Cliff Cheatwood, retired chairman of Arkansas Mill Supply, and a past president of the Industrial Distribution Association, passed away on Tuesday, June 14. He was 72.
Cheatwood began his career at Arkansas Mill Supply in 1970 at the age of 26 after a successful sales career with Link-Belt Corporation. Initially hired as the manager of power transmissions, he became sales manager in 1976, was elected to the board of directors in 1978, made executive vice president in 1980, and president/CEO in 1985. He also served as chairman of AMSCO Corporation, which he later spun off as a successful engineering, design, fabrication and erection company covering the entire United States. After his retirement from Arkansas Mill, he remained an active Chairman/CEO of AMSCO.
He played a key part in many roles throughout the history of Arkansas Mill Supply. He started the company’s profit sharing program in 1973, which provided a structured retirement for Arkansas Mill’s employees. He also purchased the first computer ever used at Arkansas Mill Supply. In 1985, as the new president, Cheatwood led the expansion of Arkansas Mill into the Little Rock market.
"Cliff Cheatwood was always looking ahead and after proving that he could be successful in two markets, he drove Arkansas Mill to expand into Fort Smith in 1991, Rogers in 1995, and eventually Texarkana in 2005. He was instrumental in the building of the new corporate office in Pine Bluff in 1993. Cliff Cheatwood was the momentum… the engine that drove Arkansas Mill ever forward. This essential engine of Arkansas Mill was made the Chairman of the Board in 2007," according to his obituary.
He served on many different committees and boards through the years, and also pioneered groups such as I.D. One, the industrial buying group that merged with Affiliated Distributors in 2000. He also served as the president of the Industrial Distribution Association from 1996 to 1997.
He retired from Arkansas Mill Supply in January of 2014.
Cheatwood was preceded in death by his parents, Robert Clifton and Ruth Evelyn Hall Cheatwood, and sister, Bobbie Diane Dorman.
Survivors include his wife, Kayla Grimes Cheatwood, whom he married December 18, 1964 in Robinson, Ill.; two sons, Rob Cheatwood and his wife, Stacy, and Cliff Cheatwood and his wife, Shaina, all of Pine Bluff; six grandchildren, Logan, Cody, Kathryn, Cliff, Kayla and Carley Cheatwood, all of Pine Bluff; two step-grandchildren, Jenna and Aly Parks of Pine Bluff; his beloved labrador retriever, Remmy; and black cat, Booger.
Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. Monday, June 20, 2016 at Ralph Robinson & Son Funeral Directors in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
Services will be 2:00 p.m., Tuesday, June 21, 2016 at First Baptist Church in Pine Bluff with Reverend Kenneth Thornton officiating.
Graveside services will be 10 a.m., Thursday, June 23, 2016 at Roselawn Cemetery in Charleston, Illinois, with nephews Jerry Sweeney, Justin Grimes and Scott Simms officiating. Charleston services are being arranged by Adams Funeral Chapel.
Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church 6501 S. Hazel, Pine Bluff, AR 71603, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, and Jefferson County Humane Society, PO Box 2233, Pine Bluff, AR 71613. Charleston, Ill., Memorials may be made to Antioch Separate Baptist Church, Salisbury Church, Local chapters of American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.