Marvin E. Speight

Mar 15th, 2017 | By | Category: Obituaries

Marvin E. Speight departed this life on March 13, 2017. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, coach, teacher, neighbor, and friend. Born on September 5, 1921 to James and Ella (Dinneen) Speight, he grew up in the Hickory Plains community and called it his home until his passing. He attended Beebe High School where he starred on the boy’s basketball team, and was a member of the 1941 Beebe Badgers state championship team. From there he was awarded a scholarship to what is now the University of Central Arkansas. It was during his early time in college that he deferred his education to do something that he was extremely proud of, which was to serve his country in the military during World War II. He returned home to finish his education, earning a bachelor’s degree in physical education as well as a master’s degree in physical education from the Peabody School at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. He then began a lengthy career of coaching and teaching, first at Moro High School in Lee County, AR. From there he went to coach at Searcy High School, and on to coach junior college basketball at Arkansas State University – Beebe. It was in 1963 that he was offered his dream job of being the head basketball coach at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, which is where he remained until stepping away from coaching to focus on being an educator full time. He was married to the only woman he ever loved for over 64 years, Geraldine (Parks) Speight who was indeed the light of his life. He was preceded in death by his parents, an infant brother Roy Speight, brothers James William, Charlie, and Joe, a sister Mary (Speight) Walters and one son, Steve Speight. Left to cherish his memory is his wife, oldest son Scott and his beloved daughter-in-law Donna of Des Arc, AR, a stepson Larry Lendermon, and his two grandchildren Seth Speight of Lonoke, AR and Lauren Speight of North Little Rock. He was most proud of his family and the love and support he showed during his amazing life were proof of that. Also of great importance were the relationships that he had with his players and fellow coaches, often speaking with the pride that he took in seeing them succeed in life after athletics. He also leaves behind countless other family members, former players, students, friends and neighbors, as well as fellow military service people that he was so proud to share a bond with. Memorial donations may be made to the Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Speight Educational Scholarship Endowment c/o Arkansas Community Foundation, 1400 West Markham, Suite 206, Little Rock, AR 72201 or online at This Fund will be used to support scholarships at Arkansas State University – Beebe. Visitation will begin at 1:00 p.m. Thursday, March 16, 2017, at Smith-Westbrook Funeral Home, Beebe, with Memorial Service to follow at 2:00 p.m. Arrangements by Smith – Westbrook Funeral Home.