On June 23, 2019, Dr. John L Vandiver of Heber Springs went to be with his Lord; he was 94. John was born July 22, 1924, near Des Arc, Arkansas, to William and Orlee Vandiver. As a child, he learned the value of hard work while helping maintain the family’s 60-acre farm. For his first eight years of school, John walked six miles a day to attend the Holloway two-room school; this was followed by a 12-mile walk each day to attend Griffithville High School, where he met his best friend and wife of 68 years, Juanita.
On April 9, 1944, John and Juanita were married; they then moved to Jacksonville, AR where they were both employed by the local ammunition plant. Three months after his marriage, he was inducted into the U.S. Army Infantry Corps, finished basic training at Anniston, Alabama and was shipped out to Italy, where he served as a sergeant during the last years of the German occupation.
Upon returning from the war, John became a live stock trader, started a trucking business and began pursuing higher education. He earned an Associate of Arts and Associate of Engineering degree from Beebe Junior College, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harding College, and a doctoral degree from the University of Arkansas.
John served as a teacher, and later Superintendent, for the Griffithville School District and as Superintendent for the Prairie Grove School District. At Salem School District, he planned a magnet school which was the basis for his doctoral dissertation[RB1] . As Russellville School Superintendent, he oversaw the building of a new elementary school, high school and vocational school. He also served as Superintendent at Waynesville - Fort Leonard Wood School District (Missouri), and the Heber Springs School District, where he served until his retirement in 1986.
John was an avid draftsman (He designed and built several of his homes.), gardener, woodworker, fisherman (He loved the Little Red River!) and Rotarian. He loved to serve his community and his church family. He was a member of the First Baptist Church and deacon in each community that he lived. He thoroughly enjoyed teaching Sunday school, but most of all, he loved his savior Jesus Christ and his family.
John is preceded in death by his parents, William and Orlee Vandiver, and his spouse, Alice Juanita Hamilton Vandiver. He is survived by his daughters, Kay (Dr .Larry) Weathers of Rogers, AR and Becca (LaMonte) Bolding of Germantown, TN; his grandchildren - Tori Weathers of Dallas, TX, Dr. Tiffany Weathers of Rogers, AR, Dr. Lance (Natalie) Weathers of Rogers, AR, Courtney (Warren) Wilgus of Rio Rancho, NM, and Cassandra (Cameron) Watson of Cordova, TN; and his great-grandchildren - Nicholas Weathers, Alexander Weathers, Zachary Weathers and Oliver Wilgus.
The family will greet friends in the sanctuary at First Baptist Church in Heber Springs, 201 N 4th Street, at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 28, with service to follow at 11 a.m. Burial with Military Honors by the American Legion Post 64 of Heber Springs will follow at the White County Memorial Gardens on old highway #67 in Searcy, Arkansas at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks a donation to Hospice of North Arkansas, Springdale, Arkansas 72762 or Ronald McDonald Charities of Arkoma, Inc., of Springdale, Arkansas 72762, in John’s name. Arrangements by Heber Springs Funeral Home, 501-887-9152.
Hospice of North Arkansas
4847 Kaylee Avenue
Springdale, AR 72762
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkoma, Inc.
1333 Arapaho Avenue
Springdale, Arkansas 72762
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