of Springdale, AR
December 14, 1932 - July 29, 2022
Bobby Gene Hopper of Springdale, Arkansas passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loving family, on July 29, 2022, at the age of 89. He was born in Cotter, Arkansas on December 14, 1932 to William Eatman and Essie Thomas Hopper.Bobby served in the United States Army in Okinawa during the Korean conflict. Following his service, he returned to Arkansas, where he married Lois Oels from Mountain Home, Arkansas. They moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where they had two children, Regina and Robert Hopper.In 1969, Bobby and Lois moved the family to Springdale, Arkansas, where he was one of a few young men chosen by Ford Motor Company to build a local automobile dealership, Bobby Hopper Ford. Thousands of customers, including founders and family members from the region's Fortune 500 companies, came to know Bobby's trademark phrase, "Don't Say Ford. Say Bobby Hopper Ford!,", on billboards and in television commercials. Working with Lois, he built the business and became not only a local business owner but a community, state and national leader.The list of Bobby's service and leadership award accomplishments is long. He was a member of the Springdale Civil Service Commission, the Arkansas and the American Automobile Dealers Associations and the Springdale Rotary Club, where he also served as a board member and was honored as a Paul Harris Fellow. Bobby also served as a board member of the Springdale Chamber of Commerce, which honored him with lifetime membership status.Bobby also had a special interest in giving to the community, funding projects for the Springdale-based Northwest Medical Center and the Springdale Fire Department. He also provided land, to establish a park for the Springdale Police Department, which was later turned into a baseball and soccer park for children's sports.Bobby's work on the state and federal levels resulted in economic and social development for northwest Arkansas, the state and the nation.He was appointed to the Arkansas State Highway Commission, by then Governor Bill Clinton in 1983, to fill an unexpired term. He was reappointed by Governor Clinton to a second term in 1989, for a total of 16 years of service as a commissioner. Bobby also served twice as chairman of the commission, first in 1987-1988 and again in 1997-1998.As someone who loved people, believing in leaving things better than he found them, Bobby's dream was to bring greater and meaningful economic development for the people of the state and for northwest Arkansas specifically. He knew the region could be a global leader if the transportation system could support it. His dream was fulfilled with the opening of what is now I-49 and the dual tunnel, the first of the state, and he was honored when the Highway Commission chose to name it after him.Interstate 49 and its Bobby Hopper Tunnel, became the connection point for unprecedented economic expansion, not only in Northwest Arkansas, but throughout the three-state region. In addition to the tunnel, Bobby's name is on the Sheid-Hopper bypass in Mountain Home and the Bobby Hopper Highway in Cotter. Bobby is survived by his wife, Lois of Springdale; children, Regina Hopper of Alexandria, Virginia and Robert Hopper of Cabot, Arkansas and his sister, Beverly Morton of Mountain Home. A visitation for Bobby will be held between 12-1:00pm CT on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 at Roller Funeral Home in Mountain Home, Arkansas with a celebration of life service to follow. The service will also be live streamed on the Roller Funeral Home Mountain Home website. The family requests no flowers. Memorial tributes for Bobby may be made to either Circle of Life Hospice at www.giftstocircle.org or Honor Flight Network www.honorflight.org/donations.
My sincere condolences to the family. I met Bobby when I served on Gov Clinton’s staff in 1986. I became better acquainted over the years through our political connections. He was top shelf in every respect. I saw him last, in my capacity as Chairman of the Highway Commission, at the Bella Vista I49 ribbon cutting ceremony last September..we had a good visit and he was one happy guy! That’s the way I’ll remember him.
Lois, Regina and Robert, please accept my most sincere condolences for your loss. Your husband and father was one of the finest persons I have ever known. He was always gracious, courteous, respectful and energizing to everyone he met. Shortly after I took the Chamber job in Fayetteville he came to see me. He wanted to share his vision for NWA and our state. He shared his thoughts through the lens of his life and business experiences which he had a hand in shaping and making a reality. He so believed we could always do better, be better, and all had a responsibility to be a part of that process. We spent a significant amount of time together that day. I was so energized then and still am. The blessing of his life cannot be measured.I also want to thank you for streaming his service. I am in Phoenix on business and was therefore not able to attend in person to show my respect. Having been there via streaming I got to show my respect for Bobby and each of you. Blessing to you all.
So sorry for the loss. His loss is felt not only in Springdale but by the entire state. Always looked forward in seeing you both coming into the store for your groceries while in Springdale.
Mrs Hopper, Regina and Robert,I am so sorry for your loss. Mr. Hopper was a great man that achieved so many of his life plans and goals. Everything he did, he did to make things so much better. I will always remember all the good times, his jokes, the love he had for his family. He was so proud of his true love he found in his wife, he was so proud of his daughter and son. I can imagine the Mighty Angel Wings he is sporting now and I pray he is Soaring High and will watch over you all. Bobby Hopper may be gone but will Never be Forgotten. May God be with you all during this time of your Loss.
For when the One Great Scorer comesTo mark against your name,He writes - not that you won or lost -But how you played the Game."Alumnus Football”― Grantland RiceAll my prayers to Bobby's family.Dr. James R. Baber
SO SORRY TO HEAR OF YOUR LOSS, AND WILL MISS THE JOKES BOBBY ALWAYS TOLD AT THE MALL.
Regina, This was a Beautiful service. Please accept my heartfelt condolences. You will remain in my thoughts and prayers. Kristin
I’m so sorry about Bobby. I will always remember him, his voice, and the things he said to me with a smile. We will all miss him.
Great friend. Always fun to be with
So sorry for your loss. I enjoyed the brief visits we had as you came to visit your friend and Bobby’s great sense of humor.
Bobby Hopper was my great uncle on my mom’s side (Roberta Oels). I went to stay with him and my great aunt Lois for a week down in Springdale when I was nine years old. I think it was the first time I had been away from my parents for that long. Bobby and Lois were so nice to me. I had such a great time spending a week with them. I have a fond memory of them taking me to the Springdale Chamber of Commerce for a parade where I met Bill and Hillary Clinton. Hillary was holding Chelsea who was a baby at the time. After getting introduced to them uncle Bobby leaned down to me and said “Brian, that man will be president someday”. Well he was right. My great uncle Bobby was quite a character to say the least and he told me many stories of when he was younger that were absolutely hilarious. I still remember those stories to this day and chuckle when I think of them.I stopped by their place in Springdale Christmas day of 2019 to say hello because it had been so many years since I had seen them. I stayed for about an hour. I’m glad I made the point to do that because that was the last time I saw my great uncle Bobby. I send my love and condolences to Lois, Regina, Robert, and all of Bobby’s friends and family.
Our sincere condolences to the entire family …Dan & Cindy DePriest
I am so sorry for your loss, Lois, and I will be praying as you walk through this time. It was so wonderful to talk to you and to remember how strong you are. Love to you!
I have had the pleasure to know Bobby since he moved to Springdale. I was working at the Springdale News and he and his Ford dealership was one of my accounts. I remember having several breakfasts with him and Lois and discussing not only his advertising plans, but also what was going on in Springdale. When I played golf at Springdale Country Club and I got to the 9th tee box if he was home he would always come out and speak to me. Later on I would see him and Lois walking at the Mall and we would stop and talk a little and he always had a joke to tell me. He was a very special friend and I will always remember the friendship we shared, he will be missed.
I grew up with Bobby in AR, later in NM until Bob & Lois Regina & Robert moved back to AR. We maintained contact until he passed away. Bob was a super person and accomplished a great deal during his life. He was "family first" and will be missed by all that knew him. Condolences to his family.
Beverly,We are deeply sorry for the loss of your brother, may precious memories ease your sorrow. Our prayers go out to you and your family. Ed and Julie
We’re so sorry for your families loss. Your father was very accomplished and will live on with tunnels and roads to memorialize him. We’ve got you covered at work so spend all the time you need with your family.
We are blessed to have known Bobby and to watch his accomplishments over the years. Our thoughts and prayers go with each of you at this very difficult time. We have such good memories of the entire Hopper family.
Beverly, So very sorry for the loss of your brother. May he rest in peace.Sincerely,Mike and Dianna Roller
Beverly, so sorry to hear of the passing of your good brother to the next life. May God be with you in your sorrow, but support you in your blessed memories. Love, Helen
Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. May your memories bring you peace and comfort.
So sorry for your loss. One of the nicest and most gentle person I have ever had the pleasure to know. He was such a good man. The first car I ever bought was from Bobby Hopper Ford. A blue 1978 Thunderbird that I cherished and actually drove to Washington, DC when I first moved here. He will be missed and we need more people like him in todays society! God bless all of you.
So sorry to hear of Bobby's passing. He will be greatly missed by many. He was a true friend to the Kemp family.
My condolences to the Hopper family. Working for ArDOT for about 30 years I had the privilege of meeting and working with all of the Arkansas Highway Commissioners. Mr. Hopper was by far my favorite. His upbeat attitude and outgoing attitude was a breath of fresh air. He will be missed.
Heh guys, so sorry to hear about Bobby. He was a very special person and a very unique one, I might add. Always had a smile on his face and many jokes to tell. Always the jokes. Never just one, but many, if you had the time to listen. Believe it or not, that will be missed. He loved his family with a passion, and I know you will miss him so much. He fought a long and hard battle. But his time was up and now he's at peace. I know you are grateful for the many years you had with him.He will always be remembered for all he did and his kindness to others.God Bless You All