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Matthew Wayne Freppon

Matthew Wayne Freppon

Matthew Wayne Freppon, 71, was born on April 27, 1940, and died on May 22, 2011 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Wayne, a Methodist, was preceded in death by his parents, Matt and Mildred Freppon and a brother, Dennis Freppon.

Wayne graduated from Bald Knob High School in 1958. He earned a degree in physical education from Southern State College, now Southern Arkansas University, in Magnolia. He received his master's degree in physical education from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia and his administrator's certification from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He worked forty years as an educator, coach, and administrator, retiring in 2002.

Wayne's passion was competitive sports. After a successful high school sport’s career, he tried out for football at Southern State as a walk-on and earned a full scholarship. While at Southern State, Wayne lettered in four sports—football, basketball, track, and baseball—and was twice being selected as an All-AIC football player. He loved playing sports and watching sporting events, especially high school games. Competitive almost to a fault, Wayne would never "let" his children or grandchildren win whether they were playing ping-pong, a go-fish card game, or any board game. Wayne also loved jogging and enjoyed running in races with his son-in-law, Dave. Dave and Wayne scouted races and traveled together, and Wayne continued to run even after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

After graduating from college, Wayne joined the staff at Smackover High School as an assistant football coach. He also taught classes and served as head basketball coach of the "Bucks." Wayne left Smackover after six years to become head football coach and athletic director at DeQueen High School. While coaching the Leopards, Wayne twice coached in the Arkansas High School East-West All-Star Football Game held annually in Little Rock. Also while at DeQueen, Wayne was elected Coach of the Year for District 7A.

When Wayne retired from coaching, he moved up the administration ladder at DeQueen. He became middle school principal and high school principal while maintaining his duties as athletic director. After fourteen years at DeQueen, Wayne left Arkansas for a short time, moving to Katy, Texas, serving as high school principal of Taylor High School, one of several high schools in the Katy ISD. However, the allure of the big Texas school didn't last, and he returned home to Arkansas to become the superintendent of schools for the Dierks School District where he spent twelve years. From Dierks, Wayne moved to superintendent of schools for the Fordyce School District, a position he held until he retired in 2002. Lured from retirement, he served as interim superintendent of schools for the Hope School District in 2003 and as interim superintendent for Fordyce in 2004. Wayne enjoyed every aspect of being in the field of education, especially interacting with students. He took an interest in all programs at his schools, not just athletics. Whether attending a band concert or a play or chaperoning a prom or a senior trip, he truly enjoyed his experience with students. He loved walking through the elementary schools and visiting the classrooms of the younger students.

Of all his accomplishments, Wayne was most proud of his family. The jock and football coach fathered three daughters. They were the joy and loves of his life. Often asked if he missed having a son to play sports and carry on the family tradition of athletics, he always answered, "No, I've got my girls." It was endearing to watch him with his little girls, sitting on the floor playing dolls with them, trying to dress a Barbie with his big hands. His daughters and sons-in-law are Kathy and Roger Pennington, Mary and Cary Lewis, and Beth and Dave Bartholomew. His grandchildren are Jarrod and Jordan Rich and step-grandson, Tyler Pennington; Clint and Katy Lewis; and Reid and Matt Bartholomew, all of Little Rock.

Wayne's daughters all agree that he was a sensitive, gentle, kind, and supportive father. One memory that his youngest daughter, Beth, likes to share is when she and her sisters were growing up in DeQueen. Wayne often asked one of them to drive him to the outskirts of town and drop him off so he could jog back home. Beth would ask him, "Is this far enough?" He would always answer, "No, a little farther." His middle daughter, Mary, loved riding home with her dad on the football bus after games; however, she says that, if the team lost, she didn't want to ride with him because the bus was too quiet. Oldest daughter, Kathy, shares that some of her fondest memories of times with her father were the times she went to the football field house and played while her dad worked.

Wayne is also survived by his wife of 48 years, Alta Atchley Freppon of Little Rock and his sister, Louise Guthrie of Keithville, Louisiana; one brother and sister-in-law, Jerry and Jane Freppon of Emmerson, and an aunt, Mary Rodgers of Sherwood. Other survivors include four nephews—Mark, Scott and Todd Guthrie, and Doug Freppon—as well as six nieces—Jennifer Cochran, Rebecca Bartlett, Sarah Atchley, Kelly Emmes, Jennifer Freppon, and Jennifer Kidd—and many cousins.

Alta, Kathy, Mary, and Beth would like to express their appreciation to Rosie Mitchell and Lutzia Roberts and Dr. Tereasa Travis of Hospice Home Care for their tender and compassionate care for Wayne and a special thank you to Wayne's long-time doctor, Dr. Morgan Sauer, who always made Wayne smile by referring to him as the "General."

A memorial service will be held on Thursday, May 26, at 2 p.m. at Ruebel Funeral Home, 6313 W. Markham St., in Little Rock. Honorary pallbearers are Del Basinger, Carl Preston, Gene Davis, Ralph Berg, Mike Faith, and Mike Dykes and B.A. Mauldin. Memorials should be made to the Pulaski County Humane Society, the Athletic Department of Southern Arkansas University, or the Alzheimer's Association. Arrangements by Ruebel Funeral Home,

Condolence Book


You and your daughters are in our thoughts and prayers. We are prying for you all during this difficult time. God will give you all strength to make it through. Love you Mimi "

Darryl and Koren Young | Arkadelphia, AR |

"Alta, My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Wayne was a very special man and had a great love for our school while he was here."
Jo Ann Walters | Dierks |

"Dear Alta, My heart aches for you and your family tonight. Wayne was a great friend and was so easy to work for in our school system. God bless each of you as you face the coming days. "
Edna Cox | Dierks, AR |

"Wayne was a great person and he will be deeply missed. Our sympathies go out to the entire family. "

"Dear Alta,
Thinking of you in Olympia Washington and wishing I could be there with you. Love and sympathy as I remember what a good man Wayne was and how much you loved him. My heart goes out to all of you.

Patricia and Joe Bridgforth | Fairhope, AL |

"So sorry for your loss. I attended Smackover High and had Coach Freppon as a coach. He will be missed. Joseph Conatser"
Joseph Conatser | Louann, AR |

"Alta and girls, I am very sorry for the loss of Coach Freppon. As you know, he was a great guy that i will never forget. He coached me during my formative years of 12 to 18 years old. I never had another basketball coach. We had a great time but always new that when game time came the horse play quit and we got down to business. I look forward to seeing him again as he waits on all of us to join him. God Bless. Reynie"
Reynie Rutledge | Searcy, AR |

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. Marilyn and Michael Archer, De Queen, AR"
Marilyn Archer | De Queen, AR |

"We have many fond memories of your family. You are all in our thoughts and prayers."
Dale and Judy Dailey | Texarkana, TX |

"Coach Freppon was invaribly friendly and kind to me, a band kid, during my two years at Smackover High School. May God sustain you during this difficult transition.

Elvis Grigsby"

Elvis Grigsby | Little Rock, AR |

"Sorry to hear of Wayne's passing. He was a good man and was lucky to have a dedicated and caring family during his entire life but especially as the disease took it's toll on him. Alta and the girls are in our prayers."
Jerry and Debbie Mounts | Dierks, AR |

"Dear Alta and girls,
I am so sorry for the loss of Coach Freppon. He was my Jr. and Sr. Coach at Smackover. He was a great coach and respected by all. I loved him like a father. God bless your family. "

Mike Holloway | Norphlet, Ar |

"We are deeply saddened by your loss of Coach Freppon. He always had a smile and was a very caring person."
Phil and Sharon McRae | DeQueen, AR |

"Alta, Kathy, Mary and Beth, I pray that God will comfort all of you during this time. Jerry had called me Sunday night and let me know of your loss. I have tried to reach other cousins to let them know also.
My son Justin has Matthew in his name too, and it was from my Uncle Matt,that he was named for. We Freppons have so many cousins, I wish we all could have know each other more, but miles and careers kept alot of that from happening. I know your Dad was a good man, He had wonderful parents in Matt and Mildred. I spent alot of time growing up and visiting them with my parents (Melvin and Margie Freppon). His obituariy in the paper shows how much your dad was loved by all. Take care and God bless and watch over you all. Love, your 2nd cousin, Marlene "

Marlene Freppon Hite | Augusta, AR |

"My deepest sympathy to you and your family. Wayne was a dear friend and fellow coach. I have great memories of our many years of coaching. May God bless you and give you strength.

Former Mena Coach and Supt. - Lonnie Barron

Lonnie Barron | Springdale, AR |

"My prayers are with all of you at this time. Wayne is my cousin but due to age differences I never talked with him much until I was on the School Board at Bald Knob. I would run into him at State School Board meetings and we sat together at lunches. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him and realized what a truly wonderful person he was. I know that he will be greatly missed by many people. He has left a great legacy, all of you, his family.

Judy Muckelberg"

Judy Freppon Muckelberg | Bald Knob, AR |

"I have you in my prayers. Mr. Freppon will be missed by many.


Rhonda Wagnon | Mabelvale, AR |

"Dearest Alta Jeana,
My heartfelt sympathy goes out to you and your girls and my prayers are also with you. You and Wayne had so many wonderful years together which must make this time in your life nearly unbearable. Please always remember how many of us love you. "

Lynda Northcutt | Bonham, TX |

"Alta, Kathy, Mary & Beth... I am so sorry for your loss. Although it has been a very long time since seeing you all, I've always considered you all a big part of my life. I love you all and pray that God wraps his arms around you all and brings peace and comfort to your lives."
Susan Logan Self | Hot Springs, AR |

"My thoughts and prayers are with you as you grieve through your loss."
Brenda Dickerson | DeQueen, AR |

"What I remember the most was Coach always had a smile on his face. He was always fun to be around but when it was time to handle business it was time to handle buiness. "
Lester Murph | Conway, AR |

" My thoughts and prayers are with you. Mr. Freppon hired me at Fordyce in the cafeteria and he came in to eat alot. He always had something nice to say and was wonderful to talk to. My twins and I adopted a puppy from him and we loved that pup very much, his name was Rudy. We got him at Christmas break,hence the name. Mr. Freppon will be greatly missed.

Susie Ledbetter Matkin | Fordyce, AR |

"We are so sorry to read of Wayne's death. I know you will miss him. Just wanted to let you know we are thinking of you."
Edward and Clora Parham | Fordyce, AR |

"Dear Alta Jean, I am so sorry to read of your loss. What a wonderful husband and friend you must have spent your life with. I wish I had the magic words to fill your heart. My spirit is with you .
With love, Marsha"

Marsha Richards Herrick | Little Rock, AR |

"My thoughts and prayers are with your family. Mr. Freppon has been missed at the Fordyce Schools. He was fair and reasonable to work for."
Caron Morris | Fordyce, AR |

"We are sorry for your loss. Mr. Freppon was a kind man to work for.

Ray and Cindy Bryant | Fordyce, AR |

"Mr. Freppon was such a kind man. My thoughts and prayers are with you. He will be missed by many."
Donna Hart | Fordyce, AR |

"So very sorry to hear of Mr. Freppon's passing, but knowing him as person, I know that he has joined the Church Triumphant! "
Kim Allen | Fordyce, AR |

"Sorry to hear of your loss! My God bless you is my prayer."
coach stan jones | Thornton, AR |

"Thinking of you all with lots of prayers. Mr. Freppon was a great person to work with here in Fordyce. He always asked about our son, Clay, also a coach at Rison. The memories of you daughters remind me of Clay's girls now, precious memories! He was a caring person and left you with many joys stored up in your heart. Bless you all.

Gerald and E. Totty"

Edith and Gerald Totty | Fordyce, AR |

"We were very blessed to work with Mr. Freppon at Fordyce. We are so sorry to hear of your loss."
David and Melody Little | Fordyce, AR |

"Dear AJ,
My heart goes out to you and your family. As you know, I never had the opportunity to meet Wayne, but after reading his obituary, I consider it a great loss not to have known him. I so much respect and admire his atheticism along with his dedication to being a wonderful father and husband to you. I know you will miss him, but you have many friends to help you navigate down life's new road. A friend......Bob"

Bob Tucker | Huntley, IL |

Ronald Smead | Fordyce, AR |

"Alta and family,

Please accept my sincere condolences in the loss of your dear husband, father, and grandfather. He was a great coach, a caring teacher, and was totally devoted to his family. I pray you will be comforted in knowing he left a legacy which will continue to impact lives into the next generation. He was loved and admired by many.

Sincerely with love and prayers,"

Paula Brock Stratton | Houston,, TX |

"I was so sad to hear about Mr. Freppon's death. I worked with him for many years and I can witness that he was loved and respected by so many. He will be missed. Love and prayers to his family.
Susan Ridings"

Susan Ridings | Fordyce, AR |

"great supt."
timothy rodgers | fordyce, AR |

"I had the pleasure of playing football for Coach Freppon in the early 70's in DeQueen, including our championship season of 1971. Reading about his competitiveness reminds me of the time he suited up at running back during practice to get the defense fired up. He was a great gentleman, and I know he will be sorely missed. May God bless you at this time."
Allan Stanford | Bryant, AR |

"I was so sorry to hear of Coach Freppon's death. I graduated from Smackover High School in the class of 1965. He was a truly nice person with a wonderful kindness. My thoughts and prayers are with you."
Linda Reynolds Tucker | FT. LAUDERDALE, FL |


I know I speak for the entire Smackover High School Class of 1965 when I say how fondly we all remember Coach Freppon. He was much more than just a coach and a teacher; he was a mentor, a role model, and an inspiration to all who knew him. His competitiveness and intensity were tempered with a kindness and sense of humor in a way that we all admired and respected. In a word, he was special, and he will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the entire family at this sad time."

Gary Andrews | Arlington, TX |

"Although we are cousins, I didn't really know Wayne, but after reading the beautiful obituary and the heartfelt comments, I know I really missed out...for he sounds like someone very special. What a glorious life he lived and I know you are all so proud of him and miss the husband and father who had such a profound influence on many. I pray that you find peace and strength as you cope with the sadness of your loss."
Margaret Freppon Davis | Concord, AR |

"Alta, and girls our condolences go out to your family during the loss of Wayne. He was a great friend, father, and husband and a good friend to our family. I know that he will be truly missed and our prayers and thoughts are with your entire family. We love all of u very much and may God bless each and everyone of your family."
Beny & Liz Tollett | DeQueen, AR. |

"Wayne & I were friends in Bald Knob High school and my deepest sympathy with you and your family, "
Alton Pollard | Beebe, AR |

"Alta,Mary,Kathy & Beth... My thoughts have been with you all since hearing about your loss. I just finished reading your tribute to Wayne's life. It expresses perfectly what a wonderful Father & Man he was. I could not help but smile although my heart is filled with sadness & sorrow as so many memories flooded my mind. Wayne was one of the kindess, big hearted and understanding people I have had the pleasure to know. All of you will continue to be in thoughts & prayers. Love, Sherra."
Sherra Tollett Lombardo | McKinney, TX |

We are so very sorry for your loss. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers."

Tim & Belinda Cox | Nashville, AR |

"Alta and family, please accept my sincere condolences for your loss."
Kay Adams | Arkadelphia , AR |

"Mr. Freppon was such a kind and friendy man. It was a pleasure to work with him. He hired me when I came to Fordyce High and was always so supportive as an administrator. He will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with you all."
Anita Bonacci | Fordyce , AR |

"Alta, I always enjoyed being a good friend of Wayne's. Enjoyed both of you the short stays you had in Fordyce. We played against each other in College, coached against each other and worked together in Fordyce. He was always a competetive opponent and very good friend. I had a lot of respect for him. Hope to see you this afternoon. You are in our prayers. "
Bobby Watkins | Fordyce, AR |

"We were so sorry to hear of Wayne's death. We are praying that God will give you strength and comfort during this time of mourning.

Harold & Lois Willett | Jonesboro, AR |


" Wayne was my cousin and I remember him as a very kind and gentle man who was highly motivated and was a very good man. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. Carol Anne
Obviously, Carol Anne never played football against Wayne. If she had, the words "kind and gentle" would not come to her mind in describing him. But I agree with her comment that he was "highly motivated". He was a nice guy and truly one of a kind. Ross "

Carol Anne Freppon Richardson & Ross Richardson | Camarillo, CA |

"I just learned of Mr. Freppon's passing. I am so sorry to hear of your loss.
I enjoyed working with him at Fordyce. He was a good Supt. and tried hard to fix the problems in our district so that we could have good schools.
I also enjoyed our specical connection thru the Temperance Hill UMC. May I suggest reading Isaiah 43:1-3 out loud. Substitute Wayn's name for Israel & Jacob. And know that he has gone homw and awaits you there. May God bless, keep, & comfort you and yours in this hour of grief.


Larry Horseman | Sparkman, AR |

"I had "Coach" Freppon as my principal in Junior High and High school. He was a great guy with a funny since of humor. I remember getting a needle through my finger in Home Ec and him giving me a hard time about it, teasing me.
To the Freppon girls, I am so sorry for your loss and my thoughts and prayers are with you.
Anje "

Anje (Smith) Johnstone | O "Fallon, MO |

"Alta, Kathy, Mary & Beth,

I wanted to write and tell you how sorry I am for your loss. Coach Freppon was such a special person that no words are adequate. He was a wonderful to me and so many others. He touched so many lives.


Mona Young - Bledsoe | Bartlett, TN |

"Matthew Wayne Freppon...Mr Freppon to me was my greatest Teacher...He was my principal Class of 1986 James E. Taylor Katy Texas...I was His toughest student to handle, He was the fairest Man I have ever known. And I do so much miss Him.


Daniel Jay Schmidt"

Daniel Jay Schmidt | Conroe T |

"Mr. Freppon was one of the better Principals I've known. He was fair and easy to talk to. During my first two years at James E. Taylor High School ('82 - '86) Mr. Freppon found himself having to deal with my ADHD and occasional pranks now and again. He did a good job counseling me and I'm a better person for it.
As I've gotten older, I've learned life isn't really about ones personal work or achievements, but instead how many lives your efforts were a positive influence. Mr. Freppon influenced many; and his efforts will live on for decades through them.
Love and Blessings to you and your families."

David George | Katy, TX |

"I remember Mr. Freppon from Taylor High School. May have actually sat in his office a time or two. I am saddened to hear of his passing and wish the best for his family. I was very young when I knew him as a student, but he was a great man. May all his memories be kind ones."
John Beuerle | Katy, TX |

"I graduated from Taylor High School in Katy in the late 80's. I enjoyed reading about Mr. Freppon's life, especially his daughters' memories. I am sorry for your loss."
Toni | Houston, TX |

"Alta how we loved and have never forgotten you I am heart broken to hear about Wayne. I read it in my SAU news letter. What I would give for one more day with you and wayne in De Queen. God bless . Emil & Barb"
Emil & Barbara Ray | Van Buren, AR |

"Peace be with you, Mrs. Freppon and Family. Coach Freppon came to De Queen and helped us believe in football again. I am very sorry for your loss."
Sherry Bianchi-Knod | Eagan, MN |

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