Dr. Eldon D. Pence Jr., 87, of Fort Smith passed away peacefully on the afternoon of July 24, 2018, surrounded by his family. He was preceded in death by his parents, Eldon and Virginia Smith Pence, and grandson, William Justin Kerr.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Betty Cole Pence; two daughters, Michelle Harris and husband Scot of Fort Smith and Cyndi Glidewell and husband Jerry of Fort Smith; one son, Eldon Dryden Pence III and wife Laila of Newport Beach, Calif.; one sister, June Tragesser of Houston; six grandchildren, Zach Wakefield, Cole Wakefield, Cory Allen, Emily Glidewell, Jay Glidewell and Sarah Pence; and three greatgrandchildren, Noah Wakefield, Lily Allen and Lucian Allen.

Born Nov. 5, 1930, in Kansas City, he attained the rank of Eagle Scout as a teen. He attended the University of Arkansas and was a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity and the Razorback marching band. He transferred to Tulane University, where he completed his undergraduate studies and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation from Tulane Medical School, he was a captain in the U.S. Army from 1954-57 and was stationed in El Paso, Texas, and Ancon, Panama, where he completed his residency.

In 1960, he moved with his family to Fort Smith and opened a practice with Dr. George Allen. Dr. Pence had one of the largest internal medicine practices in the south. He was a pioneer in cardiac monitoring technology and enhanced medical services to rural communities. Dr. Pence served on the board of St. Edward (Mercy) Hospital and was instrumental in development and construction of their facility.

Pence was a member of the Sebastian County Medical Society, Arkansas State Medical Society, American College of Chest Physicians and Noon Civics Club. He and his wife Betty were very supportive of community activities.

His passion for the practice of medicine was appreciated by his patients and recognized by his peers. Beyond his 42-year career as a physician, Pence enjoyed working at his cattle ranch, boating activities at the lake, gardening, politics, travel, Razorback games and spending time with family and friends. He will always be remembered for his life of service, commitment and exuberance.

The family expresses gratitude to Sparks Regional Medical Center, Select Specialty Hospital, Methodist Nursing Home and all of his caregivers. A special note of thanks goes to his friend and physician, Dr. Richard Hinkle.

A funeral service will be held at First Methodist Church Sanctuary on Friday at 11 a.m. followed by interment at the U.S. National Cemetery in Fort Smith. Friends are invited to join the family for a celebration of his life at 1 p.m. at Hardscrabble Country Club.

Pallbearers will be Zack Wakefield, Jay Glidewell, Scot Harris, Chris Allen, Jerry Glidewell and Dryden Pence III.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club, 4905 N. O St., Fort Smith, AR 72904; or First Methodist Church, 200 N. 15th St., Fort Smith, AR 72901.

Online condolences may be sent to www.edwardsfuneralhome.com.