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Mena, Arkansas, News covering Polk County and the surrounding area

Merle Dean Winfield

Merle Dean Winfield age 87, of Cove, Arkansas, went to his Heavenly home on Thursday, March 21, 2024. Merle was surrounded by his loved ones as he took his Lord’s hand. There was a joyful reunion as he met his Lord and Savior, his family members, along with his brothers and sisters in Christ.

Merle was born on Monday, April 13, 1936, to Martha Faris Kemp Winfield and John Lewis Winfield in Cove, Arkansas. Merle was deeply loved and respected by his devoted children, grandchildren, and his wife of 64 years.

His life was lived as an example of a Christian man, husband, father, and grandfather. He provided a guiding loving hand and the gift of him as a father is one of the greatest blessings God has ever given his family. Merle was a faithful and serving member of the First Baptist Church of Vandervoort, Arkansas, for 51 years. Merle took every opportunity to witness to someone, invite them to church, and he was so welcoming to visitors in the church.

Merle proudly served in the United States Navy for 21 years in the field of aviation mechanics. He retired with the rank of E-9, Senior Master Chief Petty Officer. His military career was distinguished with numerous medals, Letters of Commendation for his performance, and leadership. Merle served on the following aircraft carriers: USS Intrepid, USS Enterprise, USS Kitty Hawk, and USS Roosevelt. During his military career, he was able to serve in many parts of the world, from Spain, Hong Kong, France, Italy, Japan, the Philippines, to the Antarctic Circle. Merle faithfully wrote to his family daily when he was on a cruise.

After his retirement, he and his wife, Kathy pursued his longtime dream of raising cattle. Merle and his wife side-by-side built a successful farm and raised his family in Cove, Arkansas. He excelled in being able to recreate farm equipment from basic supplies and his mechanical abilities.

Merle loved to pass out a two-dollar ($2.00) bill to every child he encountered. He and his wife loved all children and considered them to be the greatest gift from God after salvation.

Merle loved the Lord with all his heart and wanted everyone around him to know the love of Jesus as well. He wore out multiple Bibles as he studied God’s word. His highlighting and underscoring of God’s precious Word revealed his dedication to his Creator and his Savior Jesus Christ.

He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, son, brother, uncle, and friend. He was preceded in death by his parents, Faris and Lewis Winfield, wife Kathryn (Kathy) Winfield, brothers and sister-in-laws John and Jean Winfield, Fran and Robert (Bob) Winfield, daughter-in-law Marcie Winfield, and son-in-law Oso Sanchez.

Merle is survived by his loving family: daughter Tonyia Winfield Nichols and husband Bill of Cove, Arkansas, daughter Sonyia Winfield of Cove, Arkansas, son and daughter-in-law, Christopher Winfield and wife Norma of Ocala, Florida, daughter Karen Parnell and husband Donnie of Cove, Arkansas, and daughter Debra Cooper and husband Eldon of Mountain Home, Arkansas, brother Dennis (Denny) Winfield and wife Elizabeth (Liz) of Benton, Arkansas, 13 grandchildren, Gigi Reyes, Jessica Hammond, John Hammond, Bridgette Hams, Brianna Starr, Zach Winfield, Paige Najera, Amy Muniz, April Guthrey, James Jacobs, Elaine Lenard, Ridge Elmore, and Quist Elmore, and honorary granddaughter, Elaine Crabtree, 15 great-grandchildren, Skylar King, Aidan Winfield, Gabriel Winfield, Thomas Hams, Christopher Hams, Summer Hams, Sabrina Hams, Nicolo Cruz, Kashlynn Starr, Luciano Winfield, Christian Jacobs, Adeline Strother, Ryker Jacobs, Presley Lenard, Sawyer Jo Lenard, Everett Elmore, and Juniper Elmore.

In keeping with his love for children, and spreading the Holy Word of God, Merle requested in lieu of flowers or plants, a donation be made to The Baptist Boys’ Ranch or to The Gideons International. Donations are being received through the Vandervoort First Baptist Church and being forwarded to the requested organization. With either donation, a check may be made out to Vandervoort First Baptist Church with “In Memory of Merle Winfield” in the memo line or at the following websites: or

Visitation with the family will be held Monday, March 25, 2024, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Vandervoort First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall. The family would like to invite all of Merle’s extended family and friends to gather for a time of fellowship and remembrance.

Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. at the Vandervoort First Baptist Church in Vandervoort, Arkansas, with his son Christopher Winfield and Pastor Aaron Anglin officiating.

Pallbearers are James Jacobs, Elaine Lenard, Zach Winfield, Brianna Winfield, R. J. Lenard, Skyler King, Jessica Hammond, and Jessie Oliver.

Honorary pallbearers are John Hammond, Bridgette Hams, Ridge Elmore, Quist Elmore and Elaine Crabtree.

A private family interment will follow at the Pleasant Grove Cemetery in Cove, Arkansas. Arrangements are entrusted to Bowser Family Funeral Home.

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