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When the Heavenly Father calls a soul to rest, we must be ready to answer the call. Such was the circumstances on Friday, April 3, 2020, when our beloved husband, father, brother and friend, Johnny Talley, Jr., began his journey to a place of infinite tranquility-one without pain and anguish, but of eternal rest.
Johnny Talley, Jr. was born in Whelen Springs, Arkansas, on August 9, 1941 to Johnny and Hattie Young Talley.
His public education began at Upchurch Training School in the rural section of Prescott, Arkansas, in Nevada County. When his family relocated to Little Rock, Arkansas, he remained to attend McRae High School in Prescott, residing in the home of Mrs. Ila Upchurch, a former teacher and an influential presence in the African American community. He was a member of the McRae Tigers’ football team that went undefeated in his senior year under the leadership of renowned coach Russell D. Hawkins. After graduating from high school in 1961, Talley entered AM&N College in Pine Bluff, Arkansas on a football scholarship.
Upon earning his Bachelors of Science Degree in Biology, Talley was hired in the fall of 1965 to teach and coach at his old high school in Prescott. He played semi-professional football in Texarkana, Texas for the Texarkana Titans during the summer breaks. When he relocated to Little Rock, Arkansas in 1968, he played professionally for the Arkansas Diamonds, a member of the Continental Football League. He always joked that his salary playing semi-pro football was larger than what he would have made in the classroom.
After one year with the Arkansas Diamonds, Talley returned to teaching and coaching, which were his passions. After several years he earned a Master’s of Science in Education to advance his passion. He mentored and regularly provided the means and resources for those students-athletics who were without, from equipment to transportation home after late night games to summer jobs to youth mentoring programs, such as Nation Youth Sports Program (NYSP). His gregarious and generous nature endeared him to administrators, colleagues and staff. He often prepared meals for them and shared successful financial investment strategies with them. He taught in Arkansas public schools for forty-two years. Thirty-five years were spent with the school system in North Little Rock, primarily at the former Northeast High School where he taught Biology and served as a football and track coach. He retired on June 11, 2011. He spent his summers coaching AAU track and field. He formed the current North Little AAU Track Club which was the first club in Arkansas and personally sponsored travel and other expenses for the club.
Talley was a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated and the McRae Alumni Association in which he faithfully attended the biennial reunions.
Talley was preceded in death by his parents, Johnny Talley, Sr. and Hattie Young Brewer and one sister, Sylvia Brewer Riley.
His memories will be forever treasured by his beloved wife of 51 years, Willye M. Talley; sons, Kelvin Talley of Griffin, GA and Jonathan Talley of Little Rock, AR; daughter, Kiffinea Talley of Hope, AR; brothers, James Thornton (Agnes) of River Bank, CA, Tommie Brown (Marilyn) and Thomas Brewer (Lisa), both of Little Rock, AR; sister Annie Brewer McGill of Little Rock, AR; sister-in-law, Hazel McGee of Grand Prairie, TX; godson; Randall Bradley of Little Rock, AR; grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.
A walk-through visitation will be Saturday, April 11, 2020 from 2:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Premier Funeral Home in Little Rock, Arkansas with graveside services at 4:00 p.m. at Pinecrest Memorial Park in Alexander, Arkansas under the direction of Williams Funeral Home. Due to the COVID-19 virus and the nature of the death, we must insist that no lingering will be allowed after you have paid your respect to the family, we ask that you leave so others may have the chance to enter the funeral home.
Submitted by the Talley Family
Saturday, April 11, 2020
2:00 - 3:00pm (Central time)
Premier Funeral Home
Saturday, April 11, 2020
Starts at 4:00pm (Central time)
Pinecrest Memorial Park
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