John F. Stroud, Jr. passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, March 27th at the age of 90.
John was born in Hope, Arkansas on October 3, 1931, and spent his childhood in Little Rock. He attended Hendrix College before enlisting in the US Air Force where he became a jet fighter pilot and served during the Korean War. After breaking the speed of sound on a training mission, John earned admission into the Air Force’s distinguished “Mach-Busters Club.”
Following his military service, and before attending law school, John spent the summer at his family home on Lake Greeson where he met and fell in love with Marietta Kimball from Dequeen, AR. They dated that summer and both attended the University of Arkansas in the fall. John pledged the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and completed his Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees in 1959. The two were married on June 1, 1958.
After he graduated from law school, John was invited by then-Senator John McClellan to move to Washington, DC to work in his legislative office. It was a great opportunity for a young lawyer and his job enabled him privileged access to legislators and to attend many high-profile events with Marietta, including the 1962 fundraiser gala for President Kennedy that was made famous by Marilyn Monroe’s sultry rendition of “Happy Birthday, Mr. President”. John could have easily built his career on Capitol Hill, but his heart was set on returning home to Arkansas to practice law.
His legal career was long and distinguished, beginning as an associate with the firm Smith & Sanderson, and later as a founding partner in Smith, Stroud, McClerkin, Dunn & Nutter, where he spent the remainder of his private law practice.
One of John’s proudest accomplishments was becoming an Eagle Scout in 1947. He continued his involvement with scouting throughout his life and was awarded the Silver Beaver Award in 1974, and was presented the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award by Texarkana-native, H. Ross Perot, in 1978. Later that year, John was appointed by then-Governor and future President Bill Clinton to fill a vacancy on the Arkansas Supreme Court. After completing his term, he returned to his law practice in Texarkana.
Years later he was appointed by Governor Jim Guy Tucker to the Arkansas Court of Appeals, where he would serve a total of nine years, including four as Chief Judge. His many accomplishments and awards included being elected Texarkana City Attorney, President of the Arkansas Bar Association, and receiving the C.E. Palmer Award – Texarkana’s highest civic engagement recognition. In 2016, he received the Golden Gavel Award from the Arkansas Bar Association for his long and distinguished legal career.
Of all of his accomplishments, John was the proudest of his family. John was a true extrovert and was energized by being with others. He loved spending time with Marietta, his children, grandchildren, and friends at their home in Texarkana and at the family cabin on Lake Greeson. Other favorite pastimes included attending Razorback sporting events, playing dominoes and spades, working crosswords, acting in local theater and in the film, The Town That Dreaded Sundown, ushering at First United Methodist Church, swimming in secret cove, dancing the jitter bug, eating BBQ with his pals, and sharing meals with his devoted beagle, Molly.
He is survived by his wife Marietta Kimball Stroud, his children Ann Kimball Stroud (David Plato White), Tracy Stroud Waters (John Everett Waters) and his grandchildren John Luke Stroud, Emily Ann “Emmy” Stroud, Turner Everett Waters, John “Jack” Steel Waters, and Greer Kimball Waters. He is preceded in death by his beloved son, John F. Stroud III, mother Ella Clarine Steel Stroud, and father John Fred Stroud.
A celebration of life will be held on Friday, April 1st at First United Methodist Church, 400 E Sixth Street, Texarkana, AR at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made sent to First United Methodist Church, Opportunities Inc, 6101 North Stateline Avenue, Texarkana TX 75501, or Caddo Area Council-Boy Scouts of America, 24 Lynnwood Drive, Texarkana TX 75503.
The service will be livestreamed on the First United Methodist Church Facebook page or at www.texarkanamethodist.com.