Mostly Ashley County, Arkansas

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  • ID: I1019
  • Name: Ovid Thompkins Switzer
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 21 FEB 1903 in Crossett, Ashley Co., Arkansas
  • _APPLIES_TO: DATE_AND_PLACE 1
  • Death: 7 FEB 2001 in Crossett, Ashley Co., Arkanas
  • _APPLIES_TO: DATE_AND_PLACE 2
  • Burial: Pinewood Cemetery, Ashley Co., Arkansas
  • _APPLIES_TO: PLACE 3
  • _UID: 9B9BA39D6E904640AF32413E23B6D4B9C09D
  • Note:
    Obituary excerpt from the "Ashley County Ledger":
    ----------
    Ovid T. Switzer, Sr., 97, of Crossett died Wednesday, February 7, 2001, at the Ashley County Convalescent Center in Wilmot. He was born February 21, 1903, to Fred H. and Lillie Switzer, members of the pioneer Ashley County family who came to the area from North Carolina in 1849 and purchased 2,000 acres of land southwest of what later became Crossett in the area of Sulfur Springs and Petersburg, then a thriving river-front community.
    Mr. Switzer attended the Crossett school then housed in the Green building on Gates Avenue (Third Avenue) under Superintendent D. C. Hastings. He attended Mississippi State College from 1919 to 1921. Prior to becoming an attorney, he worked for C. W. Woods at a service station in North Crossett and was also employed at the Crossett Post Office under Postmaster Cammack.
    He was admitted to the bar and became the first lawyer in private practice in Crossett in 1929. Mr. Switzer served the county as deputy prosecutor for twelve years and as state senator from 1935-1938. One of the greatest aspects of his life was his devotion to the Department of Parks and Tourism, of which he was a commissioner. In 1957, he began the Lake Chicot State Park project.
    ----------

    !RESEARCH NOTES:
    Obituary from the "Ashley County Ledger":
    ----------
    Ovid T. Switzer, Sr., 97, of Crossett died Wednesday, February 7, 2001, at the Ashley County Convalescent Center in Wilmot. He was born February 21, 1903, to Fred H. and Lillie Switzer, members of the pioneer Ashley County family who came to the area from North Carolina in 1849 and purchased 2,000 acres of land southwest of what later became Crossett in the area of Sulfur Springs and Petersburg, then a thriving river-front community.
    Mr. Switzer attended the Crossett school then housed in the Green building on Gates Avenue (Third Avenue) under Superintendent D. C. Hastings. He attended Mississippi State College from 1919 to 1921. Prior to becoming an attorney, he worked for C. W. Woods at a service station in North Crossett and was also employed at the Crossett Post Office under Postmaster Cammack.
    He was admitted to the bar and became the first lawyer in private practice in Crossett in 1929. Because the town was whole owned and operated by The Crossett Company, only company employees were allowed to own a business. He overcame the opposition and, with the aid of his father, State Senator Fred Switzer, was given a corner of the mayor's office, then located in the natatorium. Living first in a YMCA apartment, he was later allowed a house on Third Street (Oak) next to the beanery. He later obtained Dr. Cammack's dental office in the Masonic building and kept his office there until after World War II when he moved to an office on Pine. He and his brother, W. P. "Billy" Switzer practiced there several years until he build the present office where his son, Bruce D. Switzer, now practices law.
    Mr. Switzer served the county as deputy prosecutor for twelve years and as state senator from 1935-1938. In addition to his law practice, he was also active in many other business areas. He built and operated the Western Auto Associate Store, the Wagon Wheel Restaurant and the first modern motel in the area, complete with swimming pool. He also owned liquor stores in West and North Crossett when the county was wet. He build his home in West Crossett, paying for lumber from The Crossett Company largely with coupons collected from his customers who were paid in coupons by the company.
    One of the greatest aspects of his life was his devotion to the Department of Parks and Tourism, of which he was a commissioner. For nearly 40 years, he was dedicated to the development of parks and recreational facilities with those facilities now a factor in attracting about 20 million visitors to the state each year.
    In 1957, he began the Lake Chicot State Park project. Beginning with a $25,000 grant, the park site was cleared. He diligently continued the development of the park, obtaining more grants and appropriations until it has gained the reputation of one of the finest parks in the state. Until this project, Southeast Arkansas had no parks or facilities to attract tourists.
    First appointed to the commission in 1953 by Governor Francis Cherry, he served during the tenures of Govs. Orval Faubus, Winthrop Rockefeller, David Pryor and Dale Bumpers until January, 1979. When his term expired, the other commission members asked the state legislature to make him a lifetime member to retain his experience and expertise. State Rep. N. B. "Nap" Murphy and State Senator George "Butch" Locke sponsored House and Senate resolutions designating Mr. Switzer as a life member of the Parks and Tourism Commission, which won unanimous approval. The resolutions became Act 213 of 1979, naming Mr. Switzer Commissioner Emeritus of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. In March, 1982, the Arkansas Academy for Tourism Achievement inducted Commissioner Switzer in to the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame as the first inductee.
    He was a member of the Arkansas Bar Association and past president of the Ashley County Bar Association and the Southeast Arkansas Legal Institute, practicing law for 60 years. He was a Democrat and a charter member and past president of the Crossett Riding Club, a member of the Crossett Rotary Club and Prairie Country Club and a member of the First Baptist Church.
    He was preceded in death by his wives, Marguerite Taylor Switzer and Chloe Courson Switzer; two brothers, Frank and W. P. "Billy" Switzer; a son, Roderick Switzer; and a grandson, Douglas Allen Switzer. Survivors include three sons, Ovid, Jr., Bruce and Phil; his long-time companion, Bettye Melton; eight grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild.
    Funeral services were at 2 p.m. Saturday, February 10, in the Jones Funeral Home chapel in Crossett. Pallbearers were Tommy Strebeck, Gayle Deal, Gary Draper, Edgar Chesser, William E. Johnson and Richard Welch. Burial followed services at Pinewood Memorial Park. Memorials may be made to the Paul Sullins Library, Crossett Riding Club or Crossett Centennial Park Project.
    ----------
    _
    -Social Security Death Index
    about Ovid T. Switzer
    Name: Ovid T. Switzer
    SSN: 432-60-8149
    Last Residence: 71635 Crossett, Ashley, Arkansas, United States of America
    Born: 21 Feb 1903
    Died: 7 Feb 2001
    State (Year) SSN issued: Arkansas (1951 )
  • Change Date: 25 DEC 2008 at 21:55:16



    Father: Frederick Harvey Switzer b: 22 JUN 1871 in Crossett, Ashley Co., Arkansas
    Mother: Lillie Andrews b: 10 DEC 1881 in Ashley Co., Arkansas

    Marriage 1 Ruth Marguerite Taylor b: 1 FEB 1918 in Hamburg, Ashley Co., Arkansas
    • Married: 6 JUN 1936 4
    Children
    1. Has Children Living Switzer
    2. Has Children Living Switzer
    3. Has No Children Living Switzer

    Sources:
    1. Title: GEDCOM File
      Abbrev: GEDCOM File
      Page: from Cyndi Repp
    2. Title: Social Security Death Index
      Abbrev: Social Security Death Index
    3. Title: Obituary
      Abbrev: Obituary
    4. Title: John W. Taylor Family Sheets
      Author: Herbert B. Hagen
      Abbrev: Herbert B. Hagen(?)
      Abbrev: Taylor, John W. Family Sheets

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