William Clyde “Bill” Huddleston, 71, of Batesville entered into the presence of the Lord on May 11, 2005. Born July 24, 1933 in Newport, he was the son of Fanny Pelley and Clyde Huddleston. He served as a Baptist minister from the time he was in high school until 1967 when he felt called into a broader ministry. This ministry over the next 40 years touched an untold number of lives, helping to improve the circumstances of society’s castaways. He spent the last 30+ years as teacher of the Chaney Fellowship Class at FirstUnitedMethodistChurch in Batesville. He was a graduate of BaylorUniversity, Southern Seminary, and the University of Cincinnati.
In 1974, he assumed leadership of what would become the North Arkansas Human Services System, now renamed Health Resources of Arkansas (HRA), which provides numerous housing, counseling, drug and alcohol rehabilitation services.
Bill was a true visionary. It was said of Senator Robert Kennedy, “Some men see things as they are and say ‘why?’. I dream things that never were and say ‘why not?’” Bill Huddleston created systems of care that included services to all people no matter their status. His collaborative approach was particularly responsive in an area that had serious shortages of basic health and human services. In addition to developing HRA by whom he was employed, Bill was an active leader in many other programs. His reputation for grant writing and securing funding sources was unrivaled. Bill was instrumental in obtaining start-up funds for programs such as White RiverMedicalCenter, White River Area on Aging, CARTI, and the emergency medical system, now Vital Link.
These efforts were recognized by numerous awards. Selected as Young Man of the Year in El Dorado in 1967, Bill went on to achieve many other awards during his lifetime. He was selected Board Member of the Year, Arkansas Regional Medical Program; Outstanding Arkansas Citizen Award, Arkansas House of Representatives; Arkansas Association of Human Services Providers, Provider of the Year; Outstanding Rural Health Administrator, National Rural Primary Care Association; President, Arkansas Council of Community Health Centers; Region VI Distinguished Service Award, National Council of Community Mental Health Centers, New Orleans; Board of Directors, Mental Health Corporations of America, Tallahassee, FL; Secretary-Treasurer, Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), Tucson, AZ. While these awards represent the diversity of Bill’s accomplishments, what you come back to is his sense of community ministry which was actually serving his fellow man.
Bill’s deep love of mankind was exemplified through the love he had for his family. Always the protector and provider, he was the consummate patriarch. God’s unconditional love was reflected through his love for his wife, children and grandchildren.
He is survived by his wife, Frances Flener of the home; a son, Mark Huddleston of Colorado Springs, Colorado; a daughter, Kim Huddleston Wagster of Batesville; four grandchildren Heather and Jamie Huddleston of Colorado Springs, Colorado and David and Lauren Wagster of Batesville.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and a sister, Jane Lamitina.
Pallbearers are Phillip Lamitina, Marcus Bowers, Fred Gray, Joe Don Reynolds, Jim West and Ed Wiles. Honorary pallbearers are the Chaney Fellowship Class, Board of Directors and Staff of Health Resources of Arkansas, Inc., Mary Aleese Schreiber, Tom Grunden, Herman Lee, and Tommy Mitchum.
The funeral will be held at the FirstUnitedMethodistChurch in Batesville on Saturday, May 14, 2005 at with Reverend LaVon Post, Reverend Raymond T. Ward, and Reverend David Coleman officiating.
Visitation will be Friday, May 13, 2005 from at Roller-Crouch Funeral Home.
Burial will be Sunday at in the AberdeenBaptistChurchCemetery in Morgantown, Kentucky. Arrangements are by Roller-Crouch Funeral Home of Batesville (870) 793-4161
Memorials may be made to the WilburD.MillsCenter, Attn: Bernis Medlock, P.O. Box 2578, Batesville, AR72503