A.L. Hutson, a high school and college basketball standout who was instrumental in the formation of the Highland School District from the previous Hardy and Ash Flat districts, died Oct. 22, 2004. He was 81.
Hutson, a former mayor of Hardy who spent most of his life in school administration, was a varsity basketball player for Arkansas State College in the 1940s.
Hutson graduated from Ash Flat High School in 1943 and was an all-state basketball player as a junior and senior. He was a member of the Ash Flat team which was the state runner-up in junior high basketball in 1939.
A veteran of World War II, Hutson served in Europe with an antitank division of the 70th Infantry Division.
After military service, Hutson entered Arkansas State and lettered on Indian teams from 1946 to 49. At 5-11, he was a guard during his college career. He was a member of the A-State team which won the AIC tournament in 1947 and 1949.
He also was a letterman on ASC's track team in 1949.
He graduated from A-State in 1949 and became basketball coach and principal at Hardy High School. He worked in those capacities until becoming superintendent at Hardy -- at the age of 31 -- in 1954.
Hardy and Ash Flat are 12 miles apart and because of his connections to both communities Hutson worked through the years to get the school districts consolidated into one. That occurred in 1965 with the formation of the Highland district, located nearly midway between the two communities.
Hutson served as superintendent at Highland until his retirement in 1986. He then served as mayor of Hardy until 1994.
Hutson received an MSE in educational administration from Arkansas State in 1959. In 1971, he graduated from ASU in the first class to be awarded a specialist in education degree.
He served on the executive committee of the Northeast Arkansas Invitational Basketball Tournament. He was chairman of the tournament three times.
He was a member of Ward Street Church of Christ.
Survivors include the wife, Regina Sheppard Hutson; a daughter and son-in-law -- Jan and Danny Lusk of Ash Flat; and a son and daughter-in-law Lindel and Bunny Hutson of Oklahoma City; three granddaughters -- Margo Lusk of Ash Flat, and Sarah and Stephanie Hutson of Oklahoma City; and a brother and sister-in-law -- Linzel and Joyce Hutson of Newport.
He was preceded in death by his parents Albert L. and Ollie Dillard Hutson; two sisters -- Vernus Hutson Wiles, and Frances Lorene Hutson; and a brother and sister-in-law -- Holman H. and Irene Hutson.
Nephews served as pallbearers: Bill Hutson, Dean Hutson, Mark Hutson, Larry Hutson Wiles, Greg Jackson, Leland Short and Eugene Trotter.
Honorary pallbearers were Ronnie Brogdon, Jim Bowlin, Ray Burton, Martin Carpenter, Robert Clay, Lloyd Clouse, Harris Dark, Bruce Dietsche, Jim Haney, Sam Hill, Thednal Hill, Chuck Holden, Linn Garner, M.A. Graddy, Jack Kimbrell, Bob Koorstad, Maurice Miller, James Nicholson, Elwin "Preacher" Roe, Lanis Sears, Charles Ed Wilson.
The funeral was Oct. 24 at the John A. Cooper Gymnasium at Highland High School. Officiating were Tom O'Neal and Jack Richardson with a eulogy by Johnny Carter.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the American Red Cross and the Paragould Children's Home.