Former State Rep. Bobby Gene Newman, 86 of Smackover, passed away in his sleep at his home on Sunday, March 3, 2013.

He was the owner and President of Smackover Insurance Agency, Inc., in Smackover, Arkansas for 50 years and continued to work every day until his recent hip replacement surgery on September 18, 2012.

Newman, a Democrat, served in the Arkansas House of Representatives for 30 years from 1969 to 1998.

He was a past chairman of the Arkansas Legislative Council and he served on the House Education, Insurance and Commerce, Rules, and Joint Budget committees. He was chairman of Insurance and Commerce from 1991-1994.

According to his obituary, some of his proudest legislative accomplishments included co-sponsoring the Arkansas Breast Cancer Act, sponsoring legislation creating the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in Smackover, Arkansas, co-sponsoring the legislation creating Southern Arkansas University- El Dorado Branch, now known as SouthArk Community College and Southern Arkansas University Tech in East Camden, Arkansas.

He was also instrumental in creating four-lane highways from Smackover to El Dorado and El Dorado to Junction City. The portion of highway on Highway 7 connecting Smackover and El Dorado was recently dedicated and named in his honor as the Bobby G. Newman Bypass.

Newman was a 1944 graduate of El Dorado High School, a 1950 graduate of Ouachita Baptist University, and received his Masters Degree from the University of Arkansas. He was also a veteran of the United States Navy.

Funeral services will be at Maple Avenue Baptist Church in Smackover, Arkansas at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6, 2013. Burial will follow at Smackover Cemetery under the direction of Young’s Funeral Directors.

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