Merle King, 92, of Benton, passed away Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. She was born Aug. 6, 1924, in Bauxite to the late Frank and Edyth Kirkpatrick. She was the first female Sam Walton chose to become an assistant store manager, leading to a total of 44 years spent with Walmart as both a manager and an hourly associate. Her work with Walmart was spent primarily with various assignments to all three Benton locations. She also served at the Sheridan and McGehee Walmart stores and spent several years on special assignments to perform fixture and merchandise setup of new stores from Florida to Kentucky. She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Dan and Maud Walden; her parents; two brothers, Paul Kirkpatrick and John Kirkpatrick; her second husband, Leroy King; her first husband, and father of her three children, Joe M. Prichard; and a son, Kirk Prichard, who passed away in 2006. She is survived by a daughter, Susan Prichard Biggs; her husband, Randy Biggs, of Benton; a grandchild, Kelly Garrett; great grandchildren, Emily Ward and Cole Garrett; step-grandchildren, by Susan, Amy, Jacob and Brandon; step-grandchildren Gabriel, Maddie, and Greta; grandchildren by the late Kirk Prichard are April, Adam, Lon and Matthew; great-grandchildren, Laura, Luke, Evanne, Tarin, Serenity and Kaden; step-children of second husband, Leroy, include Linda, Marylyn and Julie; step-grandchildren, Heather, Christian, Mary, Jason, Janell and Jeremy; a son, Doug Prichard and wife Barbara, of Fayetteville, and their children, Eric, Jim, Brandon and J.D. Prichard; and grandchildren, Jessica, Paige and Caden. She took a special patriotic pride in her nine close relatives who have served our country in the military, including a brother, John, in the U.S. Navy in WWII; husband, Joe Prichard, who survived Pearl Harbor and participated in South Pacific campaigns; a brother, Paul, served as a lieutenant in Korea; and a son, retired U.S. Army LTC Doug Prichard, served part of his career in Vietnam. All four of Doug's sons also served. Eric Prichard, former U.S. Army captain, and Brandon Prichard, a U.S. Army sergeant. Currently serving are Jim Prichard, a U.S. Air Force colonel (pilot), and U.S. Army physician, Major J.D. Prichard. Kirk Prichard's son, Adam, served in the U.S. Navy. Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14 at Ashby Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, at Ashby Funeral Home with burial following at Smith-Rosemont Cemetery. Online guest book: www.ashbyfuneralhome.com.
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