Joel Mendal Overton Sr., 76, of Malvern passed away Monday, Dec. 24. Joel was born Oct. 16, 1936 in Traskwood, to William and Ruth (Oakes) Overton. Joel was the president of Able Abilities and an advocate for people with disabilities. Helping the disabled was his passion, and Joel never looked at his muscular dystrophy as being a disability. He looked at it like it was always an ability — an ability to grow, to teach and to help others. Joel was an avid outdoorsman who loved camping. He was an advocate for betterment of the city of Malvern. He was also the founder of the Gospel Light Baptist Church in Malvern, which started in his living room.
Joel was preceded in death by his parents; four brothers; one grandchild, Joseph Alexander Overton; and two children, his twin boys Joseph Dewight and Harold Dewayne.
He is survived by his wife of 31 years Lilly (Rodrigo) Overton; three sons, Joel Overton and wife Sharon of Ferris, Texas, John (JJ) Overton of Malvern, and Arthur Overton and wife Gloria of Malvern; one daughter, Rebekah Bearden and husband Bucky of Alexander; three brothers, Paul Overton of Malvern, Jimmy Overton of Haskell and Herman Oakes of Malvern; three sisters, Pearl Tucker of Mena, Martha Hunter of Malvern and Elsie Bradshaw of Benton; 11 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Service will be held 11 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2, at Gospel Light Baptist Church with Rev. John Horton officiating. Burial will follow at Traskwood Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Joel Overton Jr., Joshua Overton, John Overton Sr., John Overton Jr., Bucky Bearden, and Christian Bearden. Honorary pallbearers will be Aurthur Overton and Damian Bearden.
Visitation will be held 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 1, in the Atkinson Funeral Home Chapel.
Arrangements are made by Atkinson Funeral Home of Malvern.
Online guest book: www.atkinsonfuneralhome.net .