Cover photo for Sunshine "Sunnie" Dillard Smedley's Obituary
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Sunshine "Sunnie" Dillard Smedley

February 14, 1934 — June 13, 2024

Hot Springs

Sunshine "Sunnie" Dillard Smedley

Sunshine “Sunnie” Dillard Smedley, age 90, of Hot Springs, Arkansas went to her heavenly home on June 13, 2024. She was born February 14, 1934 in Murfreesboro, Arkansas to Dr. Clarence Elmore and Myrtle Josephine Dillard. In her hometown of Murfreesboro, she met her high school sweetheart and best friend, Jimmy C. Smedley. They later married while attending Henderson State. 

Sunnie graduated from Henderson State Teachers College in 1956 with a BA Degree in Music. Sunnie’s love of music and the offering of her talent was evident in her service to the Murfreesboro First United Methodist Church as an organist/pianist, her family gatherings of singing in the living room, and her continued love of music in worship.

Upon graduation from HSTC, she and Jim, a newly commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, spent the next six years on assignments to Fort Knox, KY; Fort Hood, TX; Fort Eustis, VA; Camp Gary, San Marcos, TX; and Fort Rucker, AL. During this time, their family grew and three of their four boys were born while transitioning between posts.

Upon Jim’s departure of active duty, they lived in Little Rock and later El Dorado before making the small town of Arkadelphia their home for the next 56 wonderful years. As Sunnie’s boys got older, she returned to Henderson and received a Master’s in Education. Putting her education degree to good use, she worked for 18 years in the Arkadelphia School District as a 1st grade teacher. She was a teacher who loved her job and was passionate about her students and their success. She retired in May 1995, and she and Jim were able to enjoy multiple trips in their motorhome across the United States, often traveling with lifelong friends.

Arkadelphia was a great place to raise their four boys, Jimmy, Michael, Mark and Scott. Sunnie and Jim’s commitment to the Lord and their dedication to their church home, the Church of Christ in Arkadelphia, was integral as they guided their boys to become responsible and caring men. Sunnie was a proud mother and took great joy in raising and spending time with her boys. Always cheering from the sidelines, she encouraged and supported her boys in their many sporting events as many years were spent going and watching all four of them play and run for the Badgers. Cheering from the sidelines continued, as she was always the greatest supporter of her sons in their education, careers, and family lives. 

As they say, the family that camps together, stays together; this could not have been truer for Jim and Sunnie. The many years of camping and boating at Lake Greeson and Lake DeGray, and trips to Florida and out West, certainly helped to deepen the love and bond among the Smedley family. Sunnie once allowed her boys to convince her to experience the joys of a family off-road motorcycling adventure as Jimmy’s passenger. However, this ride proved to be the last time she would choose to participate in such perilous excursions. But the most memorable times were those spent simply sitting around the campfire, reminiscing, telling stories, joking and listening to the strumming of guitars. Her boys were her world, and they remember her as a patient, but firm, and loving mother who taught them to always do the right thing in life. She encouraged them to explore the great outdoors, to pursue their goals and to have a love of life, family, and the Lord.

The passing of Jim on November 5, 2016, marked 61 years of marriage of faithfulness and dedication to one another. In order to be closer to her sons, Sunnie moved to Hot Springs in 2021.

She is survived by her four sons and three daughters-in-law, Jimmy (Pauletta), Michael (Kinsey), Mark (Lori) and Scott, nine grandchildren and six great grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her husband, three brothers, mother and father.

Services will be at 1:00 pm Wednesday, June 19th, at Smith Family Funeral Home in Arkadelphia, with Dr. Jerry Butler officiating. Burial will be at 3:30 p.m. in Murfreesboro Cemetery in Murfreesboro, AR. Visitation will be Tuesday, June 18th, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Smith Family Funeral Home in Arkadelphia.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the HSU Foundation, in care of Jim Smedley/Alpha Eto Rho fund. Please note the fund on your check or include a note and mail to HSU, Box 7540, Arkadelphia, Arkansas 71999-0001.

The family would like to thank the House of Three caregivers – Rose Beard, Jen Cessor, and Michael Graika, Dierkson Hospice staff and nurse Gina Miller for their caring, compassion, and dedication to Sunnie during the sunset of her life. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Sunshine "Sunnie" Dillard Smedley, please visit our flower store.
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Past Services

Visitation

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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

Ruggles-Wilcox Funeral Home

517 Clay St, Arkadelphia, AR 71923

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Funeral Service

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

Ruggles-Wilcox Funeral Home

517 Clay St, Arkadelphia, AR 71923

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Interment

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

3:30 - 4:30 pm (Central time)

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