William Leroy Deckelman, 86, of Crossett, passed away on January 25, 2016 at Stonegate Villa Health & Rehab.
He was born on June 1, 1929 in Calion and was the son of the late Arthur and Helen Irene Gardner Deckelman.
Mr. Deckleman grew up in a large family with four sisters and four brothers. His father built levees for the Corps of Engineers on the Mississippi River and moved the family from one river town to the next from Virginia to Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas.
The family settled in Fountain Hill in 1940 where Buddy’s mother’s family, the Gardner’s were among the hardy pioneers that moved across the country in covered wagons and settled the land in Ashley and Drew counties.
Mr. Deckleman served in the United States Air Force from 1948 to 1952 and loved to tell stories from his days as a military police officer patrolling the North African beaches of Casablanca.
He also enjoyed a long career working for the Crossett Company and Georgia Pacific for 40 years receiving many awards during his years as safety director.
He was an avid historian who researched and wrote volumes of family history and documentation about the Civil War “skirmish” at Longview, where he and his family spent 50 years enjoying their cabin on the Saline River.
He was also active in many community activities and was a member of First Baptist Church.
Mr. Deckelman is survived by three children, Sharon Deckelman Mosley and husband Scott of Little Rock, Joy Deckelman Roberson of Crossett and William Leroy Deckelman, Jr. (Bill) of Annapolis, MD.
He is also survived by five granddaughters who loved spending summers at the cabin filled with barge rides and fishing trips: Dayna Mosley of Greeley, Colorado, Laura Deckelman Weissner (Matt) of Sterling, Virginai, Emily Deckelman Nyaz (Charlie) of Upper Marlboro, Maryland; Katie Deckelman of Churchton, Maryland, and Ilona Deckelman of Annapolis, Maryland.
He is survived by two sisters, Helen “Sissy” Wolfe (Frank) of Gillett and Gloria Higginbotham of Pearl, Mississippi; one brother, Thomas Deckelman (Martha) of Odenville, Alabama; sisters-in-law, Mary Deckelman of Collierville, TN, Gladys Lambert of Monticello, AR; and two great-grandsons, Ayden Nyaz of Upper Marlboro, MD, Mason Weissner of Sterling, VA, as well as many more nieces and nephews and a host of relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Marion Pierce Deckelman; brothers, Conlyn Deckelman, Arthur Deckelman, Frederick Deckelman; sisters, Emma Fay Deckelman Baxter and Maxine Garceau; granddaughter, Margaret Roberson and a grandson, William Jarred Deckelman.
A private graveside service will be held on January 28 at 11 a.m. at Flat Creek Cemetery in Fountain Hill under the direction of Jones Funeral Home of Crossett.
Visitation is January 27 from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the funeral home.