Helping Families and Friends Honor Their Loved One

Garland Leon Donaldson, 84

Garland Leon Donaldson, 84, “Mr. Smiley” of Little Rock, passed away April 8, 2017 after a long illness.

Born and raised on a small farm in Plum Bayou, Arkansas, when asked if he had a football team at his school, he said it was so small that even with all the girls combined there wasn’t enough kids to have a team.  After high school, he joined the US Army and served in the Korean War. While enlisted, he met and married the love of his life Shirley J. Smith. They were married for over 50 years before her passing in 2007.  After returning home, he worked at the International Paper Mill in Pine Bluff.  After he left the Paper Mill, he began a career with Miracle Maid Cookware and later became the District Sales Manager. He retired after almost 30 years.

Leon had a big ol’ mischievous smile that could light up the world.  He loved playing jokes and telling stories.  He had a joke for everything, although not always in good taste, he had a joke for it. And while most of his stories were almost true, you couldn’t help but laugh and forget about your troubles. His ornery smile will be missed.

His favorite pastimes were camping, hunting, and fishing with his family.  What skills he lacked as a hunter, he made up for in fishing. He loved anything he could do with his family, and they will have memories they can forever cherish.  Lastly, he loved Cardinals Baseball and anything Razorback.  

He was proceeded in death by his wife, Shirley.  Survived by sons Jerry (Brenda) Donaldson and Jimmy Donaldson; daughters Joyce (T.C.) Meerdink, Judy (late Terry) Hicks and Robin (Scott) King. Grandchildren: Chris (Connie) Hogue, Jeremy (Amanda) Hogue; Shane (Mary) Preator, Tim (Darrah) Preator, TC Dunn (Lauren); Matt (Julie) Donaldson, David (Brittany) Donaldson, Tabitha Donaldson, Alanna Nighswager; Jessica (Dan) Hamilton, Ashley (Jay) Sawatski, Kimberly Hicks; Scott Butler, Jordan and Dakota King and several great grandchildren. A special thank you to great grandchildren Rylee Dunn and Paxton Sawatski for their frequent visits to see Pops.   

We would also like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the Staff at Greystone Nursing and Rehabilitation in Cabot, Arkansas where he was a resident for the last four years. We cannot thank them enough for the care and compassion shown to him. 

A memorial service will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church, April 20, 2017.  Visitation 6:00-7:00. Service to follow. Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1325 John Calvin Dr. Little Rock, AR 72206.

Cremation Arrangements are under the care and direction of A Natural State Funeral Service, 2620 West Main Street, Jacksonville, Arkansas, 72076.  501-982-3400.  


  • Russell Miller Posted April 13, 2017 3:03 PM

    I have some great memories when you lived in Alton, Illinois! Miss you!

  • Shar M. Posted April 13, 2017 4:23 PM

    So sorry for y’alls lose!

    Shar M.

  • Ashley myers Posted April 13, 2017 4:47 PM

    Many many many years ago we would have breakfast at subway… Loved your stories and smile… Rest in peace sweet man….

  • Bob Southard Posted April 13, 2017 4:59 PM

    I’ll always remember Leon when he lived in Jefferson City Mo.

  • Bev miller Posted April 13, 2017 7:21 PM

    Lots of wonderful memories of him cooking at Grandma’s using his fancy cookware..He chose the right path in life in sales because he never met a stranger he would talk to anyone lol.. I will miss his smile and his stories … Prayers for his family that he leaves behind.he will be missed..

  • Crystal Farrell Posted April 13, 2017 10:14 PM

    My Uncle had the most mischievous smile. He was the one who always had a comeback for anything you threw his way 😂 I know he is smiling down and fit as a fiddle enjoying being reunited with so many loved ones but most of all the love of his life Aunt Shirley❤ I love you all so much

  • Becky Libbert Posted April 13, 2017 10:22 PM

    Jerry and Family,
    so sorry for your loss.You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Tom Eckelkamp Posted April 13, 2017 10:32 PM

    Will miss Leon, he was truly a good man.

  • Sharon. Lynch. Posted April 14, 2017 8:01 AM

    I love you uncle Leon andlove to all the family wish I could be there. Praying for you all.

  • Mike Carter Posted April 20, 2017 4:39 PM

    Sorry for your loss..Leon was quite a character .. He never was the same after Shirley passed away..They would come in my pawnshop together .she would buy jewelry and he would buy tools.

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