Former Legislator Cal Ledbetter Dies at 84

Cal Ledbetter Jr., a former state legislator, educator, historian, civic leader and member of a prominent Little Rock family, died Saturday in Little Rock. He was 84.

Ledbetter served in the Arkansas Legislature from 1967-76 as a Democrat and helped lead unsuccessful efforts to revise the Arkansas Constitution.

He joined the faculty at what came to be called the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1960, chaired the political science department from 1961-78 and was named dean of the College of Liberal Arts at UALR in 1978, a position he held 10 years. When he retired from UALR in 1997 he was named Professor Emeritus for Political Science.

Ledbetter wrote extensively about Arkansas history, including the biography "Carpenter From Conway," about Arkansas Gov. George W. Donaghey.

He also served the community as a member of the Board of Trustees of Philander Smith College and the Boards of St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center and the Community Council of Central Arkansas.

Ledbetter was born in Little Rock on April 29, 1929, and attended public school in Little Rock. He attended Princeton University, graduating from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs. He received a law degree from the University of Arkansas Law School. Ledbetter joined the Army as a member of the Judge Advocate General Corps and served in Germany for three years. He went on to earn a doctorate in political science from Northwestern University.

Ledbetter was preceded in death by his wife, well-known political activist Brownie Williams Ledbetter, who died in 2010, and his son Jeffrey Calvin Ledbetter, who died in 1987. He is survived by his son Grainger Ledbetter, his daughter Snow Ledbetter Moen and five grandchildren.

A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. Friday in the Calvin R. Ledbetter Assembly Hall at the Donaghey Center on the UALR campus. Visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday at Ruebel Funeral Home. Memorials may be made in the form of donations to UALR.

His full obituary can be read at the Ruebel website here.