Cover photo for Jack Lee Lessenberry's Obituary
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Jack Lee Lessenberry

May 5, 1930 — March 15, 2023

Little Rock

Jack Lee Lessenberry

Retired Circuit Judge Jack Lee Lessenberry of Little Rock passed away at St. Vincent hospital on Wednesday March 15 after suffering a stroke the previous week.  He was 92.  He was born in Little Rock on May 5, 1930, to Ben and Mary Leatherman Lessenberry.  He attended Little Rock public schools and earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.  After college, he attended the University of Mississippi School of Law and passed both the Mississippi and Arkansas bar examinations.  He honorably served his country in the U. S. Army before returning to Little Rock to practice law. 

In the early years, he engaged in a general practice, but became widely sought after as a successful criminal defense attorney.  After 28 years in private practice, he successfully ran for a circuit judge in Pulaski and Perry Counties, where he served for ten years before entering retirement.  On the bench, he was known as a fair and compassionate judge who ran a ‘tight ship.” 

Perhaps his proudest achievement was establishing Arkansas’ first drug court.  These courts are now commonly utilized to create fairness in adjudicating offenses that often hurt the offender more than anyone else, providing a diversion program for qualified defendants, and giving them a chance to reclaim their lives.

A part of Jack’s heart will always be in Crested Butte, Colorado, where he and Rhonda shared a second home. Jack practically lived on the slopes during their many times there and enjoyed frequent visits from family and friends. He also enjoyed mountain biking. Another avocation of Jack’s was race car driving, taking his 1967 Fiat Abarth to race tracks throughout the south. A special time in his life was in 1971, when he took his teenage daughters with him to a bar association meeting in London. During that trip, the three of them went to Italy, where Jack bought a Ferrari and took them on a European sightseeing trip, eventually shipping the car from Copenhagen to the U.S. He kept his Ferrari until 2018. Jack and Rhonda were also avid scuba divers, going on dives in locations in the Caribbean, the South Pacific, the Mediterranean and Red Sea.

Throughout his life, Jack enjoyed his creativity by being hands-on. He loved the challenge of learning and creating, from miniature ships and airplanes in childhood, to later mastering home and automobile restoration, landscaping and building rock walls. He was never without a project.

Judge Lessenberry is survived by his wife of 38 years, Rhonda Flack Lessenberry, his children, Blair Hundahl, Leigh McCann, and Jack Lessenberry Jr.; his grandchildren, Ashley Graves, Molly and Mason McCann; his great-grandchildren, Kinsley and Kaeden Graves. He was predeceased by his son, Ben Lessenberry; his sister, Nancy Lessenberry Kirkley; and his parents. 

A visitation will be held from 5:00-7:00 pm on Thursday, April 27, 2023 at Smith Little Rock Funeral Home, 8801 Knoedl Ct, Little Rock, AR. Celebration of Life will be held at 11:00 am on Friday, April 28, 2023 at Trinity United Methodist Church, 1101 N Mississippi St, Little Rock, AR.  Live streamed on Facebook at Trinity United Methodist Church, Little Rock, AR.

Memorials may be made to Trinity United Methodist Church, 1101 N Mississippi St, Little Rock, AR, 72207 or to the charity of your choice.

Arrangements entrusted to Smith Little Rock Funeral Home.

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Past Services


Thursday, April 27, 2023

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

Smith Family Funeral Home Little Rock

8801 Knoedl Ct., Little Rock, AR 72205

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Celebration of Life

Friday, April 28, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Trinity United Methodist Church

1101 N Mississippi St, Little Rock, AR 72207

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


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