Barbara Broyles Passes Away at Age 79
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Barbara Broyles, wife of University of Arkansas Athletic Director Frank Broyles, passed away peacefully surrounded by her husband, children and grandchildren on Wednesday at the age of 79. Barbara was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1999 and succumbed to complications from the disease at her Fayetteville home on Wednesday afternoon.
Mrs. Broyles will be interred in a private family service. A public memorial service will be held on Friday at 2 p.m. at the Central United Methodist Church sanctuary located at 6 West Dickson Street in Fayetteville. Special seating will be provided for athletic staff and for former Razorback players and coaches. Additional seating for the memorial service will be available in the adjacent activities building if needed.
Through the UA Athletic Department, the family released the following statement:
“We are deeply saddened with the loss of this truly special woman. Barbara was a devoted wife, a loving mother, a caring grandmother and a tireless servant for the people of Arkansas. Even in this difficult time, we celebrate her positive impact on the countless number of people touched by her generosity and caring. We will miss her gentle spirit and her loving and compassionate nature, but the legacy of her remarkable contributions to her family, friends, church, the University of Arkansas and her community will be treasured in our hearts forever.”
Born May 20, 1925, in Houston, Texas, to Ballard and Ruth Day, Barbara Broyles lived in Texas, California and Illinois before her family settled down in Georgia. It was there that Frank Broyles, a 10th-grader at Decatur [Ga.] High School, was mesmerized by the new girl at school, 15-year-old Barbara Day. The two went on their first date on Jan. 24, 1941. Frank and Barbara dated through high school and at Georgia Tech before he was called to duty in the Naval Reserve in World War II. Before he was deployed, the two were married on May 6, 1945. The war ended shortly thereafter and Frank returned to Georgia Tech where he was a three-sport standout. Barbara was named Homecoming Queen and the couple was featured on the cover of Atlanta Journal Magazine on Sept. 29, 1946.
From 1947-49, the Broyles’ lived in Waco, Texas, where Frank was serving as the offensive backfields coach for Baylor University. Sons Jack and Hank were born during their stint in Waco. The couple spent three years at Baylor before moving on to Florida (1950) for one season. The Broyles’ spent six years (1951-56) in Atlanta, Ga., where he was an assistant coach to Bobby Dodd at Georgia Tech. In their time in Atlanta, sons Dan and Tom were born.
After one year as the head coach at Missouri, Frank Broyles was hired by John Barnhill as the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks in December 1957. Thus began the Broyles’ love affair with a University, a state and a community that has lasted for nearly five decades. For the past 47 years, Barbara has been by her husband’s side serving as the First Lady of the Razorback program.
In her time in Fayetteville, Mrs. Broyles devoted herself to raising a family and volunteering her time for a multitude of worthy causes. Last June, the Ozark Literacy Council honored Mrs. Broyles for her more than 40 years of work in promoting literacy with the creation of the Barbara Broyles Endowment Fund. For more than 20 years, Barbara found joy in teaching young adults and older adults to read in order to share her love of reading. She was a long-time board member, officer and chairperson for the organization including serving as chair for the committee that incorporated the Council in 1996. She was also a founding board member of the state-level Arkansas Literacy Councils, Inc., and was appointed to the Governor’s Commission on Adult Literacy in 1987. She organized numerous events to assist in the fight against illiteracy including a national convention of literacy councils.
Barbara volunteered for countless organizations, serving as an officer and a board member over the years for the Altrusa Club, the Northwest Arkansas Radiation Therapy Institute, the American Cancer Society, the Fayetteville Department of Parks and Recreation, the Fayetteville Youth Center and the Friends of Hospice. In 1988, she was recognized as the Volunteer of the Year by the City of Fayetteville. She was Chapter Advisor for the Phi Mu sorority on campus, and in 1991 was named Chapter Advisor of the Year at the University of Arkansas.
A Sunday School teacher for 50 years of her life, she teamed with friend Dexter Brown to start a Bible Study group, which she helped lead for more than 25 years. She also was active in several of the church’s outreach programs including serving meals to the needy residents of the area as well as working in Fayetteville’s Meals on Wheels program.
Frank and Barbara Broyles enjoyed 59 years of marriage together including the last 47 years living in Arkansas. The couple has six children: Jack and his wife Janet, Hank and his wife Mary, Dan and his wife Debra, Tom and his wife Tisha, Betsy and her husband David, and Linda and her husband Jim. They have 19 grandchildren: Lex and his wife Gina, Ivan, Iris, Taylor, Madison, Molly, India, Jacob, Allyson, Jordan, Delaney, Franklin, Barbara, Thomas Michael Jr., Carmen, Ramey, Whitney, Jennifer and John. Barbara Broyles was preceded in death by her parents Ballard and Ruth Day.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the Barbara Broyles Endowment of the Ozark Literacy Society (2596 Keystone Crossing, Fayetteville, AR 72703), the Alzheimer’s Association – Arkansas Chapter (320 N. Greenwood Ave., Fort Smith, AR 72901), Washington Regional Hospice (34 Colt Square, Fayetteville, AR 72703), or the Central Methodist Church C.A.C. Building Fund (P.O. Box 1106, Fayetteville, AR 72702).
Visitation will be from 6-9 p.m. tonight and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Thursday at the Broyles’ home at 721 Canterbury, Fayetteville.
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