Fort Smith High School
Peggy Newlon

Recognizing the generous gift of time and talent Dick continues to provide for us, I join in thanking him for our great web-site. As I continue to read and enjoy the bio's, I realize how blest we have been to be part of our shared experience in the class of '58.

The early foundations of my life, family, faith, education, values and goal setting, have served me well. My wonderful husband, Jerry, and I married young and are continuing to share a busy, fulfilling life with all of its ups and downs. We attended Hendrix College, then moved to Memphis where he attended the University of Tenn. dental school before being drafted into the army during the Vietnam Conflict. While he served at Ft. Riley, Kansas I finished college at Kansas State University with a degree in education and a minor in history and political science. In 1968 we chose to settle back in Ft. Smith to be near extended family while rearing 2 daughters and a son. We have always enjoyed travel but we also love Arkansas' mountains, lakes and streams for camping and fly-fishing and the cultural opportunities available in Northwest Arkansas.

Jerry has chosen to continue his dental practice three days a week which leaves us plenty of free time. We're fortunate to have had a 2nd home in Hot Springs Village for many years and spend a lot of time there with family and friends.

Over the years at various times I have taught in public and private schools, directed the children's work at our church and served with International Christian Women's Club speaker’s bureau sharing my faith in Christ and how it impacts my life.

Arkansas, being the last one- party state, prompted me to serve in a variety of capacities to give us some choices on the ballots. Eventually I served as the only woman in the 35 member state senate. Many of us worked to pass term limits and now there are several women in the senate each session and more people in both parties are having an opportunity to serve.

It was a unique time in Arkansas history. As the old power brokers faced being term limited some got greedy and careless.  Eventually 7 senators were indicted and 3 served time in prison.  One of our governors was removed from office and convicted of various crimes. To my surprise I was called to testify in federal court when FBI investigators found inquiries I had made in the records of several agency heads about the granting of a variety of contracts which revealed their corruption. I was praised and given awards by some, while others criticized me and one group even listed me on their 10 worst legislators list. It was quite as experience. Jerry kept warning me I was going to get my knee caps shot!

Later, I served as GOP national committeewoman, was on the platform committee at the '96 convention, was appointed to the state board of education, served on the founding board of Arkansas Club for Growth--a tax reform group, and  served on the Arkansas Policy Foundation supporting research for making government more efficient. Most recently, I have been executive director for Arkansas Eagle Forum--a branch of the national pro-family, pro-life organization with a great web-site (www.eagleforum.org).

In recent years I have also cared for our parents who are now all deceased and I miss them terribly.

We are blest to have our children and grandchildren nearby and share in their lives as well as many good friends who have become like family over the years.

Many thanks to Donnie and Nancy who always make our reunions so great. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone.

Peggy "Newlon" Jeffries - 2008