James Paul Grier, 81, of Little Rock, died on Thursday, May 19, 2022. He was born on December 20, 1940, to Roy and Juanita Terry Grier. He is preceded in death by his parents; his great-nephew, Jeremy Walleck; and his beloved wife of 46 years, Susan Murray Grier.
He is survived by one brother, Joe Grier and wife, Gloria of Georgetown, Texas; two sisters, Elaine Nash and husband Bill of Sparkman, and Roynelle Gober and husband, Jim of Prescott; one sister-in-law, Diane Congdon and her companion, Mike Carney of DeLand, Florida; a special caregiver and friend, LaToya Clark; a niece; a great-niece; a great-nephew; and a host of close-knit co-workers.
Paul earned degrees from Henderson State University and then started his teaching career at Central High School in West Helena, where he taught chemistry and physics. After teaching for several years, Paul was accepted into a program to teach overseas in Warnambool, Victoria, Australia, where he worked for two years.
He returned to West Helena where he met his future wife, Susan Murray, who was also a teacher. They married on July 19, 1974.
Paul’s passion for the teaching profession led him to join the Arkansas Education Association. After being an active participant in the learning opportunities and activities of the association, he changed careers from teaching to representing teachers in the Arkansas Education Association as a UniServ representative and then worked in legal services for the remainder of his career.
Over the course of a well-lived life, Paul had many hobbies and interests. He loved to go fishing and could often be found on area lakes. He also loved canoeing on the Buffalo River, one of his favorite places in Arkansas.
When Paul became interested in roses, he collected and cared for over 100 varieties of roses in his backyard and joined the National Rose Society. Nobody could say that he ever did anything half-way.
Woodworking became a consuming interest for Paul and gave him many hours of pleasure. He set up a workshop with all types of woodworking tools and proceeded to make beautiful bowls, candlesticks, and other decorative items out of wood collected by his family and exotic woods that he ordered.
After retiring, Paul rediscovered his love for reading for pleasure and spent many hours enjoying the fiction that he had little time to read when he was working. He was also an avid follower of current events and read his newspapers daily.
Perhaps Paul’s favorite thing to do was travel with his wife, Susan. He truly enjoyed driving. Their travels took them to many National Parks and other sites in the Western United States, professional baseball games, and even the Calgary Stampede. Paul was always up for a new adventure.
Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. on Sunday, May 22, at Ruggles-Wilcox Funeral Home.
Graveside service will be at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 23, in Dobyville Cemetery. The family would ask that anyone attending the graveside service meet at Ruggles-Wilcox Funeral Home on Monday at 9:15 a.m. so they can proceed to the cemetery together.
Memorials may be made to the Dobyville Cemetery Association of Arkansas in c/o Frances McGill, 14300 Chenal Parkway, Apt. 7001, Little Rock, Arkansas 72211 or to Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
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