CHARLESTON (KFSM) – A memorial service for former Arkansas Governor and U.S. Senator Dale Bumpers is scheduled for Monday (Jan. 11) at First United Methodist Church in Charleston, according to Mayor Sherman Hiatt.
The service will begin at 11:00 a.m., after a private inurnment ceremony.
"He was a member of the Methodist church, sang in the choir there... and he's been a lifelong member there as far as I know," Hiatt said.
Hiatt said he knew Bumpers his whole life. Hiatt's father, Joe, knew him too.
“My father had an old saying that you don't really know a person until you've fished or hunted with them. Well, I've hunted with Senator Bumpers and I feel like I know him probably about as well as his wife does,” Joe said.
The two said one of Bumpers’ early achievements was in his hometown.
Following the United States Supreme Court decision on Brown v. Board of Education, Bumpers played a key role in making Charleston the first school district to integrate in a former Confederate state.
“Prior to Central High School in Little Rock, he did recommend to the school board that that needed to be done, and the school board did take his recommendation,” Sherman said.
Joe said the politician’s success went beyond Arkansas.
“He was also well-respected in Washington, D.C.,” Joe said. “I've been in the gallery in the Capitol when he had the floor. All the talking and visiting stopped on the Senate floor when Senator Bumpers took the mic because they respected him.”
Bumpers, a Democrat, served as the 38th Governor of Arkansas from 1971 to 1975 and then served as a U.S. Senator from 1975 until his retirement in 1999.
After he retired from the Senate, Bumpers acted as defense attorney during then-President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial.
The mayor said hundreds are expected to turn out for Bumpers’ memorial service Monday.
A memorial service was held Sunday (Jan. 10) at First United Methodist Church in downtown Little Rock.
Former President Bill Clinton, and former Arkansas Governor and Congressman David Pryor spoke at the service, according to our affiliate THV.
Hundreds of other people were also in attendance to remember the beloved politician.
Bumpers died Jan. 1 at his home in Little Rock, surrounded by family. He was 90 years old.