Cover photo for Rita Carol Gibson's Obituary
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1949 Rita 2022

Rita Carol Gibson

February 25, 1949 — June 24, 2022

Rita Carol Gibson of Ft. Smith, Arkansas went to be with her Lord and Savior, June 24, 2022 in Ft. Smith with her loving family by her side. Rita was born February 25, 1949 to Herman L. Atchley and Ivadale (Parsons) Atchley in Waldron, Arkansas. She was 73 years old.

Rita was a dedicated school teacher for 37 years inspiring the lives of many children during this time. She was an avid bridge player and was a Arkansas River Valley Master Gardener in the years following her retirement. She was an accomplished pianist, playing for the Nazarene Church during her youth.  She loved her dogs. However, what Rita cherished most were the times she was able to help her nephews grow into the men they are and watching them become dads and leaders of their own families. Family time was treasured memories for Rita.

Rita leaves behind to cherish her memory, her mother Ivadale Atchley of Ft. Smith, Arkansas, one sister, Sharon Espinoza of Ft. Smith, Arkansas, two nephews: Todd VanDeWiele and wife Toni and Ramon Espinoza and wife Kandy all of Keener, Arkansas, her precious great nieces, Kadance Espinoza, Tristan VanDeWiele, Taylor VanDeWiele, Sadie Grace Espinoza and Rylie Espinoza all of Keener, Arkansas and her Aunt Peggy of Little Rock, Arkansas. Rita will be missed by all that knew her and the many whose lives she impacted including a host of extended family and friends.

Rita was preceded in death by her father, Herman L. Atchley.

Rita's life celebration will be 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, June 29, 2022at the Heritage Memorial Funeral Home Chapel in Waldron, Arkansas with Keith Holleman and Todd VanDeWiele officiating. Interment will follow in the Hawkins Cemetery in Parks, Arkansas. Arrangements are being entrusted to the Heritage Memorial Funeral Home in Waldron, Arkansas.

Rita's pallbearers will be Todd VanDeWiele, Ramon Espinoza, Bruce Simkins,  Ed Fryar, Brent Keener, and Billy Harwell.

Rita's visitation will be Tuesday, June 28, 2022 from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Heritage Memorial Funeral Home Chapel in Waldron, Arkansas.

The family would like to extend a heart felt Thank You to Covington Court, Mercy Hospice and a special caregiver, Latricia Westberry.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Rita Carol Gibson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Public Visitation

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

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Celebration of Life

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

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