Obituary for Bernice Edna Martin from the Harrison Daily Times, 2004.

Edna Earwood

Edna Bernice Earwood[1], 79, of Harrison died Wednesday, Feb. 25 (2004) at North Arkansas Regional Medical Center in Harrison.

Funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 28 at Christeson Funeral Home with Rev. Charles Christian and Rev. Derwin Martin officiating. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27 at the funeral home. Burial will be in Mt. Judea Cemetery with grandsons and nephews serving as pallbearers.

The daughter of Frank and Stella Graham Martin[2] was born April 23, 1924[3] at Bear Creek in Searcy County. She was a prior resident of Mt. Judea. She was a devoted Christian and member of the Assembly of God Church, and was a homemaker and a loving, devoted wife and mother of ten children[4]. She enjoyed reading her Bible, growing flowers, quilting, and spending time with her children and grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Garlin Earwood[5]; a daughter, Evalene Smith; and a sister, Matilda Martin.

She is survived by six sons, Herman Earwood of Western Grove, Leon Earwood and Glen Earwood, both of Springfield, Mo., Bobby Earwood of Harrison, Paul Earwood of Russellville, and Tommy Earwood of Harrison; three daughters, Linda Carter, Kathy Redding and Robin Lane, all of Harrison; three brothers, Dalth Martin and John Martin, both of Hasty and Kenneth Martin of Mammoth Springs, Mo.; a sister, Emogene Davis of Vendor; 27 grandchildren; 36 great-grandchildren; eight great-great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews and friends who will mourn her passing.


[1] Records suggest the order of her names was Bernice Edna. The obituary appears to have flipped her first and middle names. To wit:

  • The 1930 census for Shady Grove Township, Searcy County, Arkansas enumerated her as “Martin, Bernice E.” which suggests that Edna was her middle name.
  • Similarly, the Social Security Death Index lists her as “Bernice E. Earwood.”
  • The 1940 census for Big Creek Township, Newton County, Arkansas, enumerated her as “Martin, Bernice.”
  • On her record of marriage to James Rhynes, she was “Bernice Martin.”
  • On her record of marriage to Garlin Earwood, she was “Bernice Rhynes.”

[2] Stella Viona Graham was the daughter of John Henry Graham and Mary Matilda Bohannon.

[3] The 1924 birth year is supported by most of the records except for one. At her marriage to James Rhynes on 28 April 1940, Bernice’s age was recorded as 18, which suggests one of two possibilities. One, that she was actually born in 1922, or two, she lied about her age. Being 16 in Arkansas in 1940, she would’ve needed her parent’s consent to marry James Rhynes, but if she were 18, consent wouldn’t be required. Did she elope with James?

[4] Bernice and James had one child together, Nona Evalene Rhynes, mentioned in the obituary as “Evalene Smith,” her married name. The other nine children were from Bernice’s second husband, Garlin Earwood.

[5] No mention at all of her first husband, James Rhynes. Bernice and Garlin Earwood were married on 2 July 1942, so James must have passed away by then. I haven’t yet found a record of his death.


Harrison Daily Times. “Edna Earwood,” published 29 February 2004. Retrieved 15 November 2013. 1930 United States Federal Census. Census Place: Shady Grove, Searcy, Arkansas; Roll: 89; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 17; Image: 509.0. Retrieved 15 November 2013. 1940 United States Federal Census. Census Place: Big Creek, Newton, Arkansas; Roll: T627_158; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 51-1. Retrieved 15 November 2013. Social Security Death Index. Name: Bernice E. Earwood; Death Date: 25 Feb 2004; Issue State: Arkansas ; Issue Date: 1973. Retrieved 15 November 2013. Arkansas County Marriages, 1837-1957. Film Number: 2020696; Digital Folder Number: 004331498; Image Number: 00078; Page Number: 622; Names: James Rhynes and Bernice Martin. Retrieved 15 November 2013. Arkansas County Marriages, 1837-1957. Film Number: 2026575; Digital Folder Number: 004331503; Image Number: 00483; Page Number: 500; Names: Garlin Earwood and Bernice Rhynes. Retrieved 15 November 2013.