Bobby Hopper died on Friday, according to family members.
Hopper, 89, of Springdale, was the longest serving highway commissioner in Arkansas history. He was appointed by Governor Bill Clinton in 1983 and served on the Arkansas Highway Commission until 1999.
“Bobby was a remarkable person – a good man, a great friend, a model citizen and one of the best and most effective highway commissioners of all time,” Clinton said in a statement released Saturday.
During his tenure, Hopper was also the first commissioner to serve two terms as chairman of the commission.
“The impact of Bobby’s work on the highway commission on the economic and social development of northwest Arkansas is still thriving today,” according to a statement from his family. “He focused on his dream that Northwest Arkansas could be a world leader if only the region’s transportation system could support it.
“His dream came true with the opening of Interstate 49. The highway included a double tunnel to allow motorists to easily navigate through the area’s beautiful Boston Mountains. This tunnel was the first road tunnel in The commission honored Bobby by naming the tunnel the “Bobby Hopper Tunnel”.
Hopper was born in Cotter, where a ring road and a bridge bear his name.
Hopper also served on the Springdale Chamber of Commerce. He donated land for a park in the city of Springdale called Bobby Hopper Park.