Nature 12

Robert Dean "Bob" Pugh

February 18, 1929 ~ December 18, 2023 (age 94) 94 Years Old

Robert Dean "Bob" Pugh Obituary

Robert Dean “Bob” Pugh, 94, died peacefully on December 18, 2023, in Little Rock, where he had happily resided for the past 11 years. He was a native of Portland, Arkansas, the son of Robert Dean Pugh and Louise McLeod Pugh Nash, members of pioneer families in Ashley and Bradley counties.

Bob attended the Citadel (1946-1948) and served two years as an Infantry Lieutenant during the Korean Conflict (1950-1952). After he proudly served his country, he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture at the University of Arkansas, where he was a member of the SAE fraternity. Upon graduation, he returned to Portland, “his favorite place in life,” as he called it, to manage and develop his family’s agricultural and banking operations (Portland Gin Co., J.W. Pugh Interests, Portland and Parkway Banks). And he did that outstandingly well.

Community Service and Leadership came naturally to him. He used his abilities and talents to help and serve others. He was supportive of his family and community and made significant contributions, not only to them but to every community or project he was involved with. One project he loved and co-sponsored was the making of the book Beyond Bartholomew: The Portland Area History by R. DeArmond-Huskey. He was proud of his people. He enjoyed interacting with others and was self-disciplined, gracious, calm, polite, persuasive, and respectful. And let us not forget, he had a keen sense of humor.

Bob was particularly dedicated to Education and often quoted Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu: “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” As president of the Portland School Board in the 1960s, he played a fundamental role in the racial integration of the Portland Public Schools. He later served as a member and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas and Chatham Hall School in Virginia.

He was a member of the Portland United Methodist Church, where he was a steward and Sunday school teacher. Over his lifetime, he served as city councilman, president and director of the Agricultural Council of Arkansas; director of National Bank of Commerce Pine Bluff; president of Cotton Council International; chairman of Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation; member of the Ashley County Quorum Court; director of Arkansas Power & Light Company; director of Entergy Corporation; and trustee of Arkansas Nature Conservancy.

Bob was preceded in death by his first wife of 57 years, JoAnn Ederington Pugh, in 2010; his youngest daughter, Martha Ann Pugh, in 2001; and his brother, Rev. Joel Wilson Pugh, in 2021.

He is survived by his second wife, Frances Bellingrath Pugh, his daughters Virginia Pugh Hernandez and Mary Louise Manning and their husbands, Juan Luis and Van Mark; grandchildren, Juan and Ana Hernandez and Van Jess Manning and Mary Catherine Contreras, three great-grandchildren, Ana Gabriela, Oliver Dean, and Benjamin Wilson and his brother John Quincy Nash.

A memorial service for Bob will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 3, 2024 at the Portland United Methodist Church with Rev. Toby Austin officiating. Visitation will immediately follow the service in the Fellowship Hall. Prior to the service, a private burial will be held in the Hamburg Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Portland United Methodist Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 400, Portland, AR 71663, or the educational institution or fund of your choice.

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Memorial Service
January 3, 2024

2:00 PM
Portland United Methodist Church
PO Box 400
Portland, AR 71663


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