Noma Anderson Hargis Watkins
Funeral Date: 11/17/2011

Noma Anderson Hargis Watkins, born January 1st, 1927, died suddenly November 13th, 2011, from a culmination of medical issues she had bravely fought with little complaint for years. She lived a full life, overcoming obstacles which many are unable to master and leaving behind her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren whom she collectively considered her greatest contribution. She grew up in and around Warren, Arkansas, at times in the town, at others on farms near the town. She had little interest at the time in scholarly pursuits, but she and a sister one year her junior, now Betty Anderson Taylor, were talented musicians who grew into beautiful women. Noma may have had a better voice, but her sister was more broadly gifted. Noma once observed about this: “In the first grade, I was taking music, and I would just play my heart out practicing on the piano – and my little sister would get up to the piano and play something harder, and she was not even taking music, so her talent was more of a gift.” Later, when she was the drum major and first chair on the tenor saxophone, Noma observed also: “I was always really into band, and I only played one instrument and that was the tenor saxophone. My sister went in and she started playing the drums, then the trombone, then she played the flute, the clarinet, and the trumpet, and everything they had, and she scooted over to my tenor saxophone – and I said, ‘You are not going to get this instrument. You can play everything else, but you are not getting this, and she never did while I was the owner of it.” Coming from a talented but poor family, Noma married James Von Hargis, one of the owners of a very successful car dealership, Hargis Brothers, Inc., in 1945. She later described him as “dashingly handsome and marvelously gifted.” They had three sons over the next five years, James Von Hargis, Jr., in 1946, David Michael Hargis in 1948, and Leigh Anderson Hargis in 1950, ten days before James Von Hargis died from heart damage caused years before by rheumatic fever. She has observed about this time in her life: “At 24 years old, I became a widow with three infants, no education, no self confidence...” She then seized control, as she would seek to do and most often accomplish in various pursuits the remainder of her life. She enrolled at Arkansas State Teachers College, now the University of Central Arkansas, and became the student she had not been in high school. She graduated with honors, and she subsequently secured a masters degree, also with honors, from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. She began her teaching career in 1954 in Stephens, Arkansas, at that time, because of the oil industry, one of the richest school districts in the state – and she then reunited her family, as her sons had temporarily resided with their maternal grandparents during this time. She met in Stephens another school teacher, Maury Patilo Watkins, and they married on December 27th, 1955. On November 13th, 1956, they had the fourth child in this marriage, a daughter, Noma Lisa Watkins. Noma, with this family and in 1960 returned to Warren, and for the remainder of her professional life, and at New Edinburg, commuting daily from Warren, she taught Home Economics, and Maury Watkins taught math, algebra and geometry. She also maintained a strong and continuing civic involvement, becoming a member of the Warren Woman’s Club in 1960. Among many other things, she served as President, GFWC (General Federation of Women’s Clubs) Pine Bluff District; Historian and Editor, Federation Speaks; compiled the GFWC–Arkansas Centennial History; worked extensively in the areas of conservation and recycling long before they became politically correct; received the FHA, Lifetime Achievement Award, 1977, the highest award possible for a home economics teacher; was Director–Curator, and one of the founders of, the Bradley County Historical Society; served three times as a Silver-Haired Legislator in Arkansas, and once as a delegate to the First Silver-Haired Congress in the United States Capitol; won the DAR Citizenship Award, 1945, and was a lifetime member of the Daughters of the American Revolution; had more ribbons from the Bradley County Fair, in art and in canning, than her children choose to count (but more than 150, one-half of them blue); and she was selected as the Bradley County Citizen of the Year, 1989. She would also probably like to have noted that she won the 2009 “District Queen Pageant” representing her last living facility, making it to the state finals. The philosophy she followed, as published in Federation Speaks, was: “You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.” With their mother’s encouragement, often reaching a level of insistence, her sons took their studies seriously and each secured college degrees paid for through athletic scholarships, each in football, one to West Point, one to the Arkansas Razorbacks, and one to Ouachita Baptist University. The brothers were collectively inducted into the Warren Lumberjack Hall of Fame in the same year. Their sister was Little Miss Pink Tomato, Little Miss Southeast Arkansas, Miss Pink Tomato, Miss Warren, a contestant in the Miss Arkansas contest, and an accomplished and gifted vocalist, once selected for the University of Arkansas show choir, the Uarkettes. Noma Anderson Hargis Watkins also sought to similarly encourage, and insist, with her eleven grandchildren and, currently, seven great-grandchildren, never missing a birthday or holiday for anyone. Her second husband, Maury Patilo Watkins, predeceased her after suffering a debilitating stroke and dying on November 21st, 2001. The family of Noma Anderson Hargis Watkins participated in a visitation Wednesday, November 16th, at Frazer’s Funeral Home, 305 South Main, Warren, between the hours of 6:00 and 8:00 P.M. Her funeral service was conducted at 1:30 P.M., November 17th, at the same location. Rather than memorials or flowers, she would ask that donations be made to the Warren Y.M.C.A., 207 North Main, Warren, Arkansas 71671, which is the pride of Warren and a third parent to its children; or to the Warren Woman’s Club, or the Bradley County Historical Museum, as designated, either or both at 108 South Walnut, Warren, Arkansas 71671.



Name: Carolyn Ginter
Message: When leaving Arkansas, your mother, Noma gave me a book entitled "Friends Are Flowers in the Garden of the Heart". I asked her to choose which flower she would be ~ This is what she wrote in the book, "I am a wildflower - tall and stately along the highways and especially the byways of life - watching and observing all kinds of passerby." The times I've spent with Noma have been heaven sent. She always claimed to have educated me about the "South" ~ "Don't you know!" We had so many laughs and good times. I will think of her fondly and always teasure the memories we built together. Thank you all for sharing her with me.

Name: Maylon Rice
Message: To the Hargis/Watkins family: There are generations of young people who will never be able to repay the kindnesses that this sweet lady has shown them. She was very kind to correct all our country mistakes and show us a culture and manners that matter. She has enriched my life and the lives of many, many more. May you all take great comfort in her life and you are all in my prayers. What a Lady.

Name: Vicki Childress Bowen
Message: I saw Mrs Watkins a couple of weeks ago and as we were talking she told me that she hoped she had taught me more than just cooking and sewing. I assured her that she had because she taught us everything she possibly could to prepare us for the future. She was a very special teacher and will be missed by many.

Name: Ricky Green
Message: My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Ms. Noma was a wonderful lady who will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

Name: Kay Langford Garlington
Message: Mrs. Watkins was one of my favorite teachers. She was one of those teachers that went beyond the call of duty when it came to teaching. She tried to instill a "bit of culture" to this small town country girl. I've thought of her many times during my life and appreciated her patience and guidance with me. My sincere sympathy to Lisa and the boysp---she was a great lady!!!!

Name: Sharon Dunn Leachman
Message: Thank you for such an informative and wonderful obituary on your dear mother. She was one of my favorite teachers in the 50's in Stephens. I recently tried to find her online but was unable to. I would like to have told her what she meant to me. And share a special memory I have of her singing "Hello Young Lovers" at some event at the HS when she was a lovely young widow and before Mr. Watkins came to town. What a beautiful voice she had! I also remember her three handsome little boys and when Lisa was born. My heart is sad that she is gone but I'm so glad to know about the years after she left Stephens. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Name: Jeri Nicholson
Message: Dear Genna & Family, My thoughts and prayers are with your family as you unite to celebrate this wonderful lady's life. She was indeed remarkable!!!!

Name: Cindy Humphries
Message: Lisa, Our prayers are with you in your time of grief. May you find peace in knowing that your mom is singing with the angels now. God Bless! Betty Howard and Cindy Humphries

Name: Carolyn Curry
Message: Dear Family: Mrs. Noma has been a good friend and bank customer for many, many years. Always elegant, always precise, always knew what she wanted to do. She was a pleasure to know. I have been out of town and returned today. My sympathy to each of you.

Name: Gary and Melissa Maskell
Message: Our love and prayers go with you all in this time of loss! Always remember that she is in that perfect place of peace and rest that God has promised each and every one of us who places their trust in Jesus! Sister Noma was a true blessing to my life and many others as well! From her infectious smile to the many loving "details" that Brother Tommy and I witnessed, she showed how greatly she cared about the people in her life! She will be missed greatly! Love, Gary and Melissa Maskell

Name: Suzette Russell
Message: Just a note to let our thoughts are with your family during this difficult time. Sincerely Suzette Russell, & Sue Woodard

Message: Yes, seems like just last week I would stsnd at the door and collect for the paper. She always gave me a good tip and something hot in the winter. May thr Lord comfort you in this time of sorrow Tom Ed Wright

Name: Tammy Hensley