The Commerce Journal


March 13, 2014

Fred Tarpley

COMMERCE — Fred Anderson Tarpley fell asleep in the Lord on March 1, 2014. Private family graveside services were at 11:30 a.m., March 4, at Grove Hill Cemetery in Dallas. A memorial reception in his honor will be held at the Rayburn Student Center (Texas A&M-Commerce) in Commerce at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Sparkman/Crane Funeral Home of Dallas is in charge of arrangements.

He was born in Leonard on Jan. 27, 1932, during the height of the “Great Depression.”  He graduated from Hooks High School in 1948 at the age of 16. He received B.A. and M.A. degrees (1951 and 1957) from East Texas State University and a Ph.D. from LSU in 1960. On Feb. 22, 1969, he married Jolene Connatser, and they would raise their three children, Ted, Marie, and Mark, together in Commerce.

Dr. Tarpley’s teaching career began in Galveston, teaching at the local high school at the age of 19. He would go on to teach in the English departments at East Texas State University (Professor Emeritus) and Jarvis Christian College where he served as department head and division head, respectively. His love for books, research, and writing found its way into his service to the university and community in numerous ways.

He was the author of a number of books, including “1001 Texas Plane Names.” He was the co-founder of the Bois d’ Arc Bash in Commerce and the founder of the Texas State UIL Literary Criticism contest. He received the distinguished alumni award from what is now Texas A&M University-Commerce (old ET, as some would say). He also served and volunteered on numerous committees, boards, and groups. He perhaps found the greatest joy, though, in mentoring and working with others in order to inspire them to reach beyond themselves in their abilities to write, learn, and become something greater than they believed they were capable of.

He is survived by his children, Ted of Sydney, Australia, Marie of Austin and Mark and wife Colleen of Fort Worth; his seven grandchildren, Anna, Nina, Amber, Michael, Gregory, Max, and Maria; his sister, Mrs. Dorothy Miville; his nephew, Robert Miville and family; and cousins.

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    Jeanette Sibley Welch Norris was born at home in the Scatterbranch Community, between Commerce and Greenville, on April 12, 1927, to Aruna Lee Fielding Sibley and Claude Woodson Sibley. 

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  • Fred Tarpley

    March 13, 2014

  • Janice Currens

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