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William Murl Tate, of Benton, passed away Saturday, May 4, 2013.Â He was 86 years old.
Murl was born at home in the Ten Mile Community (Lonsdale) on Oct. 10, 1926, the son of Thomas Jefferson Tate and Flora Mae (Craft) Tate.
Â After school and working on the family farm, he went to work for Kaiser in the shipyard of Vancouver, Wash., during World War II.Â When he returned to Arkansas, he worked for Little Rock Piano Co. and in the 1950s began a wholesale piano company in Benton with Ernest Pelton.Â
Murl loved stock car racing and would race at the I-30 Speedway and Riverside International in West Memphis in the 1950s.Â The famed Clarence "Hooker" Hood took his No. 99 after he retired.
Murl began working for Steel Haulers in 1966 and after traveling the country for many years and forging many lifelong friends, he retired in 1988.Â He served as a union steward for 20 years and attended Steel Hauler reunions as recently as September 2012.Â
Murl enjoyed gardening and helping friends and relatives.Â He also loved politics and would engage in heated discussion when his friends would allow.Â For the last four years, he volunteered with his Calvary Baptist Church friends, Joe Narramore, Bill Barlow and Jim Martin, to help at Churches Joint Council on Human Needs.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Laura Marie (McAllister) Tate; a daughter, Barbara Lynn Berry; a grandson, Jeremy Lee Sutton; and a twin sister, Virginia Pearl Asbury.
He is survived by a daughter, Linda M. Tate of Lonsdale; a grandson, Aaron A. Donnor of Benton; three granddaughters, Jennifer L. Donnor of Benton, Kerri Tatro of Fort Greeley, Alaska, and Candice Thrash of Huntsville, Ala.Â His great-grandchildren are Jarred Donnor, Jonathan Donnor, Dalton Tatro, Dillon Tatro, Bella Thrash, Georgia Thrash, and the newest one, Tate Caroline Thrash.
A celebration of his life will begin with visitation from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Ashby Funeral Home. The funeral service is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday at Calvary Baptist Church, 612 Valley View Road in Benton.
Burial will follow at Fairplay Cemetery, I-30 Exit 106 in Benton.
Online guest book: www.ashbyfuneralhome.com.