Sharon Riggs Gaither Massey, 85, passed away surrounded by family and friends at Lawrence Hall Nursing Home, in Walnut Ridge, AR, on Thursday, April 11, 2024. A descendant of early settlers in Craighead County, she was born on December 22, 1938, at her grandparents’ home in Jonesboro, AR. Her father was an airplane mechanic for the US Navy and upon his early retirement, the family settled in Clover Bend Arkansas to start farming and where Sharon would graduate Salutatorian of her class in 1956. She went on to get an associate degree from Arkansas State University in Interior Design in 1959 where she was also a member of the Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority.
Sharon started her work life in Memphis working for Delta Airlines. She met many celebrities that passed through the airport including Elvis and John F Kennedy. When she later married and had kids, she worked tirelessly for several organizations over the years including the PTA, March of Dimes, Lifeblood, in which she was President, in addition to running a successful family crop dusting service. She regularly attended First Baptist Church in Walnut Ridge and was active in teaching Sunday School. After her divorce in 1982, Sharon went on to reinvent herself back to what she loved most, interior decorating. She would end up working for Goldsmiths in Memphis, which later became Macys, in their furniture department. She retired from there after 14 years of service.
Though she loved the work she did, nothing compared to the love she had for her family and friends. She would often entertain and cook for the people she loved and collected hundreds of cookbooks to try new recipes. She loved to read and had thousands of novels on her shelves and read every one of them. Summers in her house would be filled with color bursting from the flowers she grew every year. It was said that she had such a green thumb, she would just look at a flower and it would bloom! But her greatest source of pride was her grandchildren. There would not be a time if you stopped to talk to her, she was not bragging about some accomplishment of her grandkids. She was always very active in their lives and will be greatly missed.
Survivors include her Son, Cary Gaither Massey (wife Raelyne) of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, and daughter, Ginger Renee Massey Smith (husband Trent) of Greers Ferry, Arkansas; 6 grandchildren, Carrie Rae Massey of Walnut Ridge AR, Dr. Lauren Elizabeth Massey Lefler, DO (husband Christian) of Bartlett, TN, LT Hannah Leigh Massey, USN of Monterey, CA and Georgia Mackenzie Smith, Grace Madison Smith, and Luke Smith of Greers Ferry, AR. 3 Great Grand Children, Adelyn Blake Massey and David Jaxon Massey of Walnut Ridge AR and Levi Troupe Lefler of Barlett TN; her brother, John Larry Gaither (wife Arlene) of North Carolina and Sister-in-law, Linda Cathcart Gaither of Jonesboro AR. Along with several cousins, nieces, and nephews. Sharon was preceded in death by her Parents, Albert Chilson Gaither and Georgia Irene Riggs Gaither of Walnut Ridge and her brother, Albert Duane Gaither of Jonesboro, AR.
Funeral Service will be Thursday, April 18, 2024, at 12 P.M. in the Bryan Funeral Home Chaple with Bro. Jake Guenrich officiating. Pallbearers will be her family and friends. Interment will follow in the Lawrence Memorial Park Cemetery in Walnut Ridge.
Visitation will be Wednesday, April 17, 2024, from 6 P.M. till 8 P.M.