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Pamela  Sue  Bland
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Obituary for Pamela Sue Bland

Pamela Sue Bland peacefully entered the gates of Heaven on Friday, September 15, 2017 after a courageous battle with cancer. She was preceded in death by her Granny and Granddaddy, Beatrice and O. L. Richardson; her mother, Lotus Knickerbocker; her father, Royce Lack; and two step-brothers, Mike and Mark Lake.

Pamela Sue Bland was born on July 31, 1947, in Little Rock, Arkansas, but was raised in Fordyce. She was a Redbug through and through but also found room to cheer on the Razorbacks. She was known to love a trip to Las Vegas and traveled there any time she could. Pam was never ashamed to admit that she was a “yellow dog” Democrat and enjoyed many frank and fierce conversations on such topics. Pam was a lightning bolt that could command a room. One never walked away from a conversation questioning where she stood on a subject. She leaves behind many friends who will miss her dearly. She had a bold and outspoken personality that balanced perfectly with John, her husband of 45 years.

She was a tireless champion for the rights and opportunities of the developmentally disabled of Arkansas. She became the Executive Director of First Step, Inc. in 1981. Over her 34 year career she built First Step from a staff of 11 to a program employing around 1100 Arkansans serving Hot Springs, Malvern, Glenwood, Fordyce, Sparkman and Hamburg. Under her leadership, First Step expanded to provide services such as comprehensive therapies and early intervention programs for the youngest of clients into adulthood. She passionately encouraged fostering independence for the disabled. Pam was a visionary and established group homes and apartment living for disabled adults. She would wear out the steps to the state Capitol to network and collaborate with state legislators to insure the population she served was treated fairly. Pam retired in 2015 leaving a legacy of families touched by her compassion and dedication.

After all of those accomplishments, Pam’s greatest joy was her three grandchildren. Lovingly referred to as “Kiki”, she cherished every moment she spent with them. She loved and protected them with a fierce passion and grace that was admired by all.

Pam is survived by her loving husband, John Bland, of Hot Springs; daughter Dr. Heather Bland Owens of Little Rock; son Brian Bland of Little Rock; three grandchildren: Jack, Gabe and Camille Owens; sister, Anna Mayes of Malvern; brother John Lack of San Diego, California; nephew Jordan Mayes of Malvern; niece Kendall Lack of San Diego, California; and step-mother Margaret Lake of El Cajon, California.

A memorial service will be held at First Baptist Church of Hot Springs 2350 Central Avenue on Wednesday, September 20, 2017 at 10:30am. John McCallum, pastor of First Baptist Church in Hot Springs, will officiate. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to CARTI Cancer Center in Little Rock at 8901 CARTI Way, Little Rock, AR 72205 or to the ASPCA-American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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Previous Events

Memorial Service




10:30 AM
First Baptist Church

2350 Central Avenue
Hot Springs, AR 71913


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