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Booneville ‘patriarch’ passes away

Flags in Booneville were lowered to half staff Monday at the request of Booneville Mayor Jerry Wilkins and in honor of the passing of city patriarch Jeral L. Hampton

A celebration of life service is set for 2 p.m. today (Wednesday) for Hampton at First Baptist Church of Booneville. Hampton passed away in Fort Smith on Monday at the age of 92.

A tireless ambassador for Booneville and South Logan County, Hampton was president of the Booneville Industrial Corporation as well as the Petit Jean Regional Foundation, two organizations on which the city and area depended heavily upon for economic growth for decades.

Hampton was also a member of the committee that spearheaded the effort to both land and sustain the Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center south of the city.

Hampton was a past president of the Booneville Chamber of Commerce, Booneville Rotary Club, and Soil Conservation Service as well as past board member of the Western Arkansas Planning and Development Corporation, Arkansas Housing Authority, Westark Foundation Board, and Area Agency on Aging.

He was instrumental in recruiting numerous industries and jobs to Booneville, including Rockline Industries, located east of the city, and where a street was recently named in his honor.

Hampton was the Chairman of the Board of Directors of First Western Bancshares, Inc., which has a branch bank at Caulksvile, and was a member of First Baptist Church in Booneville for 71 years. At the church he taught Sunday school for over 50 years, served as a deacon for more than 60 years and was a church trustee.

Hampton also had stints of 16 years on the Booneville School Board and was a member of the Ouachita Board of Trustees for 32 years.

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