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Vernon W Tharp

January 22, 1928 — April 9, 2024

Vernon Wallace Tharp died on April 9, 2024, at the age of 96 at his home in Grapevine, Texas. Mr. Tharp was born on January 22, 1928, in the Davenport, Arkansas, area to Walter Tharp and Mary Ellen (Reaper) Tharp.

Vernon was proceeded in death by his parents, his brothers Flatus, Douglas, and V.O. Tharp, his sisters, Dorris Martin, Dagmer Tharp, Alton Stone, and Lynda Williams, as well as his grandson, Marsh Kelly Golden.

Vernon is survived by his wife of more than 75 years, Ruth (Martin) Tharp, and their four children: Mary Ellen Golden and husband Gary of Jonesboro, Arkansas, Karaba Kay Adams and husband Jim of Branson, Missouri, Irma Gail Holloway and husband Bill of Searcy, Arkansas, and Lyndal Wallace Tharp and spouse Dennis Waters of Grapevine, Texas; five grandchildren, Colby Lane Golden and wife Rachel of Jonesboro, Arkansas, the Honorable Blake Elliott Adams of Naples, Florida, Julie Kay Adams and husband Dr. Richard Adams of Bolivar, Missouri, Dr. Carmen Nicole (Golden) Keith and husband Josh of Tyler, Texas, and Nico Jacqueline Twardy of Nassau, The Bahamas; his sister, JoAnn Luallen of Forest City, Arkansas; ten great-grandchildren; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and other relatives and friends.

Vernon attended the Pleasant Plains High School, and he spent most of his life in the Hickory Flat area of White County, Arkansas. Vernon had a generous heart for his entire family and helped many financially. His younger siblings looked up to him as a father figure. In the late 1940’s, Vernon returned to White County from working in the farmlands of California to help take care of his mother and younger siblings. In 1948, he met his future bride, Ruth Martin, while buying chickens from her in Concord, Arkansas. Ruth and Vernon were married on January 1, 1949. They lived in Hickory Flat until they sold the farm in 2021 to move with their son to Grapevine, Texas, due to health reasons. He loved their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Vernon had an affinity for calling everyone by their first and middle names.

Vernon was a devout Christian who supported the Church of God and Assembly of God denominations throughout his walk with Christ.

Vernon was a hard worker and entrepreneur. In the 1950’s, Vernon went into business with his brother, Douglas Tharp, and started Tharp Bros., Inc., which began as a feed mill for laying hens, a chicken hatchery, fresh eggs, and egg processing. Tharp Bros., Inc., employed as many as 200 workers in the rural cooperative of Hickory Flat. Vernon was a member of the Arkansas Poultry Association. According to its publication in November 1970, the Tharp Brothers’ Egg Plant located at Route 1 with a Pangburn address, was processing over 2,000 cases of eggs daily, and that was before additional expansions to the plant were made over the next 10-15 years. Vernon was also a cattle rancher raising dairy and later beef cattle for many decades. His hobbies included cattle, truck driving, work, work, work, and “hurry up.”

Vernon was a proud, lifelong member of the Democratic Party. He was a close friend and supporter of retired U.S. Senator David Pryor of Arkansas. He was a friend and supporter to former Arkansas Governor and U.S. President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton. He was also a friend and supporter of former U.S. Representative Wilbur D. Mills of Arkansas’s Second Congressional District. It was through Vernon’s relationship with Congressman Mills that funds were secured to build Arkansas State Route 305 between Searcy and Hickory Flat. Vernon served his community on the Pangburn School District schoolboard for over ten years.

A graveside memorial service will be held at 1:00 PM, Saturday, June 1, 2024, at the Roosevelt Cemetery, AR-157, Judsonia, AR 72081.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Sparrow’s Promise, a faith-based organization for foster children, in memory of Vernon Tharp. ( ).
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Vernon W Tharp, please visit our flower store.


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