Trusty Elementary.)

Carol Burns

Posted at 05:09pm
I met Laura several years ago when she joined Altrusa. She was a wonderful lady and I will miss her very much.

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