Mr. William "Casey" F. Laman
October 20, 1913 - April 16, 2012
Mr. William "Casey" F. Laman
William F. “Casey” Laman of North Little Rock, “the man who built a city,” died April 16, 2012 at the age of 98. He was born October 20, 1913 between Jacksonville and Cabot, AR, to Anna and Jim Laman and moved to North Little Rock when he was 3 years old.
After Casey worked his way through college, he ran Laman Furniture Company until he was 28 when he was drafted into the Army Air Corps, where he served as a radio operator on a B-17. At the conclusion of WWII, he returned to work at the furniture store and served on the North Little Rock School Board for nine years.
At the age of 47 his life took a different direction when he read a sign that said, “NLR: A City Without Bonded Indebtedness.” He realized the sign had two too many words. His city was a “City Without.” He set out to change the face of North Little Rock. He ran for mayor and served as the city’s mayor for 16 ½ years.
Always at his side, Arlene, his beloved wife of 63 years, gave him strength, encouragement, and support in their marriage and his endeavors for a better city. Casey “did not follow where a path led. He went where there was no path and left a trail.” Some of his accomplishments as Mayor include building three high-rises for the elderly, three recreation centers, a Police and “Courts building, NLR’s first hospital, first animal shelter, five fire stations, a new library, an instant parks program for children, a new health building, and a new sanitation building. He created the city’s first sewer and planning commission, led efforts to purchase the Water Department for the city, initiated the city’s Urban Renewal Program, and the Neighborhood Youth Corps. He led efforts to develop Burns Park, which includes a 27 hole golf course, 11 pavilions, 6 lighted tennis courts, a Girl and Boy Scouts’ campout area, a children’s zoo, an amusement center, bike trail, archery range, campsite, 16 baseball fields and soccer fields. He cleared the city of slums, including one of the biggest ones behind the seawall near the Arkansas river, paved many streets, hired the first horticulturist to help beautify the city and its parks, and led several other beautification and clean-up programs.
He was a member of Park Hill Baptist Church and is survived by his loving family, a daughter and son-in-law Christy and Dr. Eugene Simon, and his grandchildren, Chad Simon, Kendall Young (Justin), and Casey Simon (Amy), and his great-grandchildren, Anna and Owen Simon and Jack and Luke Young all of North Little Rock.
The family will receive friends from 5-7 p.m., Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at Roller-Owens Funeral Home Chapel, (501-791-7400), 5509 John F. Kennedy Blvd., North Little Rock, AR 72116. Funeral service will be at 10 a.m., Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at Park Hill Baptist Church with Reverend Luke Flesher. Interment will follow at Roselawn Memorial Park, Little Rock, AR.
The family would like to thank the VA Health Care System for all its compassionate care.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to William F. Laman Library, 2801 Orange St., North Little Rock, AR 72114 or Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes, P.O. Box 552 Little Rock, AR 72203