Local artist celebrates 30 years as a Group Living client

By KELLY STILES | The Arkadelphian

Roy Marion is a hard worker who likes to spread joy by helping out customers at The Beehive thrift store, and through creating artwork for the people in his life. He has been involved with the Arkadelphia non-profit Group Living Inc. for over 30 years.

Roy Marion

“We want the community to understand that they have a disability, but they also have many abilities,” Group Living director of operations Jason Johnston said.

Group Living is an organization meant to help individuals with developmental disabilities gain independence. They have helped Marion do just that, especially through The Beehive, a partnered resale shop that provides jobs to Group Living clients.

“I work and do my chores at home, just like everybody else,” Marion said.

He works Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. His main responsibilities include handling donation drop-offs and assisting customers. Regulars look forward to chatting with Marion, as he has a reputation for being funny and kind-hearted.

“He never misses work,” Johnston said.

A running joke of Marion’s is to say something that is obviously untrue. For instance, he might say “merry Christmas” in the middle of May.

Marion was born on Aug. 25, 1966 to Rufus and Barbara Key. His parents divorced when he was a child, and his mother married Buddy Marion, who legally adopted Marion as his son. Marion’s mother passed away when he was in his 20s.

“We’re not here to stay forever,” Marion said. “Just do the best while you’re here on this earth.”

He enjoyed reading the Daily Siftings Herald until the Arkadelphia publication closed in 2019. He used to deliver their newspapers on foot to Arkadelphia residents.

“It’s kinda hard to be out in the community working because you don’t have many people to pull for you like you do here,” Marion said.

Marion joined Group Living shortly after his mother passed away. He gained a new family the day he walked into the organization’s doors.

Marion is known for his artistic ability, whether it be through painting, drawing, or creating pottery. His paintings decorate the walls of Group Living offices and the lobby of Citizens Bank in Arkadelphia. “I just get into my own world, and put it on paper,” Marion said.

“He’ll spend hours doing a piece, then he’ll give it to someone,” Johnston said.

The following is a slideshow of a handful of Roy Marion’s paintings.

Oftentimes Marion likes to drive around town while listening to music. His favorite song is Three Wooden Crosses by Randy Travis because it reminds him to live life with kindness and integrity. Marion’s go-to television series is The Andy Griffith Show. He is also a fan of King of the Hill and The Simpsons.

Marion has been attending a class recently about how to use technology to safely navigate the Internet. He looks forward to reading news online.

Marion likes to live by the understanding that everyone is going through difficult problems, so it is always best to be understanding. He encourages others to do the same.

“You just got to try to get along with everybody,” Marion said. “Because sometimes life can be hard.”

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