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Obituary: Preston “Peppy” Grace, Jr.


Preston “Peppy” Windham Grace, Jr., 82, of Batesville, Ark., passed away peacefully on Jan. 18, 2021.

Peppy was born in Batesville on March 16, 1938, to Charlotte and Preston Grace, Sr. 

A graduate of Batesville High School and Arkansas College (now Lyon College), Peppy married his high school sweetheart, Nancy Leonard, the daughter of Louise and Quenten Leonard, also of Batesville, on July 6, 1960. Together until her passing 57 years later, their marriage was blessed with four children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Throughout the years, Peppy served with the Arkansas National Guard; owned and operated several local businesses; co-founded and served as president/CEO of Independence Federal Bank; served as a Batesville Jaycee and as president of the Batesville Rotary Club; and founded W.R.D. Entertainment, which, at the time, operated a family of four local radio stations. 

The company, now known as White River Now, currently operates six radio stations as well as the online local news site, 

Peppy was also a longtime member of First Presbyterian Church of Batesville.

Besides his love for Nancy, his family, his lifelong friends, and all the employees with whom he worked over the years, Peppy also enjoyed Arkansas Razorbacks sports, his beloved mother-in-law’s Southern cooking, and any and all things related to Elvis Presley. 

Peppy was preceded in death by Nancy and his parents, Charlotte and Preston Grace, Sr. He is survived by his four children, Preston “Chip” Grace III and daughter-in-law, Tonia; Charlotte “Candi” Grace and her partner, Annette Hurley; John Robert “Rob” Grace; and Mollie Grace Smith and Ken Smith. He is also survived by six grandchildren: Will Grace, Carly Mace (and her husband, Chris Mace), Hannah Grace, Hutton Grace, Jacob Smith, and Sam Smith; two great-grandsons, Owen Mace and Walker Mace; a brother, Barnett Grace (and his wife, Greer); and three nephews, Christopher Grace, Philip Grace (and his wife, Melanie), and Charles Baber Grace.

The family would like to graciously and lovingly thank Jerri Gallap, Roy Roberts, Jessica Barnett, Alyssa Anglum, Sharon Medlock, Edith Flores, Judith Flores, and in particular, Jonathan Hunter and Tracy Clem, and for their love, care, and devotion for Peppy, as well as every aide, caregiver, and nurse who attended and cared for him. 

A private graveside service will be held with the family. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to First Presbyterian Church of Batesville or to Arkansas Children’s Hospital. 

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