CLAY M. THARP, of Green Forest, Arkansas was born June 13, 1915 in Spring Creek, Arkansas, son of Stephen Harry and Alva York (Poynter) Tharp. He departed this life Thursday, October 26, 2017 in Springfield, Missouri, at the age of 102 years.
The world in which Clay Tharp grew up no longer exists. Born in 1915, the same year the first Model T car was manufactured, Clay was the seventh of ten children, the son of Harry and Alva Tharp at Spring Creek, near Blue Eye, Arkansas. In the span of his 102 years on earth, he witnessed the paving of roads, the raising of telephone lines, the installation of in-home plumbing and electricity and, eventually, the creation of the Internet. He watched from afar in the fields of agricultural production as two world wars exploded and then faded into peace; he saw the moon landing and the fall of the Berlin Wall; he drove a team and wagon three days to get to Springfield, MO in his youth, and then took his final trip there in a sleek, modern helicopter. On this 90th birthday he jumped on his great-granddaughter’s trampoline in defiance of old age, and only a few months before his 100th birthday he totaled his faithful pickup truck in an accident—though he walked away with even his eyeglasses intact. Reckless, stubborn, and always the jokester - he was teasing the ambulance personnel as they took him to the hospital - Clay Tharp lived out his values of independence and self-sufficiency as best he could until his last breath. The world that gave us Clay Tharp no longer exists—or does it? Isn’t it perpetuated by every multi-generational hay harvest; kept alive by those who uphold hard work as the ultimate reward; and strengthened by the value of an honest man’s handshake? His world lives on, and although there aren’t many more like him, his memory will remind us of the standard to which we all should aspire. Clay had professed his hope in Christ and was a member of the Green Forest United Methodist Church.
He is survived by his daughter, Peggy Robertson of Green Forest, Arkansas; grandson, Kevin Robertson and wife Janell, of Green Forest, Arkansas; great granddaughter, Erin Van Genderen and husband Andrew, of Bloxholme, England; numerous nieces, nephews, many relatives, and a host of very close friends.
On November 2, 1935, he was united in marriage to Gertrude Rhea (Carpenter) Tharp who preceded him in death. He was preceded in death by his parents, Harry and Alva Tharp; son-in-law, Jack Robertson; three brothers, Claud, Clell and Clinton Tharp; four sisters, Cliffie Satterfield, Dorothy Marriott, Elveta Robertson and Goldie Tharp; two infant siblings. He was also preceded in death by Margaret Landrum Tharp and Mildred DeWeese Tharp
Visitation will be from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., Sunday, October 29, 2017 at Nelson’s Green Forest Chapel, Green Forest, Arkansas. Funeral service will be at 10:00 a.m., Monday, October 30, 2017 at Nelson’s Green Forest Chapel with Pastor Steve Cook officiating. Interment will follow the service at the Farewell Cemetery under the direction of Nelson Funeral Service. Memorial donations may be made to the Farewell Cemetery, PO Box 1447, Green Forest, Arkansas 72616. Online condolences may be sent to the family at nelsonfuneral.com.