Arthur “Heavy”, “Sage Point” (tribal name) T. Speaks Jr. of East Providence, RI passed away at Rhode Island Hospital on Friday, January 22, 2021. Born on November 24, 1954, he was the son of the late Arthur Sr. and Nena (Sailor) Speaks, and the grandson of the late William Sailor and Gladys Edna (Davis) Sailor and Sylvester and Mary (Logan) Speaks.
He was a graduate of Hope High School and received his Bachelor’s degree from Rhode Island College – Class of 1976. Before his retirement in 2016, he was employed by the City of Providence as an Economic Development Loan Officer. Prior to that, he was a Vice-President Bank Manager at Hospital Trust Bank (now Santander). Arthur was also an entrepreneur, starting his own business, Atlas Financial. He worked with youth as a basketball referee for John Hope as well as the Youth Christian Ministry Basketball Association.
Arthur was an extremely caring and generous person who would give you “the shirt off his back” if it meant saving someone. Anyone who knew Arthur could attest to his love for his beautiful wife, Irmadene Jones-Speaks marrying her December 24, 2006. He never stopped “dating” her: buying her gifts (especially teddy bears), encouraging her, trips to concerts in Connecticut, taking her for rides just to enjoy her company, and always making sure she felt loved and appreciated.
He was fun to be around and enjoyed spending time with family and friends, listening to music, reading, watching sports programs (especially the New England Patriots and the Providence Friars’ basketball team) and going fishing.
Arthur was a well-known advocate who sought ways to improve the lives of others. He is remembered for his work as a Narragansett Indian Council Board Member. His acts of compassion were felt throughout the community in his annual fundraising and food distribution programs and his relentless efforts to find jobs for people re-entering the workforce after being incarcerated. He had a close relationship with the Herb Chambers Automobile Dealership and recommended many customers to that establishment.
Arthur was a committed, dedicated Christian who lived his life in service to God. He was a faithful member of the Allen A.M.E. Church where he was an active member of the Prayer Team and the Sons of Allen Men’s Ministry. He loved his family and was extremely proud of the many accomplishments of his nieces and nephews. He read the Bible daily, attended family prayer calls and was quick to send spiritual text messages and songs to many; even in his last moments of life, he was making phone calls and sending encouraging text messages to family and friends.
Arthur is survived by his loving wife, Irmadene Jones-Speaks; two sons: Brian Mathew Speaks (wife Jennifer) of Providence, RI and Kevin Isiah Jones-Speaks of East Providence, RI. He is also survived by a cousin, Kevin Sebastian, who referred to him as Dad since the passing of Kevin’s biological parents. Arthur loved him like a son.
He is also survived by his beloved sisters: Karen Speaks of East Providence, RI and Donna Speaks of Marlborough, MA and a brother Lawrence Speaks (wife Joyce) of Providence, RI, one aunt, as well as a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers and sisters-in law, Godchildren, and long-time friends.
Arthur will surely be missed, as he soars with the angels. He will forever remain in our hearts.
His funeral will be held on Monday, February 1, 2021 at 11:00AM in the Ebenezer Baptist Church, 475 Cranston Street, Providence. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers contributions to Parkinson’s Foundation, 200 SE 1st. Street, Suite 800, Miami, FL 33131