NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Former North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Henry Hays was laid to rest Thursday afternoon. Hays was elected as mayor in 1988 and served until 2013.
Many friends, family and community leaders joined together to honor the man who served the city for 24 years as mayor.
Hays’ service was held at First Pentecostal Church in North Little Rock. All those who gave remarks, including former President Bill Clinton spoke about what Hays meant to them. Everyone in agreeance that his life was filled with nonstop service.
“I owe a lot to Patrick Henry Hays and I am under no illusion that in 5 short minutes I can repay the debt,” Clinton said.
During Clinton’s term as governor of Arkansas, Hays worked in the House of Representatives in 1986.
During remarks, Clinton saluted the support from Hays along with the decades of friendship.
“Like many of you I loved him very much, but however we felt about him, he was still thinking about what was best for us. He left us with many gifts in which we should all be grateful,” Clinton said.
With tears in his eyes, Terry Hartwick, the current mayor of North Little Rock, referred to Hays as the best mayor the city has had.
The list of improvements he brought to the city of North Little Rock is lengthy. One of his most noted campaigning for a county-wide sales tax in 1995 which led to the construction of what is now known as Simmons Bank Arena.
Also under Hays’ leadership, North Little Rock saw tremendous growth, with the construction of Dickey-Stephens Park.
Also, developments to Burns Park, The Big Dam Bridge, Clinton Park Bridge and replacing the Broadway Bridge.
Hays also set up the city’s neighborhood services department to assist neighborhood groups in efforts to revitalize communities around the city. North Little Rock now has more than 20 neighborhood organizations.
Decades of service, that’s put best by Hays’ lifelong friend, high school classmate and college roommate who worked on every campaign of Hays’, Paul Bailey.
“He was grounded in attending to the needs of others,” Bailey said. “I am thankful he was in my life and I will miss him.”
Hays passed away at the age of 76 after a battle with cancer.