Obituary Listings

Dr. Harold Thomas Brinson

January 22, 1930 May 18, 2018
Dr. Harold  Thomas  Brinson
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Obituary for Dr. Harold Thomas Brinson

Dr. Harold Thomas Brinson, former president of Southern Arkansas University, died Friday, May 18, 2018.The son of the late Emmitte and Hazel Brinson, he was born on Jan. 22, 1930 in Harper Springs, Howard County, Ark. His family moved to DeQueen, where Brinson graduated in 1947. He joined the Arkansas National Guard and began playing football for Magnolia A&M Junior College (now Southern Arkansas University).
Brinson finished at the two-year school and transferred to Tulane University in New Orleans, La. on a football scholarship where he earned a bachelor of education in health and physical education with a science minor. After graduation in 1951, Brinson was honorably discharged from the Arkansas National Guard to join the U.S. Marine Corps. He was put on active duty, married Nelda Gene Lee in Huttig, Ark. on December 29, 1951 and was sent to Camp LeJeune, NC for officer training.
Brinson served two years active duty in the Marine Corps and was transferred as a second lieutenant to the reserves unit in 1953. He retired as a Lt. Col. from the Marine Reserve in 1976.
Brinson earned a master of education from the University of Texas-Austin in 1953 and began teaching science in Levelland High School, and then Abilene High School. He also coached football and track. He was hired as assistant principal at Abilene High School in 1965.
In 1970, he graduated with a Ph.D. in education administration from UT-Austin, and was hired as assistant superintendent for the Abilene Independent School District. After four years, Brinson stepped into the superintendent’s position.
Dr. Brinson moved to Arkansas in August 1976 to assume presidency of Southern Arkansas University, his alma mater. He served as president for more than 15 years, accomplishing many things for the university. Included in his accomplishments are finishing and funding the new bell tower with a 14-bell chime; building a vocational agricultural building, and improving the sports complexes; designing and building the art building and other curriculum areas.The president’s home, Overstreet Hall, and Bruce Center were also remodeled under his direction.
While president, Brinson guided the name change to Southern Arkansas University (1976); directed reorganization of the university into four schools: business, education, liberal and performing arts, and science and technology (1977); a new curriculum center, economic development center and the Grant research Information Center; A drama scholarship program, the Southern Arkansas University Foundation (1981) and the SAU Student Foundation. Brinson organized improvements at both SAU-Tech (Camden) and SAU-El Dorado during those years.
In 1991, Brinson retired as president and was named president emeritus. He taught classes and continued to raise money for the University. In 1992, the new art building was named after the Brinsons.
Dr. Brinson is survived by his wife of 66 years, Nelda Gene Lee Brinson of Hot Springs Village, Ark.; daughter, Kathryn Ann Brinson Martin of Hot Springs, Ark.; sons, Max Harold Brinson and his wife, Johanna, of Dingmans Ferry, Penn.; Paul Thomas Brinson, and wife, Peggy, of Irving, Texas; grandchildren, Andrew Thomas Martin of New York City, Benjamin Luke Martin of Hot Springs, Lovisa Ljundquist Brinson of Dingmans Ferry, Penn.; and Stephen Paul Brinson of Irving, Texas. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, John Howell Brinson of Paducah, Texas.
Visitation is scheduled Wednesday, 5-7 p.m. at Caruth-Hale in Hot Springs Village. A second visitation is planned at 9 a.m. Thursday morning, at Balboa Baptist Church, followed by the funeral service at 10. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to the Alzheimer's Association of Arkansas or Southern Arkansas University.

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Previous Events





5:00 PM 5/23/2018 5:00:00 PM - 7:00 PM 5/23/2018 7:00:00 PM
Caruth Village Funeral Home

4623 North Highway 7
Hot Springs Village, AR 71909

Caruth Village Funeral Home
4623 North Highway 7 Hot Springs Village 71909 AR
United States

Celebration Service




10:00 AM 5/24/2018 10:00:00 AM
Balboa Baptist Church

415 Ponce de Leon Drive
Hot Springs Village, AR 71909

Visitation at 9 AM

Balboa Baptist Church
415 Ponce de Leon Drive Hot Springs Village 71909 AR
United States

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