Irma Jean Louks Altom, age 95, passed away on May 19, 2021, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. She was of the Baptist faith. Jean was born September 18, 1925, in Bald Knob, Arkansas to Garland Preston Louks and Nola Mae Hulsey Louks. Her early childhood was spent in the Bald Knob area. In the 1930s her family moved to California to work in the fields and follow the harvest up the central valley – a true “Grapes of Wrath” story. The family later returned to Arkansas where Jean graduated high school in Bald Knob.
In 1943, she married Conway Altom. Their marriage lasted almost 69 years until his death in 2012. From 1943 to 1967 she followed her US Navy, later Air Force, military husband from one base assignment to another, living in California, Arizona, Florida, Alaska, Indiana, Oklahoma, Illinois, England, and Idaho. Jean made many friends during her years as a military spouse. She corresponded with these military friends for many years afterwards. Moving back to Arkansas in 1967, Jean initially worked for the State of Arkansas. Later she worked for the Army Air Force Exchange Service, retiring in 1981, as the personnel officer at Little Rock Air Force Base Exchange.
Upon retirement she and her husband moved back to Bald Knob where she obtained her real estate license, and became active in her church and various civic organizations. She also became interested in genealogy and traced her family’s roots back several generations. Jean moved to Oak Ridge in 2016 to be near her immediate family. She was a loving daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, and grandmother. Jean really enjoyed cooking and was well known within the extended family for her chicken and dressing.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, Conway Altom, brother, Winfred Louks, and grandson, Jason Altom. Survivors include son, Donald (Dianna) Altom of Oak Ridge, granddaughter, Katherine Altom of Washington, D.C., brother, Ray Louks of Bryant, Arkansas, and sister, Elwyna Helm of Jonesboro, Arkansas, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
The family would like extend special thanks to the staff of The Groves at Oak Ridge for their kind support, care, and understanding during Jean’s stay at the facility. Services will be held at Powell Funeral Home, Bald Knob, Arkansas. Interment will follow at Shady Grove Cemetery, Bald Knob. Weatherford Mortuary is in charge of local arrangements.
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