Donald Phelps

Donald Houston Phelps

May 31, 1964 - January 21, 2021
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Donald Houston “Don” Phelps, 56, of Little Rock, AR, was called home to be with our Lord and Savior on Thursday, January 21, 2021.
He was born May 31, 1964, in Pine Bluff, AR, at Jefferson Regional Medical Center to Harry Houston and Mary Alice McDaniel Phelps.
Don received his education at Woodlawn, graduating from Woodlawn High School in 1982.
He worked for the Little Rock School District as a nutritional warehouse manager.
Don leaves behind a legacy as a faithful servant of the Lord. God blessed Don with the talent of song. Don answered his calling by serving as the music minister for Providence Missionary Baptist Church for many years. Don loved singing and playing his guitar. This talent was also given to his daughter, Lexie. The two of them would perform together often.
Don was a family man with a servant’s heart. He was always helping and giving to others. He looked for the good in everyone.
Don could command a room with his calming voice, laughter, and spot-on impersonations. He was full of life and lived it to the fullest. He loved to travel with his girls. He was an avid bass fisherman and Razorback fan. Everyone who knew him loved him and was better because of it.
He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, James Royce and Velma Francis Phelps; his maternal grandparents, Joe Calvin and Letha Willard McDaniel; and great-niece, Whitley Young.
Along with his parents, Don is survived by his loving wife, Stephanie Yarbrough Phelps, whom he married August 25, 1989, in Rowell, AR; a daughter, Lexie Phelps of Little Rock, AR; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Jim and Chris Yarbrough of Little Rock, AR; a sister, Mary Catherine Eldridge (Mike) of Rowell, AR; sister-in-law, Glenda Hanson (Tandy) of Dumas, AR; nieces, Shifawn Rawls (Josh) of Alabama, and Sarah Slaughter (James) of Woodlawn, AR; nephew, Brad Young (Karla) of Rowell, AR; great-nieces, Brenna Young, Audra Rawls, and Paisley Slaughter; and great-nephews, Jacob Rawls and Hudgin Young.
Visitation will be 11:30 A.M.-12:30 P.M. Wednesday, January 27, 2021, at Center Missionary Baptist Church in Rowell, AR, followed by a celebration of his life at 12:30 P.M. with Brothers David Leopard and Doney Blackerby officiating. Interment will be in Rowell Cemetery by Ralph Robinson and Son Funeral Directors.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to the Don Phelps Emergency Response Fund at Little Rock Christian Academy, 19010 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, AR 72223. Online giving is available at
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Wednesday, January 27, 2021 | 11:30am - 12:30pm
    Wednesday, January 27, 2021 11:30am - 12:30pm
    Center Missionary Baptist Church
    60 Cole Road
    Rison, AR 71665
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Wednesday, January 27, 2021 | 12:30pm
    Wednesday, January 27, 2021 12:30pm
    Center Missionary Baptist Church
    60 Cole Road
    Rison, AR 71665
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    Rowell Cemetery
    60 Buster Cole Road
    Rison, AR 71665
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence
Love, Cora Hunt Wilburn, Hughie and Marilyn Webb and Diane Grigsby sent flowers to the family of Donald Houston Phelps.
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Lilly Bouie, PhD

Posted at 01:44am
Thank you for uploading the Webcast of the services.

"A Journey Remembered"
As some people journey through life, they leave footprints wherever they go - footprints of kindness and love,
courage and compassion, humor and inspiration, joy and faith.
Even when they are gone, we can still look back and clearly see the trail they
left behind - a trail bright with hope that invites us to follow.
Praying that Mrs. Phelps, Lexie, Don's parents and family will be comforted with
precious memories and God's presence to care for you in your loss,
With Sympathy,
Dr. Lilly Bouie
May God Bless You and Keep You!

Linda Clark

Posted at 10:32am
Condolences from the family of the late Joe Reed.

Stacey Curry Hankins

Posted at 11:47pm
I grew up next door to Donald all of my life. I’d always stay at his house during the summertime and play basketball or ride skateboards on the concrete of both of our carports. I’ve always said he’s the brother I never had. Even though I haven’t seen him in years, he has always and will continue to have a very special place in my heart.

Lilly Bouie, PhD

Posted at 10:42pm
To: Mrs. Stephanie Phelps, Lexie and Mr. Phelps parents:

Condolences extended, I am Dr. Lilly Bouie, Mr. Phelp’s former supervisor at Little Rock Schools. I am so sorry that I cannot be with you to celebrate Don’s Homegoing. However, I extend condolences from Atlanta this evening as USDA’s Regional Director for Food & Nutrition Services, Southeast. I have often spoken of Don, the warehouse staff, nutrition personnel, and my great experiences with Little Rock Schools. It goes without saying that I am thankful for this virtual opportunity to share a few memories of a son, a husband, a father, a relative and a giant employee (Mr. Don Phelps/Distribution Manager) who lived his passion daily for “Providing Service” to the children of the Little Rock School District. I had the pleasure of recommending promotion of Mr. Phelps from Assistant Manager to Distribution Manager shortly after his supervisor, then John Knox transitioned. John’s transition took Don by storm. John’s death was very difficult for Don. John meant a lot to Don. He was destined to use the training that John had provided to be sure that he carried on where John left off. John was a great friend to Don and his supervisor. When the vacancy was announced, Mr. Phelps interviewed and was recommended to the position of Distribution Manager under my leadership. Thereafter, I had the pleasure of supervising Mr. Phelps collectively for 12 years (2005-2017) during the time that I served as Nutrition Director for Little Rock Schools. Mr. Phelps (Don) as known to many, performed duties of securing food to accommodate the numerous meals provided to the children of the district. While the district was responsible for providing meals at that time for over 19,000 students per day, Don had the chore of ordering the foods to accommodate the menus as planned. Many days it was stressful, but he managed to always maintain professional relationships with vendors whereby they respected his voice and the needs of his requests as Distribution Manager.
Mr. Phelps had a gift of calculations, just like John, he knew exactly how many cases of spices, tomatoes paste and other ingredients which were required to accommodate recipes. He knew the recipes by hard and he kept up with the case counts. He was also effective as a good manager. He appreciated his staff and often thought not much did they do wrong. The gentlemen would work as requested to deliver the goods to meet the mission of the department and that was to “Provide Service”. I can recall one driver backing a truck into the edge of a building (he and I thought the building/architect) got in the way. We thought the design of the building did not accommodate the size of the truck being driven (smile). I also recall when the warehouse purchased its first refrigerated truck. Don was responsible for working with the trucking center on I-40 to build the truck and all that goes along with that process. It cost $65,000 and you would have thought that we had purchased a Lambrogenie or similar. He really valued the opportunity to have new equipment, especially something refrigerated to transport food to schools. As the years proceeded, the department gained other trucks, vans, (new and used) to increase the delivery capacity and the team managed well under his leadership. There is just so much to tell and I am sure that Mrs. Phelps, Mr. Shutes, then his assistant and staff knows all the stories.
Lexie, words cannot express the love and compassion your dad had for you! When you were a little girl, he would pick you up from school and bring you back to the office to wait with him while he completed his work. Everyone knows Lexie, if you knew Don Phelps! You were his favorite girl and believe me, he wanted nothing but the very best for you. He loved his Lexie, you were his prize and Mrs. Phelps, you were the real priority. I recall instances when there may have been special projects or bids or emergencies. He never said under my leadership, NO, just, “I have to go get Lexie and Stephanie and I will be back if you really need me to”.
Don was dedicated and he took his work seriously. Many truckers valued him as he took sometimes hours to assist inexperienced truckers who came with cabs and trailers that exceeded the normal capacity to get into the delivery bay. Sometimes, we would watch him on the camera for hours, working tirelessly to get the truck in the bay, because the food was needed. Rain, shine or snow – he would work to get the drivers in and I cannot recall a time that a driver gave up under his direction. Even though the light pole was always in the way, he managed to get them in when they were having difficulty.
Don had many strong attributes:
• He was the fastest walker in Nutrition Programs, and especially when he was going to the kitchen (smile).
• He was the fastest driver on 65 North coming to Little Rock before he moved within the City of Little Rock.
• He had the highest percentage of miles on any vehicle, as he kept the road hot, back and forth to check on family. I always told him that he needed to get an award for the most miles traveled.
• Don was a good friend to many managers and a good colleague to many fellow employees. Many managers depended on him as sometimes they made mistakes in their ordering and still had enough food for all sites.
• He knew how to rotate deliveries around among the schools if there was not a sufficient supply delivered.
• Don knew many sales managers of local distributorships.
• Don was responsible for ordering more food than any one individual in the State of Arkansas and he is to be commended for those efforts.
• He was dedicated and he was loyal to his supervisors and the Little Rock School District. Often compromising himself to serve others.
He was a good supervisor, who was willing to recognize that many persons under his supervision had families and obligations; thus, he was forgiving as long as it did not compromise him and his responsibilities to the district. Of course, I can go on and on with exciting, laughable, memorable moments.
Just one more story, we all know that Don was a real Razorback. Well, I am a Mississippi State Bulldog and Don and the employees, each football and/or basketball season, would have great fun talking about the Hoggs and the Dawgs and upcoming games. During football season, I would grab my giant Bully Bell and there I would go into the warehouse. I would start ringing, a far distance, he would say, “I knew you were coming with that bell, just wait and see!” Of course, it would be a bad Monday if the Dawgs lost.
Moreover, I recall, when I drove off from my celebratory bash when I took on this career opportunity – Don Phelps was the last person that I saw at the balloon release as he wished me well. We were both emotional. Since then, I only communicated with him once and that was when the Dawgs wore out the Hoggs in 2019. I could not resist, I sent him an email that had a huge bulldog in the center. I wanted it to be there when he arrived at work on that Monday. He sent me a return email and it said, “A dog has his day – butt a Hogg always gets his way!” I laughed so as I am sure he did. So today, Mr. Phelps, I join Mrs. Phelps, Lexie, your family and friends and the Little Rock School District in Celebrating Your Life and most of all, one last ring of this bully bell for you!
May the Gates Swing Open and let you in – You have served well!

Fred and Becky Tucker

Posted at 07:50pm
So sorry for your loss. May the Good Lord comfort you during this difficult time. Fred and I loved listening to Don sing in church. He was a blessing to us.

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