Notable Deaths in 2003


Bill J. Ford, 79, served as the state bank commissioner from 1987 to 1998. To take the job, he resigned as chairman of Merchants and Farmers Bank of Sparkman, in which he owned controlling interest for more than 20 years.


Alden H. Spencer, 84, was publisher and general manager of the Northwest Arkansas Times in Fayet-teville from 1975 to 1985.


Frank White, 69, was the only politician ever to unseat Bill Clinton. He served as Arkansas governor, 1981-83, and succeeded Bill Ford (see above) as state bank commissioner in 1998, a position he held until his death.


Virginia Mitchell Bailey, 78, founded real estate developer Bailey Corp. with her husband, Dr. H.A. Ted Bailey Jr. She also was a member of the Fine Arts Club since 1960 and served for 17 years on the Arkansas Arts Council board of trustees and 12 years on the Arts Center Foundation Board.


Winston J. "Buddy" Deane, 78, was among the nation's first radio personalities to broadcast rock 'n' roll and was ranked the No. 1 DJ in 1962 by Billboard magazine. Deane's Baltimore teen dance show inspired the film "Hairspray."


Mary "Lee" Orsini, 55, was serving life without parole for the 1982 murder of Alice McArthur, wife of Little Rock lawyer Bill McArthur. Shortly before her death, Orsini confessed to the 1981 murder of her husband, Ron Orsini of North Little Rock, her conviction for which had been overturned.


Pam Stephens, 43, was the daughter of the late entrepreneur Witt Stephens. She also was known for her support of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Opus Ball committee, helping organize the symphony's annual fund-raiser.

Bernice Young Jones, 97, was a philanthropist and widow of the late Jones Truck Lines founder Harvey Jones. In 2002, Bernice Jones received the Lifetime Philanthropic Achievement Award from the Northwest Arkansas Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Profes-sionals for giving to charities across the state.

Don O'Neal Kirk-patrick, 66, was the founder of food-service distributor Quality Foods Inc. of Little Rock. Kirkpatrick sold Quality Foods in 2002 to Performance Food Group of Richmond, Va., for $95 million.

Johnny Cash, 71, a Cleveland County native, was hailed by Rolling Stone magazine for having "defined and refined American music." The County Music Awards posthumously honored him with the Irving Waugh Award of Excellence, video of the year, album of the year and single of the year.


Sidney Sanders McMath, 91, spent two terms as governor, beginning in 1949, working to improve the state's education system and equal opportunities for the state's black population. McMath also focused on building highways and a medical center in Little Rock.


Paul M. Williams, 56, led Acxiom Corp. of Little Rock's enterprise sales force and also previously led its services division.


George Fisher, 80, drew distinctive and influential political cartoons for the Arkansas Gazette from 1964 until it closed in 1991 and for the Arkansas Times until his death.