My great-uncle Herbert, age 96, bull rider, cowboy, civil servant, fiercely independent and fiercely loving, takes his final ride to the cemetery. In his later years he admitted his wrongheadedness with regard to his politics and behavior in the 1960s, and did what he could to be a better man. I always admired that.
From his obituary:
"In his life he had succeeded in many ventures. Herb’s first job found him at three years old carrying water to cotton pickers and from there he never slowed down. He was a hard worker and tremendous provider for the six children he and his wife Bobbie reared and always had a loving heart and helping hand for any child in need of a meal or a roof.
In his life he was known as “the Colonel”, a name associated with his years of being an auctioneer.He held many jobs and mastered many talents. Herb was a farmer/rancher, truck owner and driver, rescue fireman, member of the Hoxie School board, and Hoxie City Marshall. He was a horse trainer, professional bull rider, wagon master, and one of his most ingrained talents was that of a horse trader. He could and would trade you out of your boots and socks and make you happy you were walking off with bare feet.
Herbert had the opportunity to dine with governors and congressmen whom sought and valued his opinion on controversial political matters. He was a political activist long before taking a stand for what you truly believed in was popular. He at times took an unpopular stand, but always stood for what he believed in. Herb was visited on occasion by the FBI and made national news and history in more than one decade in his life.
In 1976 he had the life changing experience of being the Arkansas Wagon Master/Teamster and driving the Arkansas Wagon in the Bicentennial Wagon Train to Pennsylvania. (1700+ miles) This honor was one of the highlights of his life.
The Colonel was a hero in the eyes of many. If he saw a need in anyone, he was the first one there and the last to leave, even at times risking his life to help someone. He had a magical way with children. There was never a child he didn’t love or one that didn’t gravitate to his huge personality.”