Arkansas Business: Notable Arkansas Deaths of 2012

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Dec. 24, 2012 12:00 am  


Matt Turner, 32, a news anchor for CBS affiliate KTHV-TV, Channel 11, in Little Rock, died in a single-vehicle automobile accident Oct. 6. Turner was the sole occupant of the vehicle.

Julius Breckling, 83, a longtime head of the Little Rock Parks & Recreation Department, died Oct. 22. Breckling had served the department for 35 years before retiring in 1991.

Bill Simmons, 71, a former Associated Press bureau chief who covered Arkansas politics, died Oct. 29. Simmons worked for the AP for 34 years, then another 16 years as political editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.


Perrin Jones, 80, a longtime editor of The Daily Citizen in Searcy, died Nov. 2. Jones’ family owned the Citizen for three generations. He served as editor from 1954 to 1986, several years after the paper was sold.

Christopher C. Mercer, 88, one of the six students who integrated the University of Arkansas School of Law, died Nov. 20. Mercer was the first African-American in the South to be a deputy state prosecutor.

Dewayne Graham, 63, a former Little Rock television reporter best known for his time at KATV, died Nov. 28.

John Lewis Ward, 81, founder of Conway’s Toad Suck Daze and former director of the University of Central Arkansas’ Oxford American literary magazine, died Nov. 29. Ward was also a professor of journalism at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and managing editor of the Log Cabin Democrat, Conway’s daily paper.


John Charles Dodge, 67, a Benton County lawyer, died Dec. 4. Dodge was known for his litigious zeal on behalf of serial entrepreneurs Jim Bolt and Melvin Robinson, with whom Dodge (and a fourth defendant, Leroy Hoback) was indicted and acquitted on federal securities fraud charges. Among the many targets of Dodge’s lawsuits was, in the early 2000s, this very publication.

Joan Duffy, 61, former Little Rock bureau chief for the Memphis Commercial Appeal, died Dec. 6 of complications from cancer. Duffy had spent the past decade working for the Office of Communications at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.



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