Raymond Leon Beard, the youngest child of Daisy E. Grandy Beard and Claudie Beard was born on January 13, 1941. He was a vigorous lad, full of energy with an adventurous spirit. He was nick-named “West”. He grew up to love the game of baseball and football. “West” inherited this love and skill from his father who played professional baseball for an “All negro” baseball team in the early 30’s up until 1935.
In 1959, Raymond graduated from Peake High School. West played the quarterback position his junior and senior year for the Peake High School Buffaloes. It was there at Peake where he learned the greatest values in life of good sportsmanship, fair play and kindness for all mankind. He loved to talk and never met a stranger. He was later drafted into the United States Army. After serving a tour of duty he was honorable discharged with the rank of First Sergeant. Raymond felt like it was time to settle down and become a productive citizen of Arkadelphia. He met a young lady by the name of Virgal Joy D. Franklin. She captured his heart and that young lady became his “lady”, Mrs. Raymond L. Beard. They were united in marriage on November 28, 1968.
He was a very hard working man and was employed at the National Gypsum and International Paper Company – Gurdon Plywood Plant, where he was employed for 21 years until his early retirement.
Raymond Leon Beard departed from this world on Wednesday, August 5, 2015 at Arkansas Hospice in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He was preceded in death by his parents, Daisy and Claudie Beard and his dear sisters, Pauline and Charlene Beard Nelson.
A final decision was made on the part of Raymond to take care of his spiritual needs. He felt this was a necessary step for him to change his lifestyle; so he began a bible study with one of the Elders in the congregation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Raymond loved his study of the bible. He learned that God’s name is Jehovah and was thrilled to learn that Jehovah through His Son, Jesus Christ promises a resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous. He wanted his family to know that he believed in that hope. He loved his study of the bible and did not want to stop for anything. He continued with his study of the bible right up to his untimely illness and death.
Raymond leaves lasting memoires in the hearts of his dear wife, Joy D. Franklin Beard; his foster son, Frank Taylor (Amanda) and five foster grandchildren, Skye Anne, Ceazia, Ebony, Noel, and Aniah; his brother, Claudie E. Beard (Alberta); his brothers-in-law, James Nelson and Jerry Taylor (Callie) and his sister-in-law, Eddie Jean Mitchell; his uncle by marriage, John Cummings and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and numerous friends.
A memorial service will be held at 3pm on Saturday, August 22, 2015 at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 240 Malvern Rd, and Caddo Valley. Interment at the VA Cemetery in North Little Rock, Arkansas.