John and Amy Villines: Couple remembered for humor, love for family
By Kelby Newcomb
John and Amy Villines of Harrison were known for their sense of humor, their love for each other and their dedication to their family.
The couple was swept from the roadway by water on Nov. 30, 2018. Their bodies were recovered recently.
John was the owner of Villines Lock and Key. He was a proud sponsor of the Villines Lock and Key Bull Jam at the Newton County Fair and Rodeo. He had a generous heart and provided free lockout service to those in need, assisted local law enforcement, and was a quiet supporter of the community.
Amy was a program eligibility specialist with the Arkansas Department of Human Services. She was a past member of Harrison Kiwanis and enjoyed shopping, couponing, and interior design. She was a loving wife and her top priority was being a mother for her boys.
Allison Black said her brother John was always willing to assist others.
“John was a hero who never hesitated to help someone in need,” she said. “His locksmithing skills are legendary. My brother left big shoes to fill, and I want to make him proud.”
Tera DeMeyer said Amy was a great big sister.
“As my big sister, Amy always watched out for me when I was a child, through my teenage years and still as an adult,” DeMeyer said. “She showed me unconditional love. She loved my children, Dustin and Tori, like she loved her own. She was loyal and by my side through all life’s journeys, and she was certainly my biggest fan.”
John, she said, was the family cut-up.
“He always kept us laughing,” DeMeyer said. “He looked at Amy like she hung the moon. Every day, he told her she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He did not care who was around. He always showed and proved his love for her.”
The sisters also compiled information on John and Amy’s love story, calling it “The Story of Us.”
Their love story began when Amy locked her keys inside her car, the story says, and a locksmith was her only answer. John responded to Amy’s call and while he thought she was beautiful, he never let her know. John left that call feeling he had missed the chance to get to know her, the story says.
Thankfully, fate intervened, and Amy locked her keys in her car once again. On this service call, John talked with her about how difficult it was to be alone on Valentine’s Day, and he tried his best to charm her, the story says. Amy did not recognize John’s attempts at flirting with her, it says. Amy reassured him it would be OK as she, too, knew the hardship of being alone during this time of year, the story says.
Amy, who sold Home Interior, did not have any money for the unlock service that day but offered John a Home Interior candle, which he gladly accepted as payment. Feeling sad he had missed another opportunity with Amy, John took the advice of his brother-in-law and called her. Amy rejected John’s request for a date but eventually changed her mind with the help of her sister. After only their first date, John told his mom he had found “the one.”
John and Amy were married a short time later in June 2007. The story says John lit Amy’s candle every year on their wedding anniversary, and he said that candle was the spark that ignited their love.
Barbara Villines said her son John was good at taking care of people, especially through his locksmithing business.
“A child locked in a car was a drop-and-run emergency,” she said. “Many times he never charged for the lockout service on those calls. Pets locked in a car was a fast-response call as well.”
Joyce Pittman said Amy was not only her “precious daughter” but also her best friend.
“Every evening when we talked, we would laugh together about silly things that happened that day,” Pittman said, “and we cried many tears together during our talks. Amy loved her family. She loved spending time with all of them.”
She said Amy loved her two sons dearly and was “such a sweet momma” to them.
As a child, Pittman said Amy was always the first one out of bed on Christmas morning.
“Amy always loved Christmas. She couldn’t wait until Christmas morning,” she said. “Amy would run to look under the tree and then wake everyone else up. She would be so excited she could hardly speak! As an adult, Amy was still excited about celebrating Christmas.”
Pittman continued, “She could never keep a secret, ever, about anything. At Christmas, everyone in the whole house knew exactly what they were receiving from her. Amy would be so excited she would have to tell each person what she got them.”
She said one of the happiest times of her life was the day Amy was born.
“She brought so much joy into my life and to those who loved her,” Pittman said. “Another time she brought me sheer joy was the day she accepted Christ into her life.”
She said she will miss hearing her daughter’s laughter and seeing her beautiful smile.
“Her hugs — if you received a hug from Amy, you knew it,” Pittman said. “Her hugs were big. They were strong, affectionate and filled with so much love. Amy was so loving.”
She concluded, “I know she is in a much better place, and I know we will be together one of these days. But I also know I will feel her absence every day of my life. My heart is broken, but I pray I can be the grandmother and mom she would want me to be.”
Mindy Hicks, Amy’s stepsister, said Amy was the big sister she received during her teenage years.
“It was one of the best times to have a big sister,” she said, “and learn life lessons only a big sister could teach! I already miss her random calls, texts and her hugs — her hugs were the best.”
Hicks said one of the first lessons Amy taught her was what to do in Branson traffic.
“She said if traffic is bumper to bumper in Branson, that lane in the middle can be used as an express lane,” she said, laughing. “The people who use it as a turning lane only slow you down.”
Hicks continued, “When you test drive vehicles in Harrison, especially red convertibles, she taught me that you must drive by what is now the Durand Center. If you drive slowly, the large windows can be used as mirrors, so you can see just how fabulous you look in red sports cars.”
She said she’ll never forget how much Amy loved her family.
“Amy loves my kids — from pageants to fun dress-up and even a large bag of Nerf gun paraphernalia,” Hicks said, “she was always thinking of someone when she found a good bargain! She and John will always be missed.”
Hannah Godfrey said her cousin Amy was a proud Christian.
“Amy wanted everyone to know she was a Christian,” Godfrey said. “She didn’t want to ever pass away and have her family wonder about her salvation.”
Delene McCoy, gifted and talented teacher for Berryville middle and high schools, said she knew Amy from the time she was a small child.
“Amy was a compassionate, loving person whose heart was as big as the outdoors,” McCoy said. “Amy would come to my home and babysit my children when they were little. My sons and daughter have very fond memories of Amy spending summer days with them and enriching their lives with her care and love.”
She continued, “I didn’t know John as well, but I was familiar with his family and knew them to be a good family who cared about their community. I know Amy and John were so in love and are sharing Valentine’s Day together in heaven.”
Wendy McClellan, Berryville High School secretary, said she and Amy were both Green Forest High School graduates. She said the thing she remembers most about Amy is her smile.
“She was always smiling and laughing,” McClellan said. “She had a fun personality. She was nice to everyone, and everyone liked her. She was that kind of person. Amy was tons of fun to be around.”
Ron Pittman, Amy’s stepfather, said the family of John and Amy want to thank their many friends, family members and neighbors for their overwhelming acts of support during the 71 days of searching.
“Thank you to everyone that helped in the search,” he said. “The many prayers, cards, food, gifts and just being there for us has been so greatly appreciated. You all have gone far above and beyond what anyone could have expected. There are no words to adequately express our sincere thanks. May God richly bless you all for all you have done.”
Amy is survived by her mother and stepfather Joyce and Ron Pittman of Harrison and stepmother Judy Bryant of Branson; her sons and daughter-in-law Dalton Sattler, Bryceton Wiggington, and Justice and Katie Didway; sister and brother-in-law: Tera and Joey DeMeyer of Harrison; step-siblings and spouses Mindy and Craig Hicks of Berryville and J.R. and Carrie Pittman of Kingston; in-laws Frank and Barbara Villines, sisters-in-law and and brothers-in-law: Allison and Chris Black and James and Mallory Villines; nephew Duston Savage, nieces Tori Savage, Ella Black; step-grandfather Norman Pittman and a host of other nieces, nephews and friends. She was preceded in death by her father, Terry Lee “Rhino” Bryant and her grandparents.
John is survived by his parents, sons and daughter-in-law Justice and Katie Didway of Mountain Home, Dalton Sattler, and Bryceton Wiggington; his sister and brother-in-law Allison and Chris Black of Western Grove; his brother and sister-in-law James and Mallory Villines of Springdale; in-laws Ron and Joyce Pittman, Judy Bryant; sister-in-law and brother-in-law Tera and Joey DeMeyer, and a host of nieces, nephews, family, and friends. He was preceded in death by his grandparents and father-in-law Terry “Rhino” Bryant.