Buford Conner

Buford Conner, 91, of Star City, passed away on February 13, 2020 at Gardner Nursing Home in Star City.

He was born on July 4, 1928 to Fred and Freddie Conner at Palmyra.

Mr. Conner was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Joy; two siblings who died shortly after birth; and half-sisters, Rita Smith and Margie Sharp.

He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Thelma Ellington Conner; daughter, Pam Leidermann (Michel); son, Keith (Donna); grandchildren, William Keith and Kristen Anne Conner and a great granddaughter Riley.

Upon high school graduation, Mr. Conner enlisted into the Navy. He served one tour of duty and was store keeper on the USS Macon. He returned to Arkansas to begin his college education on the GI bill. He met his wife Thelma while at Arkansas A&M (University of Arkansas at Monticello). He furthered his studies and received a Master’s in Education from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

Mr. Conner and his wife, Thelma, moved to Tillar in 1951 where they began their family and he taught agriculture and history.

In 1956, Mr. Conner became the Superintendent of Schools at Desha Central Schools in Rohwer where one of two Japanese Relocation Centers in Arkansas was located during World War II. He and his family lived on the grounds of the Relocation Center. In 1965, Mr. Conner was named Superintendent of Schools at McGehee. He held that position until he retired in 1986, and was proud to say his adult life was spent entirely in Desha County.

Mr. Conner was a member of the First Baptist Church in McGehee where he served as deacon, taught Sunday School and held various other lay positions. He also held many state school level positions until his retirement. He was a member of McGehee Rotary, served many years on the McGehee Hospital Board, was a 32nd Degree Mason, American Legion Post member, and a Shriner. Retirement provided him more time to play golf, travel in their motor home, enjoy the Mt. Elba Hunting Club and check on his farms in Tillar.

His legacy of love for his family, patience and high integrity continues to live on without him.

Services will be held on Saturday, February 15 at 1 p.m. at Hickory Grove Baptist Church west of Star City. Burial will be in the family plot under the direction of Brother William Hilburn.

Memorials may be made to the First Baptist Church of McGehee, Hickory Grove Cemetery or Hickory Grove Church or the charity of your choice.