Cecil H. Holifield, 61, of Blytheville, died Monday, Nov. 26, 2007, at St. Bernards Medical Center in Jonesboro. Born in Rector to the late Farris and Laura Holifield, he obtained multiple degrees in education from Arkansas State University, including bachelors, masters and specialist degrees. He also completed course requirements for a doctoral degree from the University of Mississippi. In 1964, he was the first alternate selection of the state of Arkansas to attend Boys Nation to future president Bill Clinton. He went on to receive the R.E. Lee Wilson Award for citizenship in 1968, the highest honor bestowed on a graduating senior.
Holifield went on to a 28-year career in education starting as a speech and drama teacher at Jonesboro High School. In 1975, he was the second person hired to start Mississippi County Community College and ultimately became the vice president for Educational Services and Advancement. He finished his career in education at Arkansas State University, where he held the position of vice president for University Relations.
Upon leaving education, Holifield served as president/CEO of the Blytheville Gosnell Area Chamber of Commerce for six years. His civic contributions were varied and numerous and matched his philosophy of giving back to one's community.
In addition to his parents, he was also preceded in death by a sister, Jean Miles.
He is survived by his wife, Cindy; a son, Robert; a daughter, Emily; and two sisters, Glenda Long and Phyllis Messee.
The funeral was held at 10 a.m. Thursday at First United Methodist Church in Blytheville with Rev. William Christopher Cooper officiating. Graveside services were held at 1:30 p.m. at Woodland Heights Cemetery in Rector with Cobb Funeral Home of Blytheville in charge of arrangements.
The family requests anyone wishing to leave a lasting memorial consider the Cecil H. Holifield Scholarship Fund at Arkansas Northeastern College, P.O. Box 1109, Blytheville 72315.
Condolences can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.