CCAC Celebration of the Arts at Hand

Thursday, May 28, 2015
Don and Janet Roeder

From two distinct communities with common life purposes, the honorees for Clay County Arts Council, Inc. "A Celebration of the Arts" have been announced. This year, Mrs. Sherland (Barbara) Hamilton of Rector and Mr. and Mrs. Don (Janet) Roeder will be honored for their contributions to the Clay County community as a whole and for their unique involvement with the arts.

Service to their communities has manifested itself in multiple ways for these philanthropists and arts patrons. Wishing no personal accolades, these folks rarely speak of their own contributions. What they accomplish with time, energy, financial donations, and passion makes our communities better places in which to live and work.

Having lived in Clay County most of their lifetimes, these individuals have seen the county move from almost exclusive Delta farmland to small communities attempting to create a brighter future for residents. An improved quality of life in Clay County has come from many of the projects underwritten by Barbara Hamilton, Janet Roeder and Don Roeder.

Barbara Hamilton

Married to their life partners for over 50 years, they share stories about meeting and marrying their mates. Barbara met Sherland at a Baptist Student Union convention in Arkadelphia, and they will have been married 53 years this August. Don and Janet Roeder attended high school together and have been married 56 years. The Roeders have two daughters, Julie Mobley and Claire Rouse; three grandchildren, Jenna, Will and McKenzie, and one great-grandchild, Ansley Claire Rouse.

Mrs. Barbara Hamilton earned a bachelor of science in education (BSE) in English from Arkansas State University. She taught junior high and senior high English at Rector Schools for five years before working for the remainder of her professional career as personnel manager for Crockett Oil Company. She continued with the family enterprise until her retirement.

Mrs. Janet Roeder earned her bachelor of arts (BA) from Harding University and advanced degrees from University of Missouri and Southern Illinois University. She taught in schools located in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas, initiating the speech therapy program in the Piggott School District.

Don Roeder received his BA from the University of Missouri and served three years in the U.S. Navy. At various times in his career, he has owned and operated Ben Franklin stores, grocery stores, real estate and insurance businesses.

These patrons of the arts have immersed themselves in service to their communities and to those in need. The Race for the Cure, Piggott School Board, Piggott Community Hospital Board, Chamber of Commerce, Clay County Library Board, NEA Library Board owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. and Mrs. Roeder. Rector High School Helping Hands Foundations, Rector Veterans Memorial Park, Baptist Campus Ministries Advisory Council and Chateau on the Ridge Assisted Living Board are vibrant organizations because of Mrs. Barbara Hamilton's involvement.

Both families are essential to the work of the Pfeiffer Museums in Piggott. The history of the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center is filled with stories about Barbara Hamilton's contribution. Likewise, the Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum and Study Center involve the Roeders with Don serving as trustee.

When not serving the community at large on boards, these honorees value Clay County Arts Council for its work with students and scholarships. In addition, they attend the activities, make donations to its mission, and look forward to travels to museums and art shows with the council in the future.

It might surprise Clay County residents to know that Mrs. Hamilton and husband Sherland love cats and feed any number that might show up at their doorstep on any given day. It's no surprise, however, that Barbara is a phenomenal gardener and has always loved flower arranging, having grown roses for many years. As avid readers, Mr. and Mrs. Roeder would list over 25 books as their favorites. A surprise to readers might be Mrs. Roeder's enjoyment of Downton Abbey and Don's indulgence in Shipley Donuts with some Blue Bell Ice Cream on the side.

These fascinating friends will be honored for their service to their communities and to Clay County Arts Council on Saturday night, June 6, beginning with a catered buffet dinner at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available at Shabby Chic in Corning, Madpie's Tea Room and Shoppes in Piggott, and Honeysuckle and Home in Rector. Individual tickets are priced at $35 each with Arts Council members receiving a discounted price. Entire tables of 12 may be purchased for $350, a substantial savings.

For table orders or additional information about the event, persons may contact Gail Burns at 870-240-3014. Those wishing to attend and enjoy a delicious buffet meal catered by Traveling Wisk plus an evening of entertainment and honor for these community leaders should purchase their tickets early because tickets will not be sold at the door. All seats are reserved.

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