Don Paul Huffstetler, 83, of Van Buren was promoted from this life early Friday, April 4, 2014, at a local hospital. He was a retired barber. Don began his employment as a carpenter with his Uncle Sam Loving in 1948. He achieved the status of journeyman quickly and constructed his and Dora Mae’s home in 1953. He was employed by the Missouri Pacific Railroad in Kansas City in the mid-1950s, and then again in Van Buren, from 1964 until 1970. In the late 1950s he was employed by Shipley Bakery making Holsum Bread and worked a second job making early morning ice deliveries. He attended barber college in Tulsa and worked as a barber in the early 1960s and then again from 1970 until 2006. While barbering in Tulsa in the late 1970s and early 1980s, he attended Victory Bible Institute where he majored in ministry and song, graduating in 1983.
The Scripture he referenced in his commencement book was Romans 8:2, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” At that point of his life he was leaning hard into this Scripture, but was still struggling. In 1996, at the age of 65 Don finally got his life in order and walked with God from that time forward, leaving behind the lifetime struggles of substance abuse. He was a member of the First Assembly of God Church in Van Buren. He stayed straight by reading and memorizing God’s word. He delighted in memorizing Scriptures by writing them and he passed his talent and passion for singing southern gospel music to his children and grandchildren. He wrote every verse in the New Testament, book by book, multiple times.
After he retired from barbering he chauffeured his son Ed, visiting construction sites and Gideon camps across the state, driving home in the late night hours as Ed slept. He also traveled to Mexico on missionary construction trips.
He was preceded in his death by his parents, Charles Guitar Huffstetler and Agusta May Wiley Huffstetler; stepson, Charles Wayne (Chuck) Rushing; sisters, Cornelia (Toots) Allison, Gwendolyn (Gwen) Williams; and brothers, Faye, Shelby, Charles and Jack.
He is survived by his wife, Zella Huffstetler of Alma; one daughter, Karen Lawrence and husband Kenneth of Russellville; one stepdaughter, Nancy Uzoaru of St. Louis; one son, Eddie Huffstetler and wife Sheila of Van Buren; one stepson, Stan Rushing and wife Karen of California; the mother of his children, Dora Mae Jones Huffstetler Johnson; one sister, Mary Woodward of Fort Smith; one brother, Jim Huffstetler of Globe Ariz.; 14 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
Funeral will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at the First Assembly of God in Van Buren with burial at Dyer Cemetery in Dyer under the direction of Ocker Funeral Home in Van Buren. Officiating will be his childhood friend, Pastor David Hines, and his own Pastor, Bobby Johnson.
Family visitation will be 5-7 p.m. Wednesday at Ocker Funeral Home, 700 Jefferson St., and again at Van Buren First Assembly of God on Thursday following the service.
Pallbearers will be Bill Vickery, Dale Moore, Rudolph Coleman, Ted Myers, Cletus Odle and Dale Vaughn. Honorary pallbearers are members of Gideons International.
Memorial contributions to Gideons International are welcomed.
Online tributes at www.ockerfuneralhome.com would also be treasured.