Thomas Dwight Olmstead

Jun 27, 2011

December 7, 1930 – June 27, 2011Thomas Dwight Olmstead, funeral director and lifetime resident of Heber Springs, Arkansas, passed away June 27, 2011.  Born December 7, 1930, he was the son of the late Ralph Wayne and Julia Carr (Phelps) Olmstead.
He was a graduate of the Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science of Dallas, Texas.  He was one of the organizers and past president of the Heber Springs Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club.  Mr. Olmstead was a 32 degree Mason and a member of the Sugarloaf Lodge No. 414 of the Masonic Order.  He was a Shriner, having served as president of the Atoka Shrine Club of Heber Springs.  He introduced President John F. Kennedy on October 3, 1963, at which time President Kennedy gave the dedication address of the completion of Greers Ferry Dam.  He was a retired co-chief of the Heber Springs Volunteer Fire Department, having served for 25 years.  He was past chairman of the Industrial Development Commission of the Cleburne County Area Redevelopment Act and a past member of the Heber Springs County Planning and Zoning Commission.  Mr. Olmstead served as past president of the Heber Springs Parent-Teacher Association and served as a member and past president of the Heber Springs School Board.  He was a past state board member of the Arkansas Funeral Directors and Embalmers, having been appointed to this position by Governor Orval E. Faubus.  He was appointed by Governor Bill Clinton as legislative committeeman for Arkansas funeral directors, representing Arkansas in Washington with matters relating to the funeral industry.
He was again appointed to this Commission by Governor Frank White.  He was named as Funeral Director of the Year for 1980-1981, received the Morticians of the Southwest Award, and was past president of the Arkansas Funeral Directors Association.  He worshipped at the Heber Springs First United Methodist Church where he had served as chairman of the Commission on Worship, member of the Official Board, and member of the Church Chancel Choir.  In the recent past, he wrote his book My Life as a Funeral Director and established the Olmstead Funeral Museum.
Mr. Olmstead was preceded in death his parents and one brother, Fr. Wayne C. Olmstead.  He is survived by his wife, Jo Ann; sons, Dwight (Lisa), Russ (Jessica), and Waren (Tracey); grandchildren, Ryan, Alesha, Alexis, Waren Thomas, and Sarah Grace; three great-granddaughters, Abby, Lynnlee, and Emory; sister-in-law, June Olmstead; and nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be Friday beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Olmstead Funeral Home.  Funeral services will be held Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church of Heber Springs.  Interment will follow at Woodland Memorial Park.  In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Cleburne County Historical Society or First United Methodist Church.