Donald Lee Elrod | 1937 – 2023 | Obituary

October 27, 1937 – June 21, 2023

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Donald Lee Elrod died June 21, 2023, at his home in Bryant, Arkansas, surrounded by family and friends. He was 85 years old. Don was born October 27, 1937, in Bryant, Arkansas to the late Johnnie Phillip Elrod and Eva Craig Elrod. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife of 61 years Bonnie Jean; and his brothers Tullis C. Elrod (Jean), Phillip E. Elrod (JoAnn), and Bill B. Elrod (Nancy).

Survivors include his son, Douglas Elrod (Diana) of Denton, Texas; daughter, Donna Elrod (Kristen) of Little Rock, Arkansas; sister, Peggy Bengtson (Virgil) of Bryant; grandson, Alex Garland (Jessica) of Seattle, Washington; a wonderful host of loving nieces and nephews; his beloved dog Trixie Blue, and very special neighbors Evelyn and John Cathcart.

Don was born in Bryant, Arkansas, and played football for the Bryant Hornets. After high school, he joined the United States Air Force and served active duty in the Far East as well as in the Cold War. Don remained in the Arkansas Air National Guard serving in the 189th Air Refueling Group specializing in safety equipment and in-flight air refueling of C-130s. He retired from his military and civil service in 1993 with the rank of Senior Master Sergeant. He received many commendations during his service.

Quietly spiritual, Don was a member of Bryant First United Methodist Church for the majority of his 85 years. His activities in and for the church included being a member and officer in the United Methodist Men, being a member of the Spiritual Seekers Sunday School class, serving on various committees, and regularly bush-hogging the undeveloped church property with his buddy Robert Sikes.

Above all, Don was a role model of a man to all he met. He loved his wife Bonnie and was a great husband, and took on the role of her primary caregiver late in her life. He was an amazing father, strict when he needed to be and always fun and kind. He was a loving “Pops” to his grandson Alex. He welcomed each new person his son and daughter brought into his life with welcoming arms and lots of mischiefs. He loved his nieces and nephews and maintained a special kind of relationship with each that was full of orneriness and love. Well known for his pranks with family and friends, he taught us all that life is at its best when we are laughing. He was gentle and competitive during the many years that he coached girls’ softball. He was an honest and ethical deer hunter and angler and taught many others to be the same. He was an intentionally haphazard and aggressive boat captain and taught those who got behind his boat to ski or tube how to crash safely and how to forgive him.

Visitation with the family is Monday, June 26, 2023, from 6 pm – 8 pm at Ashby Funeral Home in Benton, Arkansas. His celebration of life is Tuesday, June 27, 2023, at 10 am at Bryant First United Methodist Church with the Reverend Brad Elrod officiating. Burial will be at Pinecrest Cemetery following the service.

Pallbearers are Alex Garland, Stan Elrod, Tim Elrod, Greg Bengtson, David Bengtson, David Pitts, Andy Solomon, and David Howard.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to: Bryant First United Methodist Church, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, or a charity of your choice.

The family would like to thank Dr. Rollefson, Dr. Beau, and the staff at Arkansas Heart Hospital and Clinic for their excellent care. We also thank Hospice Home Care, especially Bridget and Aretha. We thank the staff of Elder Independence for supporting him and us at his home.


Funeral Service

Tuesday, June 27, 2023
10:00 AM

Bryant First United Methodist Church
508 N. Reynolds Rd
Bryant, AR 72022

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