By Stewart Noland, Tim Ernst, and Carolyn Shearman
Hubert Ferguson by Stewart Noland: Hubert Ferguson, born in 1925, grew up in DeWitt, Arkansas. After serving in World War II, Hubert returned home and attended UCA in Conway. Hubert and his wife Mary Virginia had three children Francie, John, and Bill. Hubert worked with Conway Printing Company, where many Ozark Society books, guides, and maps were printed. As long-time members and supporters of the Ozark Society and its mission, Hubert and Mary Virginia (MV) shared a love for the Buffalo River country. That shared appreciation led them to spend their honeymoon float fishing on the Buffalo River. In the early 1970’s, they followed their passion to Boxley Valley, and settled into their historic home. Even after Mary Virginia (MV) passed, Hubert remained there until his death February 4, 2023.
The Ferguson family supported the Ozark Society throughout life. MV and son John were on the Ozark Society’s Jubilee Bus to Washington D.C. in October 1971, to testify before Congress in favor of the Buffalo National River enabling act. Hubert and MV’s preservation efforts created a positive impact in the watershed, including Hubert’s involvement in developing the Boxley Valley Historic District management plan. Ozark Society hiking and boating outings drew Hubert’s presence and wisdom to the group. As a member of the Greatest Generation, Hubert was a generous contributor to our state in myriad ways.
One of the most fortunate events in my life occurred in April 1974, when I met Hubert and MV on Big Piney Creek on an Ozark Society float trip. Our meeting resulted in our families becoming close life-long friends. Hubert and MV grew to be much like a second set of parents to me; a development for which I am forever grateful. I, like many Ozark Society members, loved them immensely.
Hubert’s passing leaves a void with all who knew him and valued his friendship, and there are many of us. Treasured memories of Hubert will remain with us until we are no longer here. It is difficult to say good bye to loved ones, but I will say this: See you downriver Hubert, I know you will be there waiting for us.
Terry Keefe by Tim Ernst from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette: We lost a mountain of a man. Terry was known for and will be so fondly remembered because of the pace and the depth that he embraced life – especially the outdoor life – and for enriching the lives of so many people (and other critters) he encountered along the way. My last connection with Terry was just last Friday, when he so kindly spent nearly an hour on the phone trying to locate a new waterfall find of his on a topo map – I was using the latest digital version, and he was using his much-more-refined and accurate memory to recall minute details of the trek to the waterfall he’d discovered many moons ago. Terry is the grandfather of the sport of waterfall hunting in Arkansas (just one of MANY things he was great at – really tough to keep up with him!). One of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state was named after him more than 20 years ago – TERRY KEEFE FALLS.
He no doubt visited many thousands of waterfalls in Arkansas and around the globe, and I hope that you will give a nod to the heavens in his honor the next time you are splashed by one. Rest In Peace my friend – you deserve it! And THANKS for all that you did for the world.
Jay French Hill by Carolyn Shearman from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette: Jay Hill was a Little Rock community leader, a LIFE member of the Ozark Society, and a committed community volunteer. He was devoted to his Catholic faith serving as a lecturer and lay minister at Christ the King parish, a long-time troop committeeman of Troop 27 of the Boy Scouts of America at Our Lady of Holy Souls Catholic Church, board member and president of Subiaco Academy, and as an advisor to the Catholic diocese for its money management needs. He was a second-generation member of the Rotary Club of Little Rock (Club 99) and was an active member of the Quapaw Area Council, Boy Scouts of America executive board and various committees. For his devotion to scouting, Hill earned the Order of the Arrow’s highest honor, the Vigil Honor, and he was a recipient of the district award of merit and the Silver Beaver award. At the Gus Blass Scout Reservation, Hill’s contributions are remembered with the Jay F. Hill Order of the Arrow Council Circle & Amphitheater. In retirement, he was the president of the Pulaski County Master Gardeners and enjoyed outdoor recreation with his friends and family at Lakeside Country Club and the Country Club of Little Rock. Jay was affectionately known as “Jaybird”.