Beloved husband of Louise Miles Baxley Tankersley. Richard Keith Tankersley was born in Auburn, NE on July 2, 1923, son of the late Raymond and Leoe Snow Tankersley. Loving father of Kathy Tankersley of Salem, MA, Carla Baxley (Kenny) Martin of Jonesboro, LA, and James Baxley II of Quitman, LA. Brother of Shirley Gilfert of Syracuse, NE, and Enid Stinson of Leavenworth, KS, sister-in-laws Betty J. Tankersley of Toledo, Ohio, Betty L. Tankersley of Carmel, Indiana, granddaughter Carrie Martin (James) Williams of Arcadia, and two grandsons: J K Martin of Jonesboro, LA and James Baxley III of Quitman, LA. Also survived by two great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his first wife, Cloteal Peevy Tankersley, two sons, Charles Richard and Ronald Keith Tankersley, two brothers, Raymond, Jr., and Larry Tankersley, and a sister, Doris Ruge.
Fondly known as “Tank”, he graduated from Weeping Water High School, Weeping Water, Nebraska. After high school graduation, Mr. Tankersley was employed by Glen L. Martin aircraft manufacturers in Omaha, Nebraska on the test line of B-26 and B-17 bombers. Despite a deferment, he volunteered for military service during World War II. He served in the U S Army Air Corps as a flight engineer and was attached to the 2nd, 3rd, 8th, and 10th Air Groups/Squadrons. He advanced to the rank of Tech Sergeant and was attached to a training group at Barksdale Air Force Base where he met General Charles de Gaulle while training French airmen. Barksdale Air Force Base VFW recently celebrated Tank's service to his country with an honorarium.
Before moving to Jonesboro, he held several jobs including express car train guard and Greyhound bus driver. He started work at Southern Advance Bag and Paper Company as a laborer. He furthered his education at ICS and the Institute of Science and Technology in Chicago. In 1959 he was promoted to Quality Control Supervisor with Continental Can Company and was subsequently promoted to lead color chemist and lab supervisor. He retired in 1984. Mr. Tankersley was responsible for developing the Sears “gray” and JC Penney “brown” trademark bag colors in the 1960s. He loved cars and was co-owner of the first Toyota dealership in the region.
An avid traveler, he was a member of the Wally Bayam Caravan Club International (WBCCI) for 23 years, holding all elected offices in the WBCCI Northeast Louisiana Unit, including President. He spent many years “air streaming” all over the United States including Alaska and Canada. He was devoted to church and family. From 1946-1961, he was a member of Centerpoint Methodist Church. From 1961-1999, he was a member of Jonesboro United Methodist Church 1961-1999, where he served on the Administrative Board, Chairman of Trustees for four terms, Chairman of the Building and Grounds Committee, Church Bus Committee Chairman, and held every office but Chairman of the Board. He also chaired the Renovation Program for four years. In 1999, he became a member of Fellowship Baptist Church. He was an active member of the Council on Aging (COA), where he served on the Board of Directors, and is a former Chairman of the COA. Entered Hodge Masonic Lodge 1947 and advanced to degree of Fellowcraft with a 50 year diploma.
Along with his wife, Louise, he established and ran the Jonesboro United Methodist Church Food Program for eight years. Together they also ran a clothing fund focusing on children's needs.
Funeral services will be private. Graveside services for family and friends will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, August 9, 2010 at Jonesboro Cemetery. A celebration luncheon will follow at Fellowship Baptist Church.