Edward Joseph Michael, Jr., 85, a resident of Newport, died Friday, Aug. 31, 2012 at Baptist Medical Center in Little Rock.
He was born Feb. 8, 1927 in Pine Bluff, the second child of nine to the late Edward Joseph Michael, Sr. and Blanche (Carr) Michael. Edward graduated from Pine Bluff High School in 1945, where he contributed to the Zebra football team as a Guard. At that time, the Pine Bluff and Little Rock Central High Schools' rivalry was as big as Razorback football. He received a football scholarship from the University of Arkansas and played Tight End/Defensive End for the Razorbacks until he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1946 and served in the Pacific Theatre. As a Private, he played football for the Army that culminated in the China Bowl Championship Football game in Shanghai, China on New Year's Day, 1947. After he received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, he received a football scholarship from Arkansas Tech in Russellville. After lettering at Arkansas Tech his first year, the University of Arkansas invited him to return and offered him his scholarship again. Edward rejoined the Razorbacks and played for John “Barnie” Barnhill. Edward returned to Pine Bluff where he worked for the international Blaw-Knox Construction Company. He also met and married Anne Allbright Feb. 14, 1952. In January. 1953, they moved to Newport where he managed the “Gravel Pit” in Olyphant for Allbright Brothers Construction Company. The next year, Edward returned to Blaw-Knox Construction Company to work on the Hanford Nuclear Project in Richland, Wash. In 1955, they returned to Newport where he rejoined Allbright Brothers as an assistant superintendent, working with Wiley W. Allbright, Sr. Edward formed JACO Construction Company in 1961 and was later joined by his brother-in-laws, Wiley and Walter Allbright. Edward served as the President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of JACO for over 50 years. He never forgot what it was to be a working man; his commitment to JACO and its employees exhibited dedication and caring of his workforce and their families. JACO continues today under the leadership of his son, Edward Joseph Michael, III. Edward demonstrated his love and commitment to his community by serving on the Newport City Council where he worked to start the city's Season of Lights Christmas display. He was a faithful member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church where he served on the Vestry, including a term as Junior Warden. Edward was an avid golfer and an original member of the Round Table that meet at Kelly's Grill. He lived by the belief that he never forgot anything that was done for him and he always forgot what he did for others. Husband, brother, father, friend, Edward J. Michael Jr. was genuinely loved and respected by others and he will be missed, but his love and influence will remain with those who loved him for the rest of their lives. Edward was preceded in death by his parents, Edward Joseph Michael, Sr. and Blanche (Carr) Michael; his sister, Mary Nell Pope of Woodbridge, Va.; and his brother, Wendell Michael of Green Bay, Wisc. Edward is survived by his wife of 60 years, Anne Louise (Allbright) Michael of the home; two daughters, Melody Anne Fortune and husband, Mike, of Newport and Dr. Deanna L. Michael of St. Petersburg, Fla.; two sons, Edward J. “Bubba” Michael, III and wife, Cindy, of Newport, and Wiley Anthony Michael of Little Rock. He was also blessed with three grandchildren, Edward Joseph Michael, IV and wife, Sara, of Newport; Michael Anthony “Tony” Fortune and wife, Lindsay, of Fayetteville, and Madelaine Elizabeth Michael of Jonesboro. He was also survived by one brother, David Michael and wife, Patricia, of Pine Bluff; one brother-in-law, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Kermit Rudolf “Rudy” Pope of Woodbridge, Va.; and five sisters, Delores DeMaine and husband, Oscar, of Pine Bluff, Gloria Daniel and husband, Billy Pat, of Dumas, Charlene Ferguson and husband, Jerry, of Bentonville, Margaret Hancock and husband, Hershel, of Sheridan, and Blanche Garner and husband, Bobby, of Pine Bluff; and a host of nieces and nephews. Those honored to serve as pallbearers were Gary Browning, Joey Rhew, Dr. Joe David Smith, Roger Jefford, Ben Parker, Mike Spence, Travis Davis, and Michael Ray Spence. Honorary Pallbearers were Bob Rhew, Howard Bise, Bill Fortune, and the Members of the Round Table. Friends visited at the funeral home Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012 from 5-7:30 p.m. Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012 at Jackson's Newport Funeral Home with Reverend Dr. Russell Snapp officiating. Interment followed in Walnut Grove Cemetery. Memorials may be sent to the Jackson County Humane Society and/or St. Paul's Episcopal Church Memorial Fund, 301 Hazel Street, Newport, Arkansas 72112. Arrangements by Jackson's Newport Funeral Home (www.jacksonsfh.com).