Hope Whitworth Deen

Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Mrs. Hope Whitworth Deen

Mrs. Hope Whitworth Deen departed this life the morning of September 1, 2017 at her home in Fayetteville. She was 18 days short of her 93rd birthday. She was the widow of the late Elwood Francis Deen of Blytheville, who predeceased her by more than 30 years.

Her immediate family include her son, Stephan Elwood Whitworth Deen of Fayetteville, Dr. Lewis Stanley Deen of Palm Springs, Calif. and Christopher Francis Deen and his wife Patti Deen of Fayetteville. Patti was like a daughter to her. She was devoted to her children and considered them to be her crowning earthly achievement.

She was born outside of Blytheville in 1924 to her parents James W. Whitworth and Frances Virginia Rayder Whitworth, who were small cotton farmers. She and her siblings worked in the fields chopping and picking cotton, along with the hired help. Later she and her sisters would remark how every inch of their skin was covered while in the sun by bonnets, face masks and gloves with the finger tips cut out. When she married, she became a homemaker, carrying for her three sons. No one in Arkansas fried a better chicken or made better coleslaw, and her chocolate sheet cake was a major success. Her favorite TV shows were Golden Girls and Law & Order. She loved the color orange and autumn was her favorite season. Her favorite singers were Elvis, Patsy Kline and Willie Nelson.

One of 11 children, her five sisters were blessed with colorful given names: Capitola, Athanel, Eutopia, Ruby-Vinette, and Pandora. She joked that her father named her Hope, while hoping that she would be the last. Her brothers viewed themselves blessed to have less exotic names: Claude, Martin, Jimmy, Jerry, and Theodore. She outlived all her siblings except Jimmy Whitworth of Edwardsville, Ill.

She worked in the Blytheville Public Schools, eventually becoming Secretary to the Superintendent of Schools, before retiring. A natural red head, she had the fire-cracker personality to accompany her coloring. She was blessed with beauty, natural elegance, a kind and generous heart, intelligence, humor and wit, and a sense of fun. She did not have the slightest trace of snobbery and she took a dim view of pretense. She had an open, inquiring mind and she remarkably spoke up for blacks and gay people decades before most other Southerners in the Delta would even consider it.

Hope was a sincere Christian and her Christian beliefs were reflected in her daily life. She was a life-long Methodist until moving to Fayetteville, where she and her son Stephan grew to love St. Paul's Episcopal Church and were confirmed. They were regular communicants at St. Paul's until poor health limited her mobility.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the charity of the donor's choice or to St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Fayetteville or First United Methodist Church, Blytheville.

Those of us who love Hope will miss her every single day of our lives. And we shall forever smilingly think of her as our Eternal Steel Magnolia.

A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 5 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 224 N East Ave, Fayetteville, AR 72701. A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, September 6 at Elmwood Cemetery. Cobb Funeral Home is in charge of local arrangements. Moore’s Funeral Chapel in Fayetteville is in charge of out of town arrangements. Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.cobbfuneralhome.com or www.mooresfuneralchapel.com.