Raymond Gene "Chubby" Heern, 76, of Jonesboro, Ark., died May 16, 2005, at St. Bernards Medical Center. He was born in Jonesboro the son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Heern. He graduated from Jonesboro Public Schools and worked for State Farm Insurance Company for 36 years, retiring as northeast Arkansas agency manager.
Chubby was active in his community and was the past president of Episcopal Laymen of Arkansas (two years), and a former vestryman at St. Marks Episcopal Church, Jonesboro Jaycees, Kiwanis Club of Jonesboro, United Way of Jonesboro, Little League Baseball Commission -- 1950. He was a charter board member of the YMCA, and a former member of the Jonesboro City Council and the City Water and Light Board. As a member of the Chamber of Commerce building committee, he helped to raise $1.4 million to construct the present building.
He was elected to public office from 1966 to 1970 where he was a member of the Arkansas State Senate. He co-authored the bill to make Arkansas State College a university, he authored the Documentary Stamp Tax to build the Children's Colony in Jonesboro and Village Creek State Park in Cross County.
He was a former board member of Mercantile Bank, Union Planters Bank, First Commercial Bank and Regions Bank. He was currently serving on the board of Liberty Bank of Arkansas.
He was the co-chair for the Annexation Committee which annexed 45.9 miles to the City of Jonesboro and was vice chairman of the MATA Plan. He was chosen as the Outstanding Young Man of the Year for 1956, Heart Guild Honoree in 1996, YMCA Volunteer of the Year in 1998, and the American Cancer Society Honorary Chairperson in 2002.
He was beneficial in raising money to develop St. Bernards Village, St. Bernards Cancer Treatment Center and was a member and past president of the St. Bernards Development Foundation.
Survivors include his wife, Sarah Heern of the home; three daughters and sons-in-law -- Donna and Ken Halford of Vicksburg, Miss., Laura and Joey Owens of Wynne, Ark., and Susan and Matt Christian of Jonesboro; eight grandchildren -- Mark Chaney, Mallory Owens, Jacob Owens, Amy Halford, Sarah Kathryn Chaney, Sydney Owens, Erin Halford and Haley Halford; and a brother and sister-in-law -- Donald and Glenda Heern of Cherokee Village.
He was preceded in death by his daughter, Karen Chaney; and his brother, Howard Heern.
A memorial service was May 19 at St. Marks Episcopal Church with the Rev. JoAnn Barker officiating.
Honorary pallbearers were Pet Kemp, Wallace Fowler, Hubert Brodell, Ben Owens, Fred Cathcart, Malcolm Culpepper, Bud Lamar, Bob Houston, Robert Jones, Philip Jones, Gene Carr, Herbie Magee, Herb Parker, Steve May, Mike Cameron and David Hughey.
A reception was held immediately following the service in the church fellowship hall. Burial was private.
Memorials may be made to St. Bernards Foundation, 225 E. Jackson, Jonesboro, AR 72401; Jonesboro Church Health Center, 200 W. Matthews, Jonesboro, AR 72401; or St. Marks Episcopal Church, 531 W. College, Jonesboro, AR 72401.