Henrietta K. HolcombFayetteville, AR, 1921 - 2013 0comment
Henrietta K. Holcomb, age 91, longtime Fayetteville educator, died Wednesday, May 1, 2013, in Fayetteville, Ark. She was born in Springdale, Ark., on Oct. 17, 1921, daughter of Wilson Whitaker and Lydia (Reed) Kimbrough.
Henrietta graduated as salutatorian of the Springdale High School Class of 1938. She received a bachelor of science degree in business administration from the University of Arkansas. After attending the University of Illinois, Urbana School of Library Science, Henrietta moved to Washington D.C., accepted a job in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, followed by several years in the Office of Budget and Finance and the Office of the President, Bureau of the Budget.
On April 20, 1946, she married Herbert G. Holcomb at the Clarendon Baptist Church in Arlington, Va. After Herbert completed his U.S. Navy tour, they returned home to Northwest Arkansas, where Henrietta completed a master's of science in education degree at the University of Arkansas and post-graduate courses for teaching and administrative certifications in public education in the state of Arkansas.
After the birth of her three children, Henrietta entered the teaching profession. Henrietta first taught elementary students at Stony Point, part of the Springdale school system. After five years, she transferred to the Fayetteville Public Schools, spending another 29 years as a teacher at Bates Elementary, teacher and principal at Leverett Elementary, district-wide coordinator of elementary schools and finally as assistant superintendant of elementary curriculum and personnel.
She was a leader in establishing the first kindergartens in Arkansas public schools in 1969. She remained in that role until her retirement in 1986.
In 1995, the Fayetteville Board of Education named a new elementary school on Salem Road in honor of Henrietta K. Holcomb in recognition of her outstanding achievements and service to the district.
Henrietta participated in many professional organization: as member and officer of the Springdale Education Association, the Fayetteville Education Association and the Washington County Arkansas Education Association. In 1974, she was elected the president of the Arkansas Education Association and later served as the past-president delegate to the World Assembly of the World Conference of Organizations of the Teaching Profession in Singapore.
Henrietta also held memberships and offices in Delta Kappa Gamma, Phi Delta Kappa, the National Council of Staff Development, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum and Development and Arkansans for Gifted and Talented.
Henrietta was known as a strong advocate for public school classroom teachers and worked tirelessly in their behalf. She served as a visiting team member for the National Council of Accreditation of Teacher Education Certification at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, as a member of the Elementary School Council of the Arkansas Department of Education, the Arkansas Advisory Council of Public Education and Secondary Education, and the Arkansas Advisory Council on Teacher Education and Certification.
At various times she assisted as team member of North Central Association Accrediting Visits to Arkansas elementary schools in Bentonville, Rogers, Fort Smith, Springdale and Arkadelphia. She coordinated the North Central Association Accreditation self studies and team visits for all the Fayetteville elementary schools in 1980 and 1986. She served as chair or co-chair for a team of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools to evaluate four elementary Department of Defense Dependents Schools in the Germany Region. Henrietta received a number of honors for her contributions to public education and public service. In 1976, Henrietta was awarded an Outstanding Educator's "Salute" by the Fayetteville Business and Professional Women's Club of Fayetteville; she was presented the Outstanding Educator Award by the University Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa in 1986; in 1987, she received a Human and Civil Rights Special Award from the Arkansas Education Association; and in 1990, the Fayetteville Education Association presented her an award for Excellence in Education.
Henrietta was admitted to the Fayetteville Public Education Foundation Hall of Honor in 2006. The Washington County Historical Society recognized Henrietta as a Distinguished Citizen in 2008. Henrietta was honored for her public service at the 2011 Washington County Women in History Month Banquet.
After retiring from Fayetteville Public Schools in 1986, Henrietta authored and published a history of Rolling Hills Baptist Church, where she served as Minister of Education 1986-1992, in addition to her roles through the years as Sunday school teacher and deacon.
Henrietta pursued her interest in genealogical research, developing an extensive collection of ancestral family records, some of which were incorporated into a book her husband wrote and published about the pioneer Holcomb family. She transcribed her father's journal from his handwritten daily log that was kept throughout his life. A current exhibit at Shiloh Museum in Springdale honoring her maternal grandparents, the pioneer Reed family, is based upon her family records.
Henrietta served as a volunteer reviewer and author for the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture project. She was a member and officer in the Bryan Pendleton Chapter of the Daughters of the American Colonists.
Henrietta was preceded in death by her husband, Herbert Gordon Holcomb; son, John Gordon Holcomb; brothers, Wilson W. Kimbrough Jr., and James R. Kimbrough; sister, Lillian Frances Jones; son-in-law, Wayne L. Heiliger; and grandson, Aidan W. Robinson.
Henrietta is survived by her daughters, Elizabeth Jo Heiliger and her companion, Jim Dailey, Margaret Ann Holcomb and her husband, Richard Pruiksma. She is also survived by family members, Carol Van Scyoc and Walter Robinson and Ardy and Rushna Sidhwa. Other survivors include grandchildren, Lance Heiliger and his wife, Michelle, Mark Heiliger and his wife, Stephanie, Frank, Emma and Rose Holcomb Pruiksma, Joseph Holcomb, Jade (Holcomb) Cameron and her husband, Anthony Cameron, and Amy Robinson; great-grandchildren, Jesse, Savannah and Amanda Mobley, Luke Wayne Heiliger, Aaron Zane Heiliger, Belle Elizabeth Heiliger and Jesyanne Pruiksma Rickerson; sisters-in-law, Aileen Kimbrough and Terry Kimbrough; brother-in-law, Robert S. Holcomb; and many cousins, nieces and nephews and their families.
The family appreciates the work done by senior helpers who provided comfort and care throughout her last year.
Memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 4, 2013, at the Rolling Hills Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Ark., with a reception following the service.
Memorials may be sent to Rolling Hills Baptist Church, 1400 Rolling Hills Drive, Fayetteville, AR 72703, for children's programs; or to Fayetteville Public Education Foundation, P.O. Box 571, Fayetteville, AR 72701, for the Henrietta K. Holcomb Memorial Keystone Grant.
Arrangements are under the direction of Luginbuel Funeral Home in Prairie Grove, Ark. Online guest book at www.luginbuel.com.
Published May 4, 2013
OBITUARY SUBMITTED BY:
Luginbuel Funeral Home
115 N Neal, Prairie Grove, AR