Jay Ryan Hightower, 46, of Van Buren died Friday, March 5, 2018, while traveling in the Ukraine. He was born in Malvern on Nov. 8, 1971, and graduated in 1990 from Northside High School in Fort Smith. He joined the Navy following graduation, was injured in the Middle East and medically retired in 2012.

He is survived by his parents, David and Pat Hightower of Fort Smith and Penny and Ed Mealio of Dallas; and a brother, Todd Hightower of Van Buren.

The family will have a private memorial service at the U.S. National Cemetery in Fort Smith. A celebration of life reception will be at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 31, at Taliano’s Hall.

Memorial contributions may be made to Soldier On Service Dogs in Fayetteville at info@soldieronservicedogs.org, Almost Home Animal Shelter, 3390 E. Pointer Trail, Van Buren, AR 72956; or HOPE Humane Society, 3800 Kelley Highway, Fort Smith, AR 72904.

Arrangements are under the direction of Ocker-Putman Funeral Home in Fort Smith.