Cover photo for Dr. Cecil Sutley's Obituary
Dr. Cecil Sutley Profile Photo

Dr. Cecil Sutley

September 7, 1920 — September 23, 2020

Dr. Cecil Sutley

Cecil Calvin Sutley, 100, a retired professor, died Sept. 23 at a local nursing home.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, at First Baptist Church here, with the Rev. Lee McGlone officiating. Visitation will be at Ruggles-Wilcox Funeral Home from 6-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2.

Born Sept. 7, 1920, in DeFuniak Springs, Fla., Sutley was the youngest of nine children for Daniel Franklin and Salona Kyle Durden Sutley.

Sutley spent 33 years as a professor of religion at Ouachita Baptist University. After Sutley retired from OBU, he and his late wife, Ellajane, served as volunteer Baptist missionaries in Liberia for 17 months and Niger for six months. Back home, they spent 17 years as Meals on Wheels volunteers, and he was a volunteer hospice chaplain for 20 years.

Before completing his doctorate and arriving at Ouachita in 1954, Sutley was a chaplain’s assistant in the Army Air Corps during World War II and served as pastor of churches in Mississippi, Florida and Oklahoma while attending Mississippi College in Clinton, Miss., and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

While at OBU, he filled in as a “supply pastor” at Baptist churches throughout Arkansas. He served as interim pastor at churches in the communities of Hagler (Arkansas County), Canfield (Lafayette County) and DeGray (Clark County).

Sutley enjoyed an interest in travel that prompted him to organize and lead 53 tour groups to 85 countries. On many trips, he took the love of his life, Ellajane, or one of their five children.

He was preceded in death by his wife of almost 75 years, Ellajane Inman Sutley, and one daughter, Susan Reed of North Little Rock.

Survivors include three daughters, Marie Dallas and Jeanne Hanson, both of Arkadelphia, and Jacque Goble (Elmer) of Johns Creek, Ga.; one son, Bill Sutley (Brenda) of Arkadelphia; 10 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; and two great-great grandchildren.

During retirement, Sutley circulated “Cecil’s Scribblings” via email to hundreds of friends and family. Those were recently compiled as a book, “Every Good Gift: Cecil’s Scribblings and Other Thoughts,” which is available through the OBU Bookstore. The book was unveiled at his 100th birthday celebration, which included a Zoom call from many in his family.

Memorials may be made to the Ellajane and Cecil Sutley Scholarship Fund at OBU, Slot 3754-Development Office, 410 Ouachita St., Arkadelphia, AR, 71923-9961, or FBC Arkadelphia at 116 N. 7th St., Arkadelphia, AR  71923.

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