“Just trust in the Lord and work hard every day.”
This is the advice for a long life offered by Leonard Glenn, a Stone County native who celebrated his 94th birthday this month.
He also reports having stayed away from cigarettes and alcohol.
“I was never drunk, and I never smoked a pack of cigarettes,” he said. “I probably would have smoked if I’d had to slip around, but Daddy said he wouldn’t whip us for something he did, and he smoked. So it wasn’t no fun, and it sure didn’t taste good.”
Leonard knows a lot about hard work. He was born at Turkey Creek on Feb. 7, 1926, the oldest of four children of Laura May (Berry) and William Isaac Glenn.
The family left when he was about 12, seeking work, mostly agricultural jobs in Oklahoma and Arizona.
In between working in the orange groves or whatever job was at hand, he attended school wherever the family was living, including Turkey Creek, Sunnyland, and in Oklahoma and Arizona.
“Wherever dad was working, that’s where I went to school.”
“But we always come back to Arkansas,” he said.
Home was his Grandma Finch’s farm near Turkey Creek in southern Stone County. At that time, it was a busier community than it is now, with a store and several family farms. The Glenns lived there until Leonard’s dad bought an 80-acre tract on Herpel Road in 1940.
“He cut the timber off it, and we just stayed down here,” Leonard said.
On Christmas Eve in 1943, Leonard married Agatha Williams, just a couple of months before entering the service at barely 18 years of age.
Leonard went into the Air Force but was transferred to the Army and sent to Luzon, Philippines, where he served with several other Stone County boys.
“That’s where I lost a lot of my buddies,” he said. “I think I’m the only one still living out of the bunch that went from here.”
Leonard was overseas nearly 14 months and celebrated his 19th birthday in the Philippines and his 20th in Japan, where he recalls it being very cold in February of 1946.
When he returned home, he and Agatha headed to California, where they worked in the grape harvest for a few years before returning home.
Leonard worked in timber and at the mill off and on throughout his life.
“I had a truck and an old mule or two. I did a lot of timber work,” he said.
He also bought scrap iron and owned a chicken loader for several years, which is a lift that carries cages into a chicken house and then loads them onto a truck.
Leonard also worked as a bus mechanic at Mountain View and a school bus driver, a job he doesn’t especially recommend.
“I drove this Herpel route for 10 years. That was long enough,” he said, joking about the challenges of supervising kids while driving a bus – “You’ve got all your troubles behind you.”
Meanwhile, Leonard and Agatha had a large family of their own, many of whom still live close. Agatha passed away in 1998.
When asked how many children they had, Leonard said, “I tell everybody 14, but I just had seven.”
He is less certain on the number of grandchildren – “Grandkids, great-grandkids, and great-great-grandkids, I counted them up here one day. But I’ve had half a dozen born since then, and I counted to 40 then.”
Leonard has seen many changes in Stone County during his life. He can recall when Mountain View didn’t have any blacktopped roads.
Leonard estimates he has been retired about 20 years now.
“I sold my mule,” he said. “I think I’ve got two cows and two donkeys. That’s what I own.”
He has had two open heart surgeries and has some hearing and vision problems but is in fairly good health otherwise and enjoys having most of his family close.
Five of his children still live in Stone County. Sons Troy and Jack and daughters Denise and Tammy live close to Leonard on Herpel Road, while his youngest, Missy, is also near Mountain View. Daughter Judy lives at Jamestown, and one son, Bill, is in Texas.
Leonard’s youngest sister, Bell Price, is also still living at Herpel.