Alma Lindsey Gaines of Little Rock passed away peacefully on Wednesday, March 27, 2013, at the age of 87. She was born Nov. 30, 1925, to William Albert and Laura May Cox Lindsey of Bauxite, who preceded her in death.
Alma, the youngest of five children, grew up in the rural Alcoa mining community of Bauxite and graduated from Bauxite High School in 1943.
After graduating, she worked several years in the Saline County Clerk’s Office, where she developed a love of politics. She also worked for Fones Brothers Hardware and Furniture Co. in Little Rock. It was there she met the love of her life and her future husband, Bill Gaines. They were married on Aug. 18, 1956, and four years later were blessed with the birth of their only daughter, Kay.
She was very successful at Fones Brothers, becoming a department supervisor and, in her words, “…one of the top paid girls in the office.” But in January 1964, Alma made a decision that would change not only her life, but the lives of hundreds of women just like her. Just four months before, Mary Kay Cosmetics had been founded in Dallas, Texas, by Mary Kay Ash. After hearing about the company from a niece, she saved up the $25 for her first “product showcase” and then, along with Bill, drove to Dallas on a Friday night and met with Mary Kay at her office the next morning.
Mary Kay took Alma’s name, address and phone number, handed her the product showcase, patted her on the shoulder and said, “God bless you, honey. I know you’ll do well.”
With that, Alma became the 33rd consultant in the history of the company and the first in Arkansas.
Alma thrived with Mary Kay, being named the company’s 36th director, 36th national sales director and a member of both their Millionaires Club and the Mary Kay Foundation Board of Directors. Her hard work earned her one of the coveted pink Cadillacs for the first time in 1973, and she drove one every year after that until her retirement 20 years later.
Her enthusiasm, perseverance and positive attitude helped influence women in the Mary Kay organization across the United States and Canada, including some of today’s most successful consultants and directors.
When she retired in 1993, Alma was joined onstage by her family and Mary Kay herself. There, in front of thousands of Mary Kay associates in the New Orleans Convention Center, a video started playing on the large screens – and when the image of newly elected President Bill Clinton appeared with a personal message of congratulations to Alma on her retirement — the entire hall erupted with shrieks, cheers and thunderous applause.
Alma was not only a leader in her professional life, but also helped lead her loving, extended family throughout her life as she followed Mary Kay’s philosophy of “God First, Family Second, Career Third.” In addition to being a wonderful wife and mother, she was always coordinating holidays, birthdays and reunions for the family. Her excellent cooking skills could create anything from a small, delicious dinner at home to a holiday spread for dozens of family members and friends.
As a host, Alma’s warm and fun-loving personality always made every visitor to her home feel like family. She was also an avid sports fan – and especially fond of both college and professional football and basketball. Alma loved to fish, and her favorite game was video poker on casino trips with Bill and her nieces.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her sister, Pearl Lindsey West; three brothers, Earl Lindsey, Ervin Lindsey and wife Vivian and Marvin Lindsey and wife Martha Sue; a niece, Blanche Forrester and husband Ron; a nephew, Larry Lindsey; and her husband of 54 years, Bill Gaines.
Alma is survived by her daughter and best friend, Kay Gaines Stebbins, and her beloved granddaughters, Laura Lindsey Stebbins and Anna Caroline Stebbins, who will always remember her as their “Audie.”
She is survived by her sister-in-law, Willie Mae Lindsey; several close nieces and nephews, including Sue Truelove and husband Jerry; Mary Beth Crafton and husband Kenneth; Sandra Bermingham and husband Jimmy; Tom Lindsey; and Marvin Lindsey and wife Sonja. She is also survived by many great-nieces and nephews, cousins, her Mary Kay family and countless friends.
Funeral will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, April 1, at the funeral home with the Rev. Dr. Russell Snapp officiating. Graveside service will follow at Forest Hills Cemetery.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday, March 31, at Ruebel Funeral Home in Little Rock. The family requests that memorials be made to Arkansas Hospice, the Mary Kay Foundation or a favorite charity. Arrangements are under the direction of Ruebel Funeral Home,
Online guestbook: www.ruebelfuneralhome.com .
Family comments: The family wishes to thank Peggy Bailey and Arkansas Hospice for the loving care and