When their children were growing up they always had a houseful of other kids in addition to their own. Their daughter, Kathy Whiteside-Sims says their home has always been open to "anybody and everybody in our neighborhood."

In these hurry up times it can be hard to find people who really get involved in serving your community, but for over 75 years Cleovis and Arwilda Whiteside have been doing just that. Side by side, and they have instilled those same values in their 12 children and over 80 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

 

Their children who came to the celebration at McDonald’s were Kathy Whitesides-Sims, Eva Marie Pearson, Gerald Andrews, Rev. Selma Moore, Myrtle Curry, Dolly Wallace and son, Pete and John (Margaret) Alexander. Their other children are Willie Whiteside, James Whiteside (Luella), Carolyn Whiteside Walker (Lott deceased) Golden (Levi), Kathy Whiteside-Sims (Daniel), Brenda Whiteside-Jackson (Isaac-deceased), Donnie Whitesides (Charlotte), John Whitesides, Raymond Whitesides and Marian Whitesides-Rivers. The Whitesides have three deceased children, Cleovis Whitesides, Jr. (Wilma), Wilma Faye Whiteside-Gillian's (Arthur Charles), and Sharon Annette Whiteside.

 

When their children were growing up they always had a houseful of other kids in addition to their own. Their daughter, Kathy Whiteside-Sims says their home has always been open to "anybody and everybody in our neighborhood."

"They would invite all of the children in, if it was raining, if it was cold. Momma cooked yeast rolls," says Kathy Whiteside-Sims.

The Whitesides’ recently celebrated an ever bigger milestone, 77 years of marriage.

Arwilda says "that was the main thing in our home. Prayer. The Bible is our lifeline."

The Whitesides' attend Mount Olive Baptist Church.

Approximately 50-60 people were on hand to not only have a meal, but to hear others tell stories of what the Whitesides have done for them and for others. The Whitesides say they aren't the only ones who deserve recognition, they couldn't have done it alone.


After being around their grandchildren and great grandchildren, there is no doubt that this couple has instilled their values in each and everyone of them. So many families today are busy. The parents are busy working, kids are busy with school, dance, sports and plenty more. Many times they are so busy they barely have time to say good morning, much less talk about life lessons. The Whitesides had 12 children and they still had time to instill real values in their children and even to the grandchildren.

 

They didn’t make excuses, they made good examples of their lives that their children emulated and passed onto their own children.

 

95-year-old Cleovis and 92-year-old Arwilda Whiteside have made the lives of residents of Davis Living Center in Pine Bluff better through their volunteering. The couple stay active, serving is a way of life for them, giving back.

 

Arwilda says, "Because one day it will be us. And I felt like we were called."

"Back in the olden days we was taught that way," says Cleovis.

The couple have also been 4-H leaders for more than fifty years, passing on their wisdom to today's young people.

The couple share lessons in "how to cook, how to manage, how to stay at home and how to mind the parents," says Cleovis.

In addition to serving in 4-H and their church for decades, Mr. Whiteside also served his country in World War Two.  

 

This couple has a legacy of love that will carry on, long after they are gone. They truly know the meaning of paying it forward, not only with words, but action and deeds.