Mr. Albert Nelson DeMers
October 1, 1937 – March 10, 2018
Albert N. DeMers of Benton, Arkansas, went to live with the Lord on March 10, 2018. He was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, on October 1,1937.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Albert Penzel DeMers and Mary Elizabeth Whitington Koegler.
He is survivied by his wife of 56 years, Velba Orene DeMers, his daughter, Tona M. DeMers, of Benton, AR, his grandchildren, Jason M. Gorecke (Amber) of Cabot, AR, and Rebecca Bell (David) of Mabelvale, AR, his four great granddaughters, Hailey Gorecke, Lauren Gorecke, Ami Bell, and Scarlett Bell, a sister, Toni DeMers Olden of Mt. Home, AR, a stepdaughter, Debra Whitticar, of Benton, AR, and a host of cousins near and dear to him.
He was a machinist by trade but his first love was the Art of Judo. He began his Judo career in 1955 at the Little Rock Air Force Base, which was the only place anyone could take Judo at that time. At his death, he was one of the highest ranking Judo masters in the United States at 7th Dan (there are only 10) which is called shichidan. At one time, he and Vladimir Putin were both 6th Dan or rokudan. He traveled to the Kodokan in Japan twice, once while Putin was there.
He started his first Judo school at the YMCA on Broadway in Little Rock, Arkansas. In the 1970s, he began teaching Judo, Aikido, and other martial arts at UALR. He taught there for 40 years. He created the UALR Judo Club and took them to tournaments where they had enjoyed success.
The service will be at Griffin Leggett Healy & Roth at 5800 W. 12th Street, Little Rock, AR, 72204, on Friday, March 16, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. Visitation will be from 12:00 p.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Friday March 16, 2018. Interment will be at Roselawn Memorial Park on Roosevelt Road in Little Rock, Arkansas, immediately following the service. Albert was an avid animal lover. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Saline County Humane Society.
- Visitation Friday, March 16, 2018
- Funeral Service Friday, March 16, 2018
- Committal Friday, March 16, 2018
Mr. Albert Nelson DeMers
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March 16, 2018
Al you leave us with memories
That no one else can make,
And you leave us with a Judo bond
That time shall not break.
I've had the pleasure of knowing Al Demers as a Judo coach or Sensei (teacher and master) for the past 30 years. He was always welcoming and eager to share his martial art knowledge without hesitation to others. Aside from being an expert machinist, he had the extraordinary talent of glancing at the most complicated self-defense moves only once, and able to break it down in simple steps for the students to learn from.
I was humbled and elated when Al after one of his Judo trips to Japan, handed me a personalized black belt from the Kodokan (School of Judo) as a souvenir, a gift that I shall always treasure.
Al was not only a coach to me, I considered him a true friend and a father figure. A man that you could count on to be there for you at the time of need, confide in, and help you out while keeping a permanent smile on.
He was our Judo rock, in Little Rock. He will be missed, dearly.
March 15, 2018
I played judo with Al for many years, he was a jolly guy and a true judoka. back then he had a little wooden cabin boat that he loved to putt around the river in and we had had some interesting adventures with it. Al was a great judo player and was like wrestling a truck on the mat. i recall asking him a few times if he was ever going to retire from judo and he always said he would play until they nailed the lid on his coffin. we had some great times sensai.
March 15, 2018
I took Judo from him at the old North Little Youth Center in what I think was the late 60's.
Although I never followed through with Judo he did leave an impression that I will always carry.
I still have my Gi.