Jo Ella Cruse

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Jo Ella Cruse, 93, of Sherwood, died Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019, at the Colonel Glenn Hospice Care Center in Little Rock. Born in Leachville to the late Archer Fletcher and Anna Grace Cook Pierce, she graduated from Leachville High School and later the University of Central Arkansas. She was the widow of William D. Cruse, Jr. and they both taught school in the Leachville School District until Bill began working for Cotton Belt Railroad. They moved with his job to San Francisco, Fresno, Texarkana, and then to Sherwood, Ark., where Jo Ella lived the remainder of her life. A lifelong Methodist, she began teaching Sunday school and singing in the choir at age 15. A longtime member of the First United Methodist Church in North Little Rock, she was active for many years with the United Methodist Women and founded “Faith N Action,” one of the United Methodist Women’s most active programs. She was a member of the PEO Sisterhood, Chapter AC in Leachville and received her 60 year pin in 2010. Jo Ella was a charter member of Chapter O in Fresno, Calif., and was active in Chapter V of Texarkana and Chapter X in Sherwood.

In addition to her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by one brother, T.J. Pierce, and his wife Winnie, and one sister, Betty Ruth Pierce.

Survivors include one niece, JoAnnis Pierce of Little Rock; one nephew, Dr. Trent Pierce and his wife, Melissa of West Memphis. She also leaves her sister-in-law, Julia Smith of Baton Rouge, La., and her sons, J. Michael Smith of Atlanta and Joey Smith of Louisiana.

Funeral service will be 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, at the First United Methodist Church in North Little Rock with Rev. Lynn Kilbourne officiating. Graveside service will follow in the Leachville Cemetery at 4 p.m. The family will receive visitors Saturday from 9 a.m. until service time at the church.

The family prefers any memorials be made to the Jo Ella Cruse Women’s Circle at the First United Methodist Church in North Little Rock or the Educational Fund of the PEO Sisterhood.

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