Jo Ella Clemons, age 87, died peacefully on November 28, 2016 at Hospice House of the Hills in Harrison, Arkansas after a long struggle with myelofibrosis. Psalms 116:15 says: ''Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants''. Jo Ella Clemons was a faithful servant of Jesus Christ and a gracious caretaker, nurturer, and spiritual mentor to her family. She gave them the gift of unconditional love. Jo Ella was born June 1, 1929 in Marshall, Arkansas, the daughter of Doyne Watts and Audie (McClung) Watts. She had 6 siblings. On July 19, 1953, she married JW Clemons of Snowball and in 2016 they celebrated 63 years together. While she was teaching in Marshall and JW was coaching in Snowball, they were introduced to each other by a fellow teacher. After 6 short months of dating, they were married and JW sold his best coon dog to buy Jo Ella's engagement and wedding rings. They had a happy marriage and experienced wonderful years of family life together. They had two daughters, Paula and Mitzi, who were raised on a small farm in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Together they made a great teaching duo with JW Clemons as Superintendent of Schools and Jo Ella teaching 5th grade.
If you could sum up a person's life in one word, Jo Ella Clemons' purpose was to be a TEACHER. She started her school teaching career at the age of 16 in a one room school house in Barren Hollow, teaching all 8 grades. She stayed with friends, walked a mile to school, carried her own water and swept her own floors. Later, after graduating from Arkansas Teacher's College (now UCA) in Conway she taught elementary school for 37 years. She taught in Barren Hollow, Marshall, Cotter, Eureka Springs and Alpena where she primarily taught 5th grade. She touched hundreds of children's lives not only as a school teacher, but as a teacher in Sunday school, VBS, and 4H Club. She loved teaching children's church, which she did until the age of 80. She also taught adult bible classes until the age of 87. She taught her family many precious lessons and her goal in life was to teach us to love God, serve others, be compassionate, put family first and appreciate all God's blessings. Both mom and dad taught us what it was to have a happy close knit family. Even during her illness and death, she taught us how to have courage and accept whatever God's plan is for us with calmness and peace. She was an active member of Alpena Baptist Church and supported community activities.
Jo Ella was an excellent cook. Her family and friends enjoyed many home cooked meals and sweets. Our family loved big breakfasts with yeast biscuits and dinners with her famous hot rolls. Everyone got their favorite cake on their birthday, decorated just for them. Mom was a pie maker and was known all over for her fried pies. Our family meal times and gatherings were graced with Mom's great cooking. Mom was a seamstress and made most of her girl's clothes as well as her own until we were in college. She was a gardener and enjoyed canning vegetables. Mom loved to dress in matching outfits and wear pretty jewelry. She loved hearing compliments of how pretty she looked from her church family and other friends. Jo Ella's kids and grandkids were the joy of her life. She was a ''memory maker''. She purposefully planned and did activities to give us great memories as a family. Mom had a big box of books under her bed and she read to us every night. Mom was a simple woman who lived an extraordinary life. She was interested in everyone she met. When you left a conversation with her, she knew all about you. She loved to spend time at their cabin on the farm and enjoyed riding four wheelers on the farm.
Preceded only by her love for Jesus was the love for her family. She is survived by JW Clemons of the home; daughters, Paula Inman of Berryville and Mitzi Peronia of Pea Ridge; special friend and ''adopted daughter'' Jan Zink of Lincoln, NE; Grandsons, Levi Peronia of Pea Ridge and JD Peronia and his wife, Jessica of Harrison; one great granddaughter Jade Rylee Peronia of Harrison. Siblings and spouses are: Billie and Morris Cooper of Harrison, Webster and Ruby Watts of Booneville, Jerry and Sharyn Watts of Chicago and Delores Kinsey of Wyoming and New Mexico, and a host of nieces and nephews and other relatives. She was preceded in death by her parents Doyne and Audie Watts, and infant sister, Doris Fayrene and older sister, Sara Ellen Watts Moore.
We would like to say thank you to her Church family at Alpena Baptist Church for all the love and care they have shown her through the years. The family would also like to express their deep gratitude to Dr. Charles Klepper, Dr Abdalal and their nurses and staff. We are thankful for your compassionate kindness and quality medical care given to our loved one. We would also like to thank Angie Ward,RN and the staff at Hospice House of the Hills in Harrison and the entire nursing staff, kitchen staff, and housekeeping staff of NARMC.
Visitation will be Wednesday, November 30th, between 6-8 pm at Alpena Baptist Church. Celebration of her life will be at Alpena Baptist Church with Brother Freddie Blevins officiating on December 1, 2016 at 10:00 am. Graveside services will be at Memorial Garden Cemetery in Marshall Arkansas on December 1st at 2 pm. Pallbearers are JD Peronia, Levi Peronia, Tim Cooper, Philip Watts, Ted Moore and Steve Turner. Honorary Pallbearers are Morris Cooper, David Thomason, Elbert Qualls and Bro Dean Smith. Special Friends are the Adult Bible Class of Alpena Baptist Church and the Adult Women's Sunday School Class of Alpena Baptist Church.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made ''In memory of Jo Ella Clemons'' to: Hospice House of the Hills 501 E Sherman St. Harrison, AR 72601 or The nearest Red Cross Blood Bank. Hospice House online donation website: www.hospiceofthehills.com