Cover photo for Joe Louis Middleton's Obituary
Joe Louis Middleton Profile Photo
1938 Joe 2016

Joe Louis Middleton

March 12, 1938 — August 28, 2016

Joe Louis Middleton was born in the small close-knit community of Springhill near Arkadelphia, Arkansas on March 12, 1938. He was the 2nd child of six children born to Cleo and Hazel Murchison Middleton. Raised in a Christian home, he carried those values with him throughout his life. By every account, Joe was an intelligent and gifted child with a gentle nature. Joe accepted Christ as his personal Savior as a little boy and united with the West Gum Springs Church of God in Christ family. He was a life-long member who served as the benevolence committee chair and a member of the board of trustees. He immensely loved his church, yet he was not bound by denomination in his service to his fellow man. He regularly attended bible study and preached good will towards all men. He received his formal education beginning at the rural Curtis School and was a 1958 graduate of the now historic Peake High School. Joe was fascinated with numbers and to no one’s surprise he enrolled at AM& N College, now UAPB. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. The independent spirit, strong character and iron will, of Joe Louis Middleton would be the genesis of his stellar teaching career. Joe met his first wife, Sibyl Logan in Arkadelphia while she was teaching school. They were married and blessed with a beautiful baby boy they named Joel Alonzo. He later met the woman who would prove to be his life-time bride, Leva Jones and after a brief courtship they married on April 15, 1966. They settled in Gum Springs and to this union a son, Rodney was born. He was a gratifying provider, a loving father, and a true friend. Joe secured his first teaching job 105 miles from home in Menifee, Arkansas. He knew the importance of connecting with others and made friends easily. Tall in stature, but gentle in heart he was a surrogate father to many of the students that he taught; exercising discipline, as well as, direction. He later taught at Malvern High School and L.M. Goza Jr. High School in Arkadelphia. He surrendered teaching and worked for Reynolds Metal Company for several years. Again, to no one’s surprise he went back to his first love of teaching. His last and final teaching assignment was back at L. M. Goza Jr. High where he retired. Never being a man to limit himself, he drove bus number 11 for the Arkadelphia School District and worked for the Degray Lake U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a park ranger and boat patrolman. He was widely known for being a basketball referee for years. He would school anyone on the business of “calling a game” and often with a hearty laugh would tell you “If a man is in the air floating forward, he was pushed”. Joe loved the attention of family and friends and he always found a way to make a person smile. He enjoyed get-togethers, eating, sports and playing a fair hand of dominoes. Above all he was an outdoorsman who loved to fish. Fishing was his passion and he looked at it like a kind of a metaphor for a good life: Try your best, hope for the best, have days when you catch something and days when you don't, but always, always be thankful for the sound of the water and the sun in the sky and the chance to cast another reel. Although Joe is no longer with us in body, and his irreplaceable presence will be deeply missed, his legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of all those who were impacted by the amazing life he lived. He leaves his beloved wife, Leva Jones Middleton; two handsome sons, Joel (Linda) Middleton of Chicago, IL and Rodney Middleton of Dallas, TX; two sisters, Eunice (Raymond) Callis of San Antonio, TX and Varrie Nicholson of East St. Louis, IL; one brother, Londell Middleton of Gum Springs, AR; and one brother-in-law, Elder Charles Booker. He also leaves an abundance of nieces, nephews, other relatives, former students and numerous friends.
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Public Visitation

Friday, September 2, 2016

12:00 - 6:00 pm (Central time)

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Celebration of Life

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Greater Pleasant Hill Baptist Church

1600 Caddo St, Arkadelphia, AR 71923

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Fellowship and Lunch

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

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