Arkansas Business Looks Back: Notable Deaths of 2010

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010 12:00 am  

Jim Hanna, 76, founder of Hanna Oil & Gas, died July 19. Hanna, a longtime resident of Fort Smith, began the family business in the early 1960s by buying and selling oil and gas leases. He began drilling wells a decade later.

Mike Gauldin, 55, who served as press secretary to Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, died July 22. Gauldin had been an editorial cartoonist for the Arkansas Times and a public affairs officer for the U.S. Geological Survey.


Armistead Freeman, 81, a former owner of the Pine Bluff Commercial newspaper, died Aug. 5 as a part of a murder-suicide involving his wife, Gail. The Freeman family owned the Pine Bluff Commercial for four generations before selling it in 1986 to what was then Donrey Media (now Stephens Media).

Eddie Christian, 48, an attorney from Fort Smith, died Aug. 9. Christian became known in Arkansas for representing John David Terry of Montgomery County, who sued University of Arkansas officials for failing to investigate an infamous e-mail critical of former Razorbacks quarterback Mitch Mustain.

A. Lynn Lowe, 74, of Texarkana, a former chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas, died Aug. 14. Lowe was chairman from 1974-80. Lowe also acted as Republican National Committeeman from 1980-88.


Jefferson Thomas, 68, who was among the nine black students to desegregate Little Rock's Central High School in 1957, died on Sept. 5. Thomas and the other students known as the Little Rock Nine, received the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999.

John Ingram Purtle, 87, a retired associate justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court, died Sept. 14. Purtle served on the state's highest court from 1979 to 1989, and he refused to resign even when charged with a felony of which he was ultimately acquitted.


Sam Laser, 90, a Little Rock attorney, died on Oct. 20. In 1952, Laser founded the Laser Law Firm, where he practiced until 2008. In 2004, Laser received the Outstanding Lawyer Award given by the Arkansas Bar Association.

Keith Crass, 51, an accountant, was the Republican candidate for the District 24 seat of the Arkansas House of Representatives when he died Oct. 27. He won the election, held five days after his death.



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