Ronnie Willhite, 91, of Fayetteville, passed away Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, at his home. 

He was born Wednesday, April 8, 1931, in Beaver, Ark., to George Edward and Wilsie Beaver Willhite.

Ronnie married Shirley Ann Eaton on Saturday, Nov. 27, 1971, in Fayetteville. For the last 25 years he attended Cross Church at Springdale. Ronnie’s work ethic began as he worked in his father’s handle manufacturing company. Before serving his country in the U.S. Army, he worked building bridges and dams. He then began his own lumber business. In 1980, he and his wife expanded their business to include pallet lumber. They owned and operated Willhite Forest Products, Inc., together until 2002. Ronnie took great joy in all aspects of the lumber business and in inventing new equipment. He was a hard worker who loved his wife and family and was well-respected by all who knew him. Some of his pastimes were telling stories, singing, riding four-wheelers, boating, playing pool, making the best lemonade, and visiting with people of all walks of life.

Ronnie was preceded in death by his parents; his daughter, Debbie Eaton; granddaughter, Candace Willhite; four brothers, Bill Willhite, Vern Willhite, Bob Willhite and Bud Willhite. 

He is survived by his wife, Shirley Willhite of the home; one surviving son, Mark Willhite of Springdale; six grandchildren, Justin and Christian Eaton of Rogers, Jessica Eaton of Farmington, Kimberly and Ken Blundell of Elkins, Kyle Eaton of St. Paul, Amanda Drummond and Tim Macks of Fayetteville, Matthew and Lindsey Willhite of Elkins; 13 great-grandchildren, Cody, Isaac, Kaitlyn, Kaydra, Kinley, Gavin, Elli, Kylie, Kenzie, Jaxon, Karson, Gracyn, Kelton; nephew, Mark and Joanna Eaton of Springdale; and great-nephew, John-Mark Eaton of Springdale; and other nephews and nieces.

The family will receive friends on Friday, Jan. 27, at 1 p.m., with funeral services to follow at 2 p.m. at Brashears Funeral Home with John Baker officiating. 

Pallbearers will be Mark Willhite, Justin Eaton, Mark Eaton, John-Mark Eaton, Matthew Willhite, Kyle Eaton and Steve Eaton. 

Interment will immediately follow services at Boston Cemetery, Pettigrew. 

Services are entrusted to Brashears Funeral Home and Crematory of Huntsville.