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Randy Hughes 1947-2021

By Dale Gathright,Jr./Latimer Funeral Home, 01/3/21 8:31 AM


LITTLE ROCK – A well-known educator, school administrator, businessman, basketball official and speaker passed away New Year’s Day. Randy Hughes, 73, of Maumelle died in central Arkansas, but left his mark in southwest Arkansas.

Hughes was a native of Delight, where he played on 2 of the 3 undefeated state championship basketball teams, and earning basketball All-District and All-State.

After high school, Randy attended college at Harding University and graduated from Henderson State College (now University) in Arkadelphia where he also met Karan Bowline who soon became his wife.  He was also an athlete and leader at college: captain of Reddie Baseball team, president of Men’s Council, statistician for Reddie football team, member of Phi Lambda Chi, named to Who’s Who of American Colleges and twice earned Scholar-Athlete Award.

In 1971, Randy and 2 others established Dox Sporting Goods in Nashville, which became a successful business and expanded to include a clothing store.  His brother, Kenny, bought out the other partners, and they worked side-by-side for years until they sold the business. With an eye to the changing needs of the community, Randy then opened Hughes Printing, another successful business until it burned one Sunday during an historic fire that destroyed almost a whole city block.  Randy was instrumental in establishing other local businesses in Nashville including the Sonic Drive-in and Tastee Freeze.

Randy loved sports and was a basketball official for many years calling junior high and senior high basketball games and tournaments.   Through Dox, he organized the first recreational softball teams and tournaments in Nashville.  Serving as the first Nashville City Park director, he secured land and began the development of what is now Nashville Parks and Recreation.

Randy changed career paths after the store fire and entered the education world as a teacher in Blevins. He earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Ouachita Baptist University and a Specialist Degree from East Texas State University and became an elementary principal (his favorite job) and then superintendent at Blevins and later at his hometown of Delight. During the years in Delight, he was involved in many roles in the community and was named “Citizen of the Year.”  As superintendent, he was one of 25 Arkansans appointed to the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission for Education. Through his 25 years in education, he served as president of Arkansas School Business Officials, president of Arkansas Rural Education Association, and was president-elect of Arkansas Education Administrators Association before retirement.  “In the school districts in which he worked or called ball games or preached, he knew everyone’s name and made each person with whom he came into contact feel valued and important.  Randy touched many lives and was appreciated by pre-schoolers through professional adults as a man who had earned respect for his strength of character and authenticity,” according to a statement in the announcement of his passing.

After retirement, he and Karan moved to Maumelle, and Randy became involved in jail and prison ministry and served as a volunteer prison chaplain at Ouachita Regional Correctional Facility in Malvern and then at Cummins Prison in Grady. “As a servant of Jesus and loving people, he always expanded the lives of those around him.  He made things larger by showing genuine personal interest in individuals, regardless of their situations.  He was a valued member of every community in which he lived or worked, ” the statement said.

The statement added, “Throughout his life, Randy’s heart was always pointed toward the Lord on whom he depended. Randy taught classes and preached at several small congregations in southwest Arkansas spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. He loved church history, and he and Karan journeyed to many places to visit sites that he learned about.   He treasured his time studying the Bible and traveling to various cities to attend Bible Lectureships or hear good preaching or on mission trips. More than anything, he loved that he had studied with and led others to the Lord.  He was a humble and gentle soul who had a true servant heart. Randy Hughes lived a life of significance.” Unquote.

Randy was born March 4, 1947 and died January 1, 2021.  He is preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Kenny, and a brother-in-law, Donald Holmes.  Randy is survived by his wife of 50 years, Karan; two sons, Toby and Hayden (Tarah); a sister, Carolyn Holmes and a brother, Howard (Dottie) Hughes; four grandchildren Hunter, Hannah, Macey, and Lincoln; nieces, Missy Hale, Kim (Richard) McClain, Jana (Jon) Howard, Jamie (Jarrod) Lowery; nephews, Mitch (Cindy) Hughes, Jade Hughes and several great-nieces and nephews and cousins and a host of friends.

Memorials may be made to the Carla Wilmon Scholarship Fund at Harding University or to the American Cancer Society or the charity of your choice.

A memorial service will be planned for this spring. Arrangements are under the direction of Latimer Funeral Home.