Reginald C. Ryles passed away peacefully Jan. 7, 2018. He was born April 26, 1934 to Fannie Manus Ryles and Clarence Ryles in Booneville, Arkansas. He lived a full and active life traveling around the world with family and while serving in the United States Army Medical Corps.
As a young man he prided himself for accomplishing a coveted seat on the “A” row while attending Booneville Schools. He loved sports of all kinds. His Friday nights were spent sitting in the stands of Booneville High School watching the Bearcats play their hearts out and especially cheering on his favorite Bearcat, his youngest brother.
Reggie taking his “A” row designation true to heart, dreamed of college and aspiring to do something special; however, due to family obligations his destiny would take a turn and his plans would be put on hold for a while. At a young age he began working at a furniture factory in Fort Smith and to supplement his gas cost he would pick up riders who also worked in Fort Smith. They would talk football and look forward to Saturday Razorback games and often remarked, “It would be a long drive to Fort Smith on Monday mornings if the Razorbacks didn’t win.” Each year he was an avid watcher of the Army/Navy game, but as he grew older his heart would grow fonder of a good game rather than the proverbial win.
Reggie also joined the Army National Guard while working in Fort Smith and in a short time became active duty serving first as a radio operator and then joining the Army Medical Corps, which led him to receiving many Commendation Medals to include The Meritorious Service Medal under President Ronald Reagan. As a licensed nurse he used his knowledge and leadership skills wisely to treat, teach and manage in hospitals as well as in the field.
Loving and worshiping the Lord was his first priority. While stationed in Germany, Reggie was recognized for his faithful service in the Chapel Program and served on the Chapel Fund Council of the Ayers Chapel in Kirch Gons. His second priority was family! Never having children of his own his nieces and nephews became his grandchildren, taking them on trips, sharing Christmas mornings, always providing “Happy Meal” money and bursting at the seams with pride at every one of their accomplishments.
Upon Reggie’s final retirement from the U.S. Army he moved back to Arkansas where he lived humbly in a little red house on 40 acres. He loved splitting wood and was fondly referred to as the “wood whisperer”. He rarely missed a family gathering and loved sharing birthdays and holidays surrounded by his brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews of all ages. He will truly be missed.
Reginald Ryles was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Billy Ryles; and a nephew Dan Ryles. He is survived by his sisters, Nina R. Andrews and Myrna M. Mathews; brothers, Reece Ryles and Dwain Wilson Ryles (Ruby Threlkeld Ryles). He is also survived by nieces Debbie Andrews Kraus, Brenda Mathews Alewine, Sandy Andrews Hulse, Susan Andrews Smithson and Bethany Ryles Lenk; nephews, Billy D. Mathews, Tom Ryles, Donald Ed Ryles, as well as 13 great- and 12 great-great-nieces and nephews.
A funeral service for Reginald Ryles will be held on Jan. 12, 2018 at 1 p.m. at Edwards Funeral Home Chapel in Fort Smith, with a burial at the National Cemetery in Fort Smith at 2 p.m. with full military honors.