Former State Rep. Dick Barclay of Rogers dies at 81

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 606 views 

Longtime Rogers civic leader and former State Rep. Dick Barclay of Rogers died Friday (Jan. 4) in Rogers from health complications due to Alzheimer’s. He was 81.

Barclay served as a Republican in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1976 until 1992. He later served as executive director of Budget, Legislative Affairs and Policy on Gov. Mike Huckabee’s first executive team. Barclay also served as the state’s chief fiscal officer and director of finance and administration.

“Dick Barclay was a pioneer in the building of the modern Republican Party,” Gov Asa Hutchinson said in a statement provided to Talk Business & Politics. “I remember his first race for state representative and his victory paved the way for many to follow. I knew him as a friend, public servant and business leader and he was always a person of high integrity and devoted to Arkansas.

“He will be missed and Susan and I express our condolences to Jan and the entire Barclay family.”

A Kansas native and graduate of Kansas State University, Barclay moved to Rogers in the 1960s, according to his obituary, to begin an accounting career with his brother, Charles “Chuck” Barclay. He developed a successful certified public accounting firm in Rogers before retiring in 1999.

Rogers Mayor Greg Hines, the top elected official in the city since 2011, gave this statement to Talk Business & Politics:

“I knew Dick my whole life. He and Jan were part of a close-knit group of friends that included my grandparents.  He went from one of those adults you always held in high regard, to someone who helped me navigate some of the most complex and challenging times in my public career.  Dick was the most principled and ethical man I’ve ever known.

“Though kind of corny, the image of the Prudential Rock is one of the first things I thought of when reflecting on Dick.  He was as solid as they come, and nothing could sink his commitment to his family, his friends, or his state.  As for his public career, Dick understood that you had to know the rules and procedures better than anyone else to accomplish change, pass a bill, or more importantly defeat bad legislation.

“His legacy as a husband, father, grandfather, friend, and statesman will carry on long past his time on this earth.  On behalf of our family and a grateful community, our love and thoughts are with his family at this most difficult time.

Some of Barclay’s notable achievements, according to his obituary, included:

  • Served on the board of directors of NorthWest Arkansas Community College Foundation. As a member of the Arkansas legislature Barclay helped to secure funding to establish NWACC.
  • Served as the chair of the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber recognized Barclay in 2018 with a special recognition by creating an award in his name (Barclay-Matthews Award).
  • In 2018 the Rotary Club recognized Barclay with the Dick Daniel Distinguished Citizen Award.
  • Served as the president and board member for the Rogers Little Theater.
  • Served as a commissioner for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
  • Served as the chairman for the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce.
  • Served as a member and president of the Northwest Arkansas Council.
  • Served as the chairman of the Benton County Republican Party.

A service through Stockdale-Moody Funeral Services will take place Jan. 11 at Fellowship Bible Church in Rogers at 11 a.m.

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