As we retrace the footprints of Laura Lee Hatley Gulley, we can only give thanks for the many lives she touched and enriched along her life’s journey.
Laura Lee Hatley began her journey of life on February 28, 1956, in Prescott, Arkansas. She was one of nine children born to Mr. Eugene and Mrs. Lucy Gatlin Hatley. She was affectionately called “Laura Lee.” At an early age, she made a personal decision to accept Christ as her personal Lord and Savior. Laura Lee grew up at St. Clair Missionary Baptist Church located in the community of Burtsell.
As a girl, Laura Lee proved to be unpredictable, full of life and had an outgoing personality. She grew up to be a loving, fun-spirited, and intelligent young lady. She enjoyed traveling, singing along with her singing group, while entertaining family and friends. She was known to be the life of the party. Often you could find her hanging out listening to the Blues.
Laura Lee was a dedicated production worker at Petit Jean Poultry in Gum Springs until the closing of the company. She always went above and beyond her job. She never met a stranger and made her coworkers feel like they were a part of her family. Her zest for life and adventure led her always be on the move. She finally returned home to Arkadelphia to be closer to her family, friends and the community which first inspired her to seek out a well-rounded and fulfilling life.
During her 67 seasons, Laura Lee gave generously to those in need, and always gave a good laugh. Family, as well as friends, will miss her sense of humor, smile, and love, but will never forget Laura Lee’s spirit and compassion. She was welcomed to her eternal home by her parents Lucy and Eugene; three brothers, Oscar Ray Anderson, Johnny Anderson, Christopher Hatley, and one sister, Annie J. Piggee.
She leaves to celebrate her life’s journey: two children, Brandon (Ngozi) Martin of Fort Worth, TX; Diamond Murphy of Arkadelphia; four grandchildren, Alexis Anderson, Halle Laws, Brittany McDowell, and Matthew McDowell; four great-grandchildren, Kyn’Z Jones, Grayson Jones, Noah Jones, and Aria White; two sisters, Frances Evans of Jacksonville, AR; Christine Heard of Little Rock, AR; two brothers, Walter “Danny” (Erica) Hart of Gurdon; Rolando Black of Oklahoma City, OK; very special friends Wanda Faye of Nashville; and Shellie Grice of Arkadelphia; a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives, friends, and the St. Clair Missionary Baptist Church family.
Visitation was Friday, October 27. A celebration of her life was shared on Saturday, October 28, 2023, at Mt. Canaan Baptist Church with Rev. Rufus Hatley, the eulogist. Interment will be at St. Clair Cemetery – Burtsell.
Active pallbearers were Dontario Smith, Marcus Helms, Tony Derry, Brian Penney, Donald Gatlin, Bert Gatlin, Eric Gulley, and Bernard Hatley. Honorary pallbearers were Earnest Bailey, Johnny Jones, Sammy Gatlin, Bert Gatlin, and Braylon Penney.