Monette woman dies in accident

Saturday, May 4, 2002

Evelyn Jo Barham, 79, of Monette died Wednesday in an accident on Highway 18 between Lake City and Bowman.

According to Arkansas State Trooper First Class Tony Austin, the accident occurred at approximately 12:20 p.m. Barham was traveling west on Arkansas 18 near Bowman in a 1996 Buick when she met an eastbound 1989 Chevrolet pickup truck, driven by Billy E. Wells, 33, of Manila.

Wells was carrying two French doors in the bed of his pickup. As the two vehicles met, one of the doors flew from the pickup truck and went through the windshield of Barham's vehicle. Barham's vehicle came to rest against a bridge guard rail.

Craighead County Deputy Coroner Milton Harbison pronounced Barham dead at the scene. The body was transported to Emerson Funeral Home in Jonesboro.

Wells told police he had tied the doors securely into the pickup but they were apparently blown loose by the high winds.

Barham was born in the Mangrum Community in Black Oak, the only daughter of Jake and Edna Bowden. She had five brothers.

Mrs. Barham spent many years in the education field. She attended Arkansas State University and received a Bachelor of Science in Education degree on May 30, 1958. She taught at Monette and Leachville elementary schools for many years.

In 1965 she returned to ASU to obtain a Masters Degree in Counseling.

She later became a high school counselor at Monette High School.

She remarried in the early 1970's to Burl Barham and moved to Concord, Calif., where she taught school for a few years in a private Christian school.

In 1981 Mrs. Barham retired and the couple returned to Monette.

Prior to becoming a teacher, Mrs. Barham got her first job during World War II. She went to work at Bohn Alumninum Plant in Detroit, Mich.

She returned to her home town and married John Robert Ashley who was a decorated World War II Veteran. They were living in Monette when Mr. Ashley passed away in 1954.

The Ashleys moved in with her mother, Edna Bowden, so she could attend colelge.

Mrs. Barham was active with Kohn Library, Monette Manor, the Senior Citizens Center at Monette and Caraway, her church, quilting parties, and enjoyed playing cards.

She enjoyed helping people and for a while she worked as a sitter with Superior Senior Care in Jonesboro.

She enjoyed her home and it was always open to her family and friends.

In her career as a teacher and counselor she influenced many young people's lives. During the Vietnam War, her only two sons served and both returned safely.

"She has the gift of encouragement," her niece Paula Poag, said. "She helped me and encouraged me to go into a teaching career. Without her help, I may not have been able to be certified in Arkansas," Poag said.

Mrs. Barham said her prized possessions (as recorded in the Town Crier Know Your Neighbor feature a few years ago) was her faith in God, her family and her friends.

Her children are John Robert (Robin) Ashley Jr., of Monette, Michael Lee Ashley of Manila and Edna Ann (Eddy Ann) Coggin of Jonesboro.

Her grandchildren are Rhonda Ashley of St. Charles, Mo., John Lee Ashley of Monette, Thomas Kane Ashley of Monette, Michael Brent Coggin of Clemson, S.C., Micah Larissa Coggin of Jonesboro. She has one great-grandson, Ian Wallace Carapello of St. Charles, Mo.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: