Eugene G. Rapley obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Eugene G. Rapley

July 27, 1929 - November 23, 2017

Obituary



Eugene Gilbert Rapley, 88, died Thursday, November 23, 2017 at Methodist Health and Rehabilitation in Fort Smith. Gene was born in Kansas City, Missouri on July 27, 1929. He was the son of Ruth Ballman Rapley and Juba Rector Rapley.

Growing up in Fort Smith, Gene graduated from Fort Smith High School in 1947. He then attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, receiving a BA in Business Administration and was an active member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity where he met many lifelong friends. At the University, Gene met Rosemary Meriwether...


Eugene Gilbert Rapley, 88, died Thursday, November 23, 2017 at Methodist Health and Rehabilitation in Fort Smith. Gene was born in Kansas City, Missouri on July 27, 1929. He was the son of Ruth Ballman Rapley and Juba Rector Rapley.

Growing up in Fort Smith, Gene graduated from Fort Smith High School in 1947. He then attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, receiving a BA in Business Administration and was an active member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity where he met many lifelong friends. At the University, Gene met Rosemary Meriwether from Paragould, Arkansas, and upon graduation they married. Gene and Rosemary moved to San Marcos, Texas, where Gene completed his service with the U.S. Air Force and was honorably discharged with the rank of Captain.

Gene spent his entire career in the furniture manufacturing industry in Fort Smith, an industry in which his grandfather, Emil Ballman, was a pioneer. Gene was proud of the friendships he formed and the contributions he made during his years at Ballman Cummings, Ayers Furniture and lastly, at Riverside Furniture Corporation from which he retired as Senior Vice President and Sales Manager.

Gene was a life-long member of St. John's Episcopal Church where he was baptized, confirmed and raised his family. St. John's held a special place in his heart, a church his mother had attended since the 1890's. He loved and served his church throughout his lifetime, including years on the church's vestry, leadership as senior warden and junior warden and in 1995 chaired a $1 million capital campaign to restore the church's historic sanctuary which was built in 1900. The love for his church could be felt and heard most every Sunday by his enthusiastic, unabashed volume and tone-deaf harmony filling the sanctuary which could be heard especially if you were anywhere near Gene during the service.

Gene was a member of the Fort Smith Noon Exchange Club since the 1950's and served as President in 1966. Known now as the University of Arkansas Fort Smith, Gene served on the Westark Community College Board of Trustees for 14 years and was President of the Board in 1977. In 2004, Gene and Rosemary endowed scholarships to further support the mission of UAFS and its students. Gene's passion for Fort Smith continued throughout his lifetime. His enthusiasm for all things Fort Smith was evident when he would talk about the Trolley Museum, the U.S. Marshals Museum, Chaffee Crossing, the Unexpected Murals or restaurants and coffee shops new to Fort Smith. Gene loved Fort Smith.

Gene was predeceased by his wife Rosemary who passed away on October 10, 2017. They were married for 66 years. Gene is survived by his daughter Nancy Fagan (David) of Scottsdale, AZ and their sons, Winston Fagan (Lauren) and Staff Sergeant Carter Fagan (USAF); and his son E. Gilbert "Gil" Rapley Jr. (Leslie) of Atlanta, GA and their daughters, Anna Stephens and Nancy Rapley; and one great-grandson Daniel Stephens.

A memorial service honoring the lives of both Gene and Rosemary will be held at St. John's Episcopal Church on Saturday, January 13, 2018 at 11am.

In lieu of flowers, memorials in Gene's honor can be made to St. John's Episcopal Church, 215 North 6th Street, Fort Smith 72901, or UAFS Foundation, P.O. Box 3649, Fort Smith, AR 72913-3649.

To sign an online guestbook visit www.edwardsfuneralhome.com