Bennie F. Ryburn, Jr. entered into the kingdom of heaven at peace and surrounded by family on May 8, 2017.
Born July 26, 1934 in Pine Bluff to Bennie F. Ryburn, Sr. and Virginia Morrison Ryburn of Rison, Bennie, Jr. spent his childhood making lifelong memories playing with cousins.
The family moved to Monticello in 1946 when Bennie, Sr. entered the automobile business. Bennie, Jr. graduated from Monticello High School in 1952. He attended University of Arkansas at Fayetteville where he pledged the Kappa Sigma fraternity.
In 1957, he graduated from Arkansas A&M (The University of Arkansas at Monticello) with degrees in economics and history. That same year he was commissioned as an aviator in the U. S. Naval Air Force. When he returned to Monticello, he became the manager of Ryburn Motor Co. He owned the family automobile business for 25 years. Southeast Arkansas was always close to Bennie’s heart.
In 1966, he was elected to the Arkansas State House of Representatives where he served seven terms advocating for his district. Notably, he was a sponsor of legislation to merge Arkansas A&M with the University of Arkansas system.
After leaving office, he turned his energies toward the banking industry. He was very proud of the more than 50 years he spent in banking in the great state of Arkansas. He was vitally involved in many financial institutions over the years including, The First State Savings and Loan Association of Southeast Arkansas, Citizens Bank of Tillar, Pine State Bank of Kingsland, and Arkansas Bankers Life. He served as CEO and Chairman of the Board of The Bank of Star City, Commercial Bank of Monticello, and First State Bank of Warren. He truly loved his work, most especially his colleagues. Bennie Jr. continued to be active in the banks even after his illness, choosing never to retire.
In 2008, he was the recipient of a single lung transplant at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He and his family felt truly blessed and grateful for the time his transplant afforded them to be together, experience life, and make wonderful memories. Family was a cornerstone of his life. He was very proud of his children, always excited to share the accolades and accomplishments of his grandchildren, and overjoyed to welcome three great-grandchildren into our family. Deeply devoted to his faith, he regularly attended services at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church of Monticello where he served as Senior Warden for many years.
He is survived by his wife, Marion Burge Ryburn; his children, Bennie Ryburn, III and wife, Carita Halley Ryburn, Angie Ryburn Barron and husband, Jim Barron, Ray Ryburn, and Margaret Anne Ryburn; his grandchildren, Anna Blace Maxwell and husband, Ryan Maxwell, Morrison Barron Stephens and husband, Conner Stephens, Halley Ryburn and Madison Ryburn; and his great-grandchildren, Hudson Thomas Maxwell, Montgomery Macleod Stephens, and Rhett William Maxwell.
The family would like to express our special gratitude to Joseph Pilewski, MD, Shannon Whiteman, RN, BSN, CCTC, and the entire Cardiothroacic Transplant Team at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center as well as Kent Zocchi, MD of Retina Associates Little Rock.
Memorial services will be held at Oakland Cemetery in Monticello Saturday, May 13 at 4 pm.
In lieu of flowers the family requests expressions of sympathy be made through memorial donations to: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Cardiothoracic Transplant c/o Shelly Zomak, 200 Lothrop St. Suite 900, Pittsburgh, PA 15123 Or St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, PO Box 193, Monticello, AR 71667.
Arrangements by Griffin Funeral Service in Star City.