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John "Johnny" Gary Ragland

Service: Graveside at 2 p.m. Friday, March 20, at Maplewood Cemetery; Visitation: 5-7 p.m. Thursday, March 19, at Roller-Christeson Funeral Home.

John “Johnny” Gary Ragland passed away on Tuesday, March 17 (2020).  

He was born Feb. 20, 1947, to John B. Ragland and Opal J. Pierce Ragland, at the Gladden Clinic in Harrison.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Rae Gene Ragland, who passed in childhood in 1943.

Johnny was raised on Eagle Heights where every day held adventure and childhood friendships that have lasted a lifetime. He was a 1965 graduate of Harrison High School.

Johnny inherited a strong work ethic from his parents. His first job was delivering the Harrison Daily Times while riding his scooter. His second job was at Claude Withers Chevrolet where he learned from older mechanics how to tune a motor just by listening. His third job was driving for AMPI, Inc., picking up milk from area dairy farms and transporting it to the larger milk plants in Conway and Little Rock. While driving he would talk to others up and down Highway 65 on his CB radio. His handle was the “Early Bird.” On his days off from driving, he worked alongside his dad at Ragland Door Company.  Johnny ran this company until his health required early retirement.

Johnny enjoyed drives in the Ozarks. His favorite locations included Boxley Valley and the Ponca area as well as Cotter. He was an avid nature and animal lover always taking in strays whether dogs, deer, or squirrels. Very seldom would you find him without a Coca-Cola in his hand and an Alan Jackson, Elvis or Willie Nelson tune playing in the background. His mornings belonged to Westerns and his Sundays to NASCAR. Dale Earnhardt was his favorite driver. 

Johnny is survived by his wife, Janalu Watts Ragland; four children, three daughters, Angela Olsen and Danny Hall, Amanda and Rob Slape, and Aimee and Daniel Farley, and one son, Steven and Leesha McLeod; four grandchildren, Jacob and Hannah Farley, Payce Slape, and Sara and Russ Sharp; and one great-grandson, Wes Greene.

Pallbearers will be Wes and Chander Davidson, Gage Evans, Danny Hall, Steven McLeod, John Pettey, and Rob Slape. Honorary pallbearers include his running buddies, Lloyd Renigar and Bill Shields, who preceded him in death, Bob and Iva Mulford, Phillip and Dixie Pettey and family, and the St. Paul’s church family. 

We want to thank the many doctors and nurses who have walked beside us the past three years as our family coped with Johnny’s illness. We extend a very special thank you for our Baughman Cutoff neighbors who have come when called. Many prayers have been said for us. Warm thoughts, assistance, and support have been endless for our family for which we welcomed and are grateful and appreciative of receiving.

Memorials may be given to St. Paul’s Methodist Church, Hospice of the Hills, or ParRTI.  

Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 19, at Roller-Christeson Funeral Home. Graveside service will be at 2 p.m. Friday, March 20, at Maplewood Cemetery with Dr. Rockey E. Starnes officiating.

Sign the online guestbook at rollerfuneralhomes.com/harrison .