In Memoriam

The following friends from the class of 1976 are reported to have died since graduation. If you know of other classmates who have died or have more information about these lives that you would like us to add, send a note to Two FHS graduates, Kevin Cunningham and Conrad Odom, maintain a Facebook group — Fayetteville Friends — In Memoriam — dedicated to the remembrance of all FHS graduates who have died.

Ricky Ahart, 1958-2002, Obituary.

Cheryl Allred, 1958-2013, Obituary.

Keith Banks, 1958-1980, Obituary.

Mark Basset, 1958-2010, Obituary.

Linda Bixby Vandagriff, 1958-2011, Obituary.

Kirk Bradley, 1958-1999, Obituary.

Mike Bryant, 1957-1976. Obituary.

Morton “Skip” Carnes, 1958-2014, Obituary.

Lynn Chandler, 1958-1976, Obituary.

Angela Childress West Lies, 1957-2013, Obituary.

Brooks Clower, 1957-2010, Obituary.

Sandi Coffin, 1957-1993, Obituary.

Gay Coston, 1958-2016, Obituary.

Dianne Cross, 1858-2007, Obituary.

Michael Davidson, 1957-1997, Obituary.

Dennis Davis, 1958-1982, Obituary.

Diane Davis, 1957-2010, Obituary.

Jeff Day, 1958-2011, Obituary.

Nancy Dodson Peters, 1958-1998, Obituary.

Greg Flowers, 1957-2017, Obituary.

Mike Garner, 1958-2007, Obituary.

Weeda Gooding, 1958-2008, Obituary.

Nicky Gyles, 1957-2010, Obituary.

Gary J. Harris, 1958-2010, Obituary.

Stephen Lee Harris, 1958-2018, Obituary.

Alan Hepler, 1958-1986, Obituary.

Matt Holtzen, 1958-2009, Obituary.

Michael Jackson, 1958-2015, Obituary.

Dyke Jennings, 1957-2016, Obituary.

Steve “Country” Jones, 1957-1977, Obituary.

Mike Lyman, 1958-2021, Obituary.

Brian McGreevy, 1957-2008, Obituary.

Miles Lynn Patrick, 1957-2017, Obituary.

Stephen McGinnis, 1958-2018. Obituary.

Pat Miller Simpson, 1958-2006, Obituary.

Donna Moore, 1958-2004, Obituary.

Naoto Sekiguchi, 1958-2021, Obituary.

Jan Skarda, 1957-1994, Obituary.

Dwaine Spears, 1958-2002, Obituary.

Sheri Starr Keen, 1958-2015, Obituary.

Richard Steel, 1957-2000, Obituary.

Jimmy Stout, 1958-2007, Obituary.

Craig Venema, 1958-1993, Obituary.

Robert “Bobby” Waterson, 1958-2014, Obituary.

Myra Wesson, 1958-2003, Obituary.

Dennis Wohlford, 1957-2016, Obituary.

Obituary for Stephen McGinnis

Stephen Eugene McGinnis died Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, at his home in Fayetteville, two days after his 60th birthday. He was born Aug. 9, 1958, the son of Burl Eugene and Audrey May Crumley McGinnis, who were from the Hindsville and Clifty areas.

He learned to play the fiddle at an early age and by junior high was a regular at the Arkansas Country Opry, performing weekly at the Palace Theatre on the downtown Fayetteville Square. He played country, gospel and bluegrass favorites, backing local performers such as Sarge and Shirley West as well as the visiting headliners like Jim Staggs. He also performed several times on the John Chick Show, a live variety program broadcast by KTUL-TV in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“I recall him trying to school us in the ways of Janis Joplin when we were all into The Partridge Family and Bobby Sherman,” said Gweneth Hunter Reed, a classmate. “He was a lovely guy.”

“Steve will be greatly missed,” Bill Cunningham, another classmate, said. “He was a one-of-a-kind personality, many talents and always a friend to everybody.”

Classmate Naoto Sekiguchi recalled: “In a testament to the kind of guy he was, Stephen always treated me like I was his best friend in the times I saw him since school. He called me ‘Buddy’ and it seemed heartfelt. Even as he suffered serious health issues he always seemed to face up to them with courage and a positive mind. What I will remember him best for is his talent for music. He was always enthusiastic about cutting loose on an energetic rendition of Rocky Top.”

McGinnis grew up a member of the Immanuel Baptist Church and was baptized there. He was music director for the church and later for First Baptist Church of Greenland.

He was a 1976 graduate of Fayetteville High School, where he played in the orchestra and was president of the Library Club. When citizen band radios enjoyed a brief popularity during the 1970s, Steve could be heard many evenings using the handle “Li’l Abner.”

His interest in electronics led him to study computer science at the University of Arkansas, where he also worked as a lab technician before moving to College Station, Texas, for a job as manager of a computer lab at Texas A&M University when the university was in the early stages of establishing computing resources for students. While there, he continued his studies and also graduated from A&M’s Employee Leadership Institute in 1997. After leaving Texas A&M, Steve opened a computer repair and consulting company in Bryan, Texas. He also worked for a radio station but moved back to Fayetteville in 2009 after the death of his sister, Margaret Elaine McGinnis.

Photo of Stephen McGinnis holding a music competition trophy.
Stephen McGinnis in 1975 with a trophy for musical competition.

In recent years, Steve was confined to bed due to lymphedema, an incurable and debilitating illness that affects the limbs, primarily the legs in his case. The condition leads to swelling and creates persistent wounds.

T.O. Spicer, former pastor for Sang Avenue Baptist Church, recalled that Steve applied for disability and Medicaid after becoming disabled but that financial aid didn’t start for three months. “My wife, Martha, and I dipped into our savings and paid the three months, and Stephen paid us back every penny,” he said. “That says something about the kind of person Stephen was.” The Spicers also helped with his health care needs whenever agency personnel were not available and provided meals as well.

Steve was hospitalized for a brief period, Spicer said, and then improved with physical therapy at Katherine’s Place in west Fayetteville. He was up and able to walk short stretches when funding for the therapy ran out. Soon he was homebound again.

Sarge West, with whom Steve had played country music 40 years earlier, was one of the people who began bringing him meals, provided through the food pantry of Sang Avenue Baptist Church. Sarge would also take Steve to many appointments when he could no longer transport himself. Steve often commented on what a good friend he was.

Several of his classmates also visited and helped him during the last several years. Bill Guirl and his wife, Ampie, visited often and cooked trout dinners and vegetables for him. “He had a keen sense of humor mixed with witticisms and insights,” Bill Guirl said, adding that Steve never complained, except the one time that Guirl forgot to fillet the trout. “He told me not to forget again; please!” Guirl said.

Steve loved his cats, Princess and Sarah, but had a fondness for all animals, especially the underdogs in life.

He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Margaret Elaine McGinnis. Survivors include several cousins.

Cremation arrangements by Beard’s Funeral Chapel in Fayetteville, Arkansas. A memorial service will be held at a future date.

Reunion Photo 1986

The 1986 reunion was held at the old Elks Lodge on Zion Road. More than 100 alumni attended different events of the reunion.


Front row: Hal Poole, Steve Jones, Eddie LaClair, Mike Tribble, Gregg Parker, Steve Smith, Rick Witherspoon, Soren Kraemer, Gary Streigler, Dan Wickliff, Charlie Alison, Janet Sherman, Loree Treat, Paula Faires, Liz Reagan, ??

Second row: ??, Shelley Faddis, Liz Adam, Thyrsie Anderson, Linda Williams, Sue Stockton, Becky Riggs, ??, Barbara Kane, Linda Langham, Sylvia Blyholder, Kristi Corn, Phyllis Parham, Cathy Huff, Regina Strong, Nancy Dodson, Jackie Ward, ??

Third row: Tim Smith, ??, Bill Guirl, Jody Tyson, Billie Bacha, Lisa Beard, Deanna Edens, Susan Chism, Terry Miller, Karan Carpenter, ??, ??, Pam Meinecke, Pat Bryan, Cheryl Clinehens, Teensy Kirby, Teresa Garrison, Sherri Starr, Nancy Stanberry, Tammi Garrett, Linda Colwell, Amy Wilson, Brian Noland.

Fourth row: Steven Yancey, ??, Nina Rolloff, Judy Goff, Hugh Painter, Nathan McKinney, Stephen McGinnis, Brian Holt, Debbie, Drake, Jeff Ward, Rick Turner, Janice Fuller, Gail Davis, Vickie Talburt, Lisa Lashley, Karen Waite, Cathy McRee, ??, Kathy Peele, Ann Scarbrough, Suzie Jenkins.

Fifth row: Jeff Bailey, Dick Reese, Drew Phillips, ??, Gary Hall, Bill Watkins, ??, Jeff Hobbs, ??, ??, Mike Lyman, Phillip Brown, Kathy Trice, Jeff England, Anna Leichner, Betsy Stewart, Rachel Walters

If you recognize someone whom we have yet to identify, send a note to

Arkansas Country Opry

Advertisement for Arkansas Country Opry

When the Arkansas Country Opry advertised its show at the Palace Theatre on the Fayetteville Square, among the featured guests was classmate Stephen McGinnis, who played fiddle. The ad appeared in the March 29, 1973, edition of the Northwest Arkansas Times.

Grade 2, Jefferson Elementary

Jefferson-2nd-Thurlby-croppedMrs. Thurlby’s class during the 1965-66 school year at Jefferson Elementary.

Front row, from left: Donna Miller, Cecil Connoly, Renee Runyon, Mark Boyer, Sheila Cobb, Dennis Davis, Lisa Osburn, and Randy Head.
Second row: Miss Holley, Morton Carnes, Mark Bonnell, Mary Jane Lewis, Lynn Patrick, Lois Combs, Stephen McGinnis, Ronald Perry, and Mrs. Thurlby.
Third row: Jimmy Stout, Debra Bell, Tommy Davenport, Janet Smith, Kelly Adams, Winette Denton, John Collins, and Patricia Kilpatrick.
Fourth row: Larry Stilwell, Cheryl Wise, Jeffrey Ward, Judy Murphy, Mike Burroughs, Connie Wiley, Donald Spurlock, Debra Drake, and Kenneth Mahone.

Grade 1, Jefferson Elementary

Jefferson-1st-Irene-White-croppedMrs. Irene White’s first grade class during the 1964-65 school year at Jefferson Elementary.

First row, from left: Mark Boyer, John Smith, Loy Hoskins, and Stephen McGinnis.
Second row: Debra Horner, Debra Kay Gill, Robin Russell, Mrs. White, Mary Jane Lewis, Tammy Boger, and Patricia Edmonson.
Third row: Helen Messner, John Collins, Paulita Goode, Stephen Pifer, Debra Bell, Miles Patrick, Lois Combs, Morton Carnes, and Sheila Cobb.
Fourth row: Bill Tyner, Judy Murphy, Gregory Medlock, Janice Reed, Lynn Chandler, Debra Jean Drake, Lee Capwell, Lisa Rice, Jeffrey Ward, Dixie Collins, and Patricia Harvey.

McClain to Neely

Fred McClain
Lisa McConnell
Stephen McGinnis
Brian McGreevy
Brian McGreevy
Mark McGuire
Cecile McKee
Nathan McKinney
Laura McKinnon
Cheryl McKnight
Cathy McRee
Bruce McLeod
Tammy McWhorter
Pam Meinecke
Helen Messner
Robert Meyer
David Mikles
Bobby Miller
Debbie Miller
Donna Miller
Pam Miller
Pat Miller
Terry Miller
Della Moore
Donna Moore
Karen Moore
Terry Moore
Cathy Morgan
Marcia Morgan
Sandra Morris
Cheryl Murtishaw
Dotty Neely