Rollins Funeral Home


James L. Gershner

October 27, 1940October 5, 2020

James Larry Gershner, 79, born October 27, 1940, passed away on October 5, 2020 in Rogers, Arkansas.

Larry was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Rogers. He attended Arkansas Tech University, earned a degree in education, and was an all-conference football player. He later went on to pursue a master’s degree in education from Arkansas State University.

Larry began his career as a coach in Dardanelle, Arkansas and ended his coaching career in DeValls Bluff, Arkansas. He continued to serve the community in DeValls Bluff as the principal and superintendent of the school system for many years, devoting a total of 35 years to public education.

He enjoyed the outdoors, but was most passionate about the success of past students. During his life, he loved making kids smile with his jokes, as well as, to guide and mentor them so they could make a difference in their own lives. He leaves a legacy of making people a priority through his time, talent, and energy.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Evelyn and his father, Leon Gershner Sr.

He is survived by his wife, Caroline Gershner of Rogers; daughter, Kim Swieter of Rogers; son, Greg Gershner and wife, Janet of Fort Smith; and brother, Leon Gershner Jr. and wife, Vicki Gershner of Roland, Arkansas. His retirement years were spent as he lived his life, focused on his two grandsons, Grant Gershner (Ashley) of San Antonio, Texas and Stone Swieter of Rogers.

Arrangements are in the care of Rollins Funeral Home. Due to the Covid pandemic, there will be a private visitation for the family. A memorial service and burial will be held in Missouri at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Larry’s honor to the Rogers Humane Society, 407 C. Nursery Rd., Rogers, AR 72758 or Micha’s House, 1110 Elm St., Rogers, AR 72756.

Online condolences can be made at


  • Caroline Gershner, Wife
  • Kim Swieter, Daughter
  • Greg Gershner (Janet), Son
  • Leon Gershner Jr. (Vicki), Brother
  • Grant Gershner (Ashley), Grandson
  • Stone Swieter, Grandson

Learn more about the Gershner name


  • Rogers Humane Society
  • Micha’s House


  • Private Gravside at later date


James L. Gershner

have a memory or condolence to add?

Carla Walton

October 12, 2020

I have such fond memories of my days at DVB schools. Tim and I loved the students and families and especially our fellow teachers and administrators. We loved visiting with Carolyn and Larry even after we moved on. They both felt like family and we loved to listen to Larry’s stories. He had a passion for his job and the people of that community. When the school closed, that little town just was never the same because that school was the heart, due in large part to the place that Larry made it.

Scarlett Wilson

October 11, 2020

Caroline and family - received a call from Joy McClellan Foringer this afternoon regarding Larry passing. We were classmates at Ark Tech and of course those were the memorable Wonder years with the inspirational "greats". When I come home to Rogers, even if to ref volleyball as now, I still hide out at farm at Cross Hollows.
So sorry for your truly great person loss and all he represented and taught by example. Rest in peace.
Scarlett Biggs Wilson (Ark Tech 1959-63 Education)
Omaha NE and Cross Hollows, AR

Bennie Massey

October 10, 2020

Larry was one of the good guys! I haven’t seen him in a while but we were both educators and he was a great coach, principal and superintendent. He will be missed by so many. Rest In Peace my friend.

Mike Bryson

October 9, 2020

I’ll never forget Larry. There are so many things I would like to say, but the best thing I can think of is, he was the best. He will truly be missed by all his guys. We’ll miss you Coach.

Billie (Crace) Ratcliff

October 9, 2020

Larry was probably my first real boyfriend the summer before our Senior year at NLRHS, after I moved back from Nebraska. We had a few "dates" (back then, that meant holding hands and going to a movie). I always felt so special because Larry was such a football star, and really cute. I've thought about him from time to time, wondering where the heck he ended up. Sounds like he was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather...and, a good buddy to a bunch of guys. We have lost so many classmates from the 1958 class, but I'm always shocked when I read of another. Don't know why it always takes me aback...after all we're in the twilight years. However, in my head we will be forever young. God bless you Caroline and family. Billie (Crace) Ratcliff.

Steve Earney

October 9, 2020

Caroline, I just learned today, October 9th, from Tom Burch that Larry has died when he called me. Larry was a good friend to me and many others who will miss him. I enjoyed hunting with him & visiting at the Rogers Gym. Laura & I are sorry for your loss.
Steve & Laura Earney

Bill Wright

October 9, 2020

Larry and I grew up in the same neighborhood and went to school together at Park Hill Elementry, NLRHS, and two years at Arkansas Tech. I remember he had a small alligator as a "pet" and we kids would collect June bugs to feed it. He used to come over to my house and we played football and baseball in our side yard with all the neighborhood boys. I lost track of Larry as we all went our separate ways as adults. I am glad and pleased to know he left a big imprint on his students, neighborhood, community, and the many friends he had during his life. Good Job Well Done Larry!


October 8, 2020

Caroline, I was shocked when Ken called about Larry's passing. I remember all the good times we had at turpentine apartments at Arkansas Tech. Larry loved to take care of David for us and you all were the best neighbors. We had many great memories and he was a great mentor for me. You are in my prayers.

Mary Ann Evans Schnipper

October 8, 2020

I knew Larry Gershner at Park Hill School; our friendship continued thru high school. He was such a fun and dedicated guy. I extend my sympathies to Caroline and your family. You all are in my thoughts and prayers. MAS

Bob Harriell Jr

October 8, 2020

PART 3 of 3
Now, you are going to think this last part could not happen --- but, it did.

In 60+ years, I’ve never told anyone my “Larry Gershner Stories”. On Monday, October 5th, my 49 year old son and I were together. I started telling the stories --- playing in the neighborhood, the devastating tackles in football, the long home runs, the unbelievable hunting shots, the long strings of fish, catching two red lobsters in a mud pond. And, of course, telling of Larry’s character.

And then, today, I picked up the Democrat-Gazette and saw the obituary. How can that timing have happened? Only one answer. Larry’s spirit was with me Monday.

Not knowing Larry as an adult was my great misfortune. May he rest in peace and may your family find comfort in knowing he was so very special. I loved him.

Bob Harriell
Fayetteville, Arkansas

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