Bobby Hopper, a US military veteran of the Korean conflict and owner of the Springdale auto dealership best known for his 16 years on the mighty Arkansas Highway Commission, died on July 29. He was 89 years old.
He is survived by Springdale’s wife Lois; Regina Hooper, child of Robert Hooper of Alexandria, VA, and Cabot; and his sister Beverly Morton of Mountain Home. A memorial service will be held on Wednesday (August 3) at 1 p.m. at the Roller Funeral Home at Mountain Home. The family does not request flowers. Commemorative tributes to Bobby can be paid to either the Circle of Life Hospice or the Honor Flight Network.
“Bobby was a remarkable man – a good man, a good friend, a role model, and one of the finest and most effective highway commissioners ever. I loved him, and my thoughts and prayers are with Lois, Regina, Robert And with all those who will miss him. We need more people like him in public life,” said former President Bill Clinton.
Hopper’s service on commission was recognized by naming a tunnel on Interstate 49 between Fayetteville and Alma the Bobby Hopper Tunnel. They are also named after the Skid-Hopper Bypass at Mountain Home and the Bobby Hopper Highway in Cotter.
“Bobby built a legacy of public service, hard work and perseverance in working towards a vision. While we have lost a great friend, a wonderful man and a devoted servant of the people, he and his legacy will never be forgotten.” Will not be forgotten,” said Arkansas Department of Transportation director Laurie Tudor.
Rodney Slater, a former Arkansas Highway Commissioner and former US Secretary of Transportation under President Clinton, said Hopper was an example of public service.
“During our tenure as highway commissioners, although I represented Eastern Arkansas and Bobby was representing Northwest Arkansas, we were committed to serving an entire state as the best that could be and of all. We always believed that being a member of the commission was a sacred honour. No one has to work to talk to us. It was very important that we travel to the state and find ourselves in the company of those people. To those whom we had the honor to serve. That is public service. I am forever grateful that I had the opportunity to work and serve with him. He was also a friend of mine,” Slater said.
Hopper and his wife moved to Springdale in 1969. He was selected by the Ford Motor Company to form the Bobby Hopper Ford, an automobile dealership. In addition to building the dealership into a larger regional auto dealership, Hopper was a member of the Springdale Civil Service Commission; Arkansas and the American Automobile Dealers Association; and the Springdale Rotary Club, where he also served as a board member and was honored as a Paul Harris Fellow.
Hopper also served as a board member of the Springdale Chamber of Commerce, which granted him lifetime membership status.
“Bobby was also particularly interested in providing community, funding projects for the Northwest Medical Center in Springdale and the Springdale Fire Department. He also provided land for the Springdale Police Department to establish a park, which would later be used as a children’s play area.” Baseball and soccer parks,” noted one of the family.