Paul D. Gant, a longtime attorney in Crawford County, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Sept. 8, 2015, after a battle with cancer. He was 69 years of age. Gant was born Sept. 6, 1946, in Fort Smith, the son of H. Zed and Imogene Gant. He married his high school sweetheart, Linda Lee Gushea, in October of 1966. Gant lived all of his life in Van Buren, other than his time away for college training at the University of Arkansas, where he obtained a BSBA degree in 1968 and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas School Of Law in 1972. He was a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves, 95th Division Infantry Training Battalion.
Gant opened his private law practice in Van Buren in 1973 and was joined by his father in 1976. He served six years as deputy prosecuting attorney for Crawford County and 10 years as its juvenile referee. For over 37 years, he served as city judge of Alma.
Apart from his law practice, he served his community in various service areas. Those included serving as president of the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce and president of the Van Buren Rotary Club simultaneously during the nation’s bi-centennial year of 1976; organizing and implementing the Van Buren Men’s Church Softball League in 1977; along with his wife, organizing the very first Project Graduation at Van Buren High School in 1992; charter member and past president of the Van Buren School District Education Foundation, advisory board member for the Morgan Nick Foundation; past president of the Crawford County Bar Association and a past three-year member of the State Bar House of Delegates; along with multiple volunteer service projects throughout the community.
He loved and was an active member of First Baptist Church Van Buren where he served as a department director for more than 40 years, a deacon, a church trustee and a member of the building committee for the existing Worship Center. His primary desire and pleasure, however, was to be a servant to his Lord and the members of First Baptist as commanded by scripture.
Gant was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Alice Margaret Schoolcraft; and his brother, Zed George Gant.
He is survived by his wife, Linda; his daughter, Kimberly Ann Griffin of Austin, Texas; two granddaughters, Kaylee Danielle Griffin and Kendall Gene Hoehn, also of Austin; one stepgrandson, Kolton Hoehn of Georgetown, Texas; a sister, Linda Beth Harwood and husband Jim of Fort Smith.
He also is survived by his nieces and nephews, Jean Hunt and husband Frank of Greensboro, N.C.; Judy Parsons and husband, Kenny of Irving, Texas, Kristen Arrington and husband Jud of Allen, Texas, Kyle Harwood and wife Ann of Van Buren, Joe Schoolcraft and wife Janet and Jim Schoolcraft, and wife JoAnna, all of Owasso, Okla., Ben Gushea of Manteca, Calif., and Stacey Mack and husband Bobby of Greenwood; and several great-nieces and great-nephews.
There will be a family visitation at Ocker Memorial Chapel in Van Buren on Monday from 6 to 8 p.m. Funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Worship Center of First Baptist Church Van Buren with burial at Gracelawn Cemetery under the direction of Ocker Funeral Home, Van Buren.
Pall bearers are Ronnie Capelle, C.E. Dougan, Jim Jones, Ron Sparkman, Jim Lansdell, Quince Coleman, Tom Lovegrove, Alvy Hays, Charley Williams and Steve Sharum.
Honorary pallbearers are deacons of FBCVB, Crawford and Sebastian Bar Associations, Ross Morreale, Jacob Howell, Billy Rhynes, Dr. Charles Jennings, Howard Fikes, Ed Buckalew, Okie Rouw, Larry Mays, Chuck Engelberger, Dwight Vines, Aaron Williams, Larry Hammond, Archie Christian, Randy Scott, Barry Molder, Bill Dodson, David Fagan, Harold Hamm, James Coleman, Kevin Bell, Jerry Tumlison, Larry Gordon, ASP Capt. Brian Davis, ASP Capt. Jason Aaron, Chris Wray, Pepper Bourlon, Ron Reading, Doug Compton, Bill Keeton, Jerry Wilkerson, Keith Hefner, Lance Lanier, Joe Stewart, Joe Ryan, Bill Thomas, Alma Chief of Police Russell White, Lt. Jayson Peppas and Sheriff Ron Brown.
Memorial contributions may be made to the FBCVB Journey Beyond Building Fund at 1121 Main St.,Van Buren, AR 72956.
Online tributes: www.ockerfuneralhome.com.