Oleatha Wulfekuhler

Oleatha Jane Wulfekuhler

July 24, 1924 - September 30, 2020
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Oleatha Jane Wulfekuhler, age 96, of Pine Bluff, passed away September 30, 2020. She was born on July 24, 1924 in McLouth, Kansas to Reverend Hally Trent Clark and Ethel Altic Clark. Oleatha was a devoted wife and loving mother of five children.

Oleatha was a 1941 graduate of Larned High School in Larned, Kansas. After graduation, her family moved to Leavenworth where she worked as an accounts receivable assistant and at the United States Army Induction Center at Fort Leavenworth, where she was one of the first women to serve at that center. While in Leavenworth, she met and married Frederick August Wulfekuhler on June 5, 1943.

After Fred’s service in the United States Army, Fred and Oleatha moved to Hutchinson, Kansas, where Fred began his newspaper career and they started their family. Four out of five of their children were born in Hutchinson. She and Fred shared a lifelong love of Kansas… where everything seemed to be better (a family joke)!

Oleatha and Fred moved to Paragould, Arkansas in 1959 when they acquired The Paragould Daily Press. They were members of the First United Methodist Church where Oleatha served as President of the United Methodist Women and as a lay delegate to the district conference. In her 50s, Oleatha began playing tennis, which she enjoyed well into her 70s. Throughout her life she loved to watch professional tennis on television.
Being married to a newspaper man, Oleatha was an avid reader of current events until her death. She was also a deeply committed Christian who studied the Bible daily as long as her health allowed. A careful donor, Oleatha gave generously to many good causes. However, her greatest joy in life was her family. She was a meticulous homemaker and derived immense pleasure from being a mother to her five children, who all remember her wonderful meals which were served at 6:00 p.m. sharp and her delicious apple pie! Although she was known to most people as quiet and thoughtful, Oleatha was known to her family as someone who loved to laugh and play games, but who was also very strong willed. Whenever challenged she would say, “I’m the MOM”!

Oleatha and Fred also loved to travel, attending many newspaper conventions in Arkansas and throughout the United States. They also enjoyed trips to Germany with their son, Kurt, and granddaughter, Angela, after corresponding with a German cousin for several years.

In 1992, Oleatha and her husband, after selling The Paragould Daily Press, retired to Hot Springs Village, where they became active members of Kirk of the Pines Presbyterian Church. In 2004, with Fred’s health declining, they moved from their home on Lake Balboa to Trinity Village Apartments in Pine Bluff so they could be closer to family. In Pine Bluff they became members of First Presbyterian Church. Oleatha showed immeasurable courage and strength as she cared for her ailing husband until his death in 2006. Oleatha later became a member of First United Methodist Church, where she remained a member until her death.

Oleatha is survived by her five children, Susan Sanford and her husband, Peter, of Corvallis, Oregon; Jan Smalling and her husband, Bob, of Warren; Dr. Kurt Wulfekuhler of Albuquerque, New Mexico; Gail Bellingrath and her husband, Mac, of Pine Bluff, and Kristin Lile, and her husband, Robert, of Steamboat Springs, Colorado; nine grandchildren, Mark Smalling (Carrie), Angela Jones (Derek), Laurie Letts (Scott), Kate Bellingrath, Duncan Bellingrath, Jake Altik, Aidan Altik, Benjamin Sanford and Jonathan Sanford, and 13 great-grandchildren, Connor Smalling, Corbin Smalling, Cole Smalling, Cade Smalling, Caitlyn Brandom, Charlie Brandom, Mallory Coffey (Daulton), Blake Jones, Braden Jones, Parker Letts, Connor Letts, Cameron Sanford and Ella Rose Sanford; and one great-great grandson, Jon Coffey. She is also survived by her loving friends and caregivers – Sylvester Jones, Angelia Huggins, Shelia Johnson, Gloria Paskel, Versie Reeves and Girtha Adway.

A private service and burial will be held for family only. Memorials may be made to Neighbor to Neighbor of Jefferson County, 1419 S. Pine Street, Pine Bluff, AR 71601.

Arrangements are by Ralph Robinson and Son Funeral Directors of Pine Bluff (online register:
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Service Details

  • Service

    Saturday, October 3, 2020 | 2:00pm
    Saturday, October 3, 2020 2:00pm
    Linwood Cemetery
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Jana Rentzel sent flowers to the family of Oleatha Jane Wulfekuhler.
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Pat Tate

Posted at 11:42am
We at Neighbor to Neighbor would like to thank the family for naming us as recipients of memorials honoring Mrs. Wulfekuhler.

Bernard J. Raley

Posted at 10:03am
So sorry to hear of you all loosing your mother! Your family had a wonderful history in Paragould. Mrs. Wulfekuhler had a great long life which you all will cherish good memories I’m sure. Keeping your family in prayer. Bernard Raley

Jana Rentzel

Posted at 02:48pm
Warm and loving condolences to you and your family, dear Gail. Our hearts and prayers are with you. With love, Jana
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Lucy and Charlie McNew

Posted at 10:48am
Gail, please know you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Lucy and Charlie McNew

Roy & Trish Ferrell

Posted at 10:58pm
Gail, Jan and family, so very sorry to hear of your loss. We send prayers for comfort, strength and peace!

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