Cover photo for Rutha Bell Carrigan's Obituary
Rutha Bell Carrigan Profile Photo
1951 Rutha 2023

Rutha Bell Carrigan

March 1, 1951 — June 23, 2023

Hope, Arkansas

Rutha Bell Porter Carrigan was the first child born to Jessie Porter and Rubie Lee Archer Porter on March 1, 1951, in Washington, Arkansas. She dedicated her life to Christ at a tender age and was baptized at Macedonia Baptist Church in Columbus. Rutha was a 1968 graduate of Henry C. Yeager High School in Hope, Arkansas.

She married James E. Carrigan on March 17, 1969, and they started a family. Rutha busied herself being a wife and mother to five children all while working in food service at Lincoln High School in Washington.  Rutha was a soul food “boiling pots” cooking type of woman that prepared and served hundreds of thousands of meals to students for more than three decades as a cafeteria worker. She dedicated her life to making sure that every child had plenty of food to eat, often doubling and tripling their serving. Unknowing to her supervisor she would often pack up leftover food and distribute it to families throughout the community.

She was the surrogate mother to many children and always reminded them to stay in school, get an education and be responsible in life.

Rutha was a lifelong member of Macedonia Baptist Church where she served as president of the deaconess and a former choir member. She was a member of the Angelic Missionary Gospel Singers and the Lincoln High School Reunion Committee.

She was independent and a “go-getter." She enjoyed traveling, shopping, and line dancing with her favorite line dance being "The Electric Slide." Her company was comprised of “young folks”, who kept her lively, informed, and updated. She had long ago overcome her shyness and was widely known for her quick wit and charm. She enjoyed dressing up in her suits, heels, and purse for events just as much as she enjoyed dressing down in order to find a better fishing spot at the water’s edge.

She greeted life and its circumstances with a style and grace all of her own. On Friday, June 23, 2023, she traded time for eternity. Though she departs this life in body, her memory will live on forever. She was preceded in death by her parents, Jessie and Rubie Lee Archer Porter; siblings, Garland Porter, Jessie Mae Carrigan, and Annie Mae McFadden and her daughter, Deidra Neshia Carrigan (October 3, 2020).

Those left to relish in her memory are her husband, James E. Carrigan of Hope, AR; four sons, James E. (Elonda) Carrigan, Jr., Anthony R. Porter, and Derrick Carrigan all of Hope and Corey Carrigan of Texarkana, AR; her grandchildren, Fredricka Carrigan, Madisyn Ellis, Chansten Washington, Ashlynn Toney, Mariah Porter, Courtlin Carrigan, and Landree Carrigan; two great-grandchildren, Ja’Kaiden and Ja’Kaidence; three sisters, Everlean Porter of Little Rock, Carolyn Porter of Hope, and Marilyn (Clayton) Miller of Bossier City, LA; sisters-in-law, Leola (Jerome) Green of Hope, and Carolyn M. Porter of Hope and a brother-in-law, uncle, Tommie Carrigan of Bossier City. She also leaves her nieces, nephews, numerous friends, and the Macedonia Baptist Church, Columbus family who loved her and added to the richness of her life.

Public visitation will be from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Friday, June 30, 2023, at Macedonia Baptist Church, 2333 Highway 73 W, Washington, AR 71862. A Celebration of her life will be shared at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 1, 2023, at Macedonia Baptist Church Rev. Lorenzo Kelly, eulogist, and Rev. B. D. Williamson, officiating.  The interment will be at Westmoreland Cemetery.

Pallbearers will be Patrick Dennis, Eric Lowe, Tracy Ford, Ricardo Cheathem, Trey Glover, Gerald Browning, Allen Golston and Lamont Miller. Honorable to mention is James E. Carrigan, Jr., Anthony Porter, Derrick Carrigan, Corey Carrigan, Eugene Green and Chris Carrigan, Felix Carrigan, Jefferey Porter, Marcus Miller, Phil L. Stuard, Jr., Dajuan Ingram, Wallace McGill, and Terry McGill.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Rutha Bell Carrigan, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, June 30, 2023

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Macedonia Baptist Church Columbus

2333 AR-73, Washington, AR 71862

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Macedonia Baptist Church Columbus

2333 AR-73, Washington, AR 71862

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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