Thomas Lee Ashcraft, 85, of Fort Smith, died November 1, 2011 in Fort Smith. He was born August 19, 1926, in Sheridan, Arkansas, to Ida Mathews and Henry H. Ashcraft. He grew up in Malvern, Arkansas.
He served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, then graduated from Ouachita Baptist University in 1949, with a degree in chemistry. Mr. Ashcraft joined the Pine Bluff Arsenal in 1949 and worked there for 33 years. He was Chief of the Laboratory Division at the Arsenal, then Chief of Technical Plans and Evaluation Division. In 1969 he became Director of Product Assurance, and retired from that position in 1982.
Mr. Ashcraft was a long-time resident of White Hall, Arkansas, from 1960 until 2008. He served as deacon and Sunday School teacher at First Baptist Church, White Hall, during those years. After his retirement from the Department of Defense in 1982, he was elected mayor of White Hall and served in that position for 8 years. He also worked in the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal Program and was director of the Jefferson County Office of Emergency Services from 1992 until 1997. After moving to Fort Smith, Mr. Ashcraft was an active member of South Side Baptist Church.
Mr. Ashcraft served on the White Hall School Board, the Ouachita Baptist University Board of Trustees, the Jefferson County Board of Education and the Jefferson County Library Board. He was a member of the American Chemical Society.
He was listed in American Men and Women of Science and Who's Who in the South and Southwest. He received several outstanding performance awards, including Federal Employee of the Year for Arkansas and the Army Certificate of Meritorious Civilian Service.
He is survived by his wife for almost 63 years, Bea; two sisters, Sammie Pickard of Albuquerque and Shirley Pike, also of Albuquerque; two daughters, Ginger Terry and husband Rex of Fort Smith; Dr. Cynthia Ashcraft of Fort Smith; one son, Dr. Richard Ashcraft and wife Jan of Tulsa, Oklahoma; 8 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.
Memorial service will be Friday, November 4, 2011 at 2:00 PM in the Edwards Funeral Home Chapel. Burial will be private in the U.S. National Cemetery in Fort Smith. Services and cremation are under the direction of Edwards Funeral Home.
The family will greet friends in Edwards Chapel following the Memorial Service.
Memorials may be made to the Good Samaritan Clinic 615 North "B" Fort Smith, AR 72901 or South Side Baptist Church 2400 Dodson Ave Fort Smith, AR 72901.
To sign an online guestbook visit www.edwardsfuneralhome.com