F. Nolan Humphrey (1918–2012)

F. Nolan Humphrey was a longtime Arkansas government employee, serving the state for over four decades, spanning the tenures of ten governors. Working primarily in the Department of Revenue (which was later renamed the Department of Finance and Administration), he also served as state auditor.

F. Nolan Humphrey was born on August 29, 1918, in Horatio (Sevier County) to J. Oscar Humphrey and Esther Carmel Friday Humphrey. He graduated from Little Rock Senior High School, before going on to Little Rock Junior College (now the University of Arkansas at Little Rock) and then the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Humphrey served in the U.S. Army for four years during World War II. His service included a posting as an officer in the Adjutant General’s Department with the Third Army Headquarters at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. He married Ethel Bulloch; they had two daughters.

After being released from the army, Humphrey began to work in the state auditor’s office, which was then headed by his father, who died suddenly in the spring of 1956. Humphrey then served as state auditor for nine months after Governor Orval Faubus appointed him to fill the remainder of his father’s term. His appointment rendered him ineligible to run, and he was succeeded by Jimmie “Red” Jones, who would hold the office for over two decades.

Upon leaving office, Humphrey went to work for Sears, Roebuck & Company in Dallas, Texas, with his wife and daughter staying behind to finish the school year. Before the summer was over, Humphrey was back in state government, assuming a positon as a corporation income tax auditor. Over the years, while serving in what is now the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, he held a number of different posts, including head of the Corporation Income Tax Section, administrator of the Tax Division, and director of the Income Tax Section. He also represented Arkansas at the organizational meeting of the Multistate Tax Commission, an organization in which he remained active. Humphrey was also a member of the National Association of Tax Administrators as well as the Southeastern Association of Tax Administrators. He served as president of the latter organization for one term.

Humphrey retired from state government in August 1980. In recognition of his service, Governor Bill Clinton named Humphrey as tax administrator emeritus.

After retirement, Humphrey established two scholarships at UA: the F. Nolan Humphrey Doctoral Fellowship in the Sam M. Walton College of Business and the F. Nolan Humphrey Honors College Academy Scholarship in Business. While there were no restrictions on who the recipients could be, preference was to be given to accounting students. The university granted Humphrey membership in the Towers of Old Main, the Heritage Club, and the Chancellor’s Society. He was also a member of Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock (Pulaski County).

Humphrey’s wife died in 2003. He died on July 18, 2012, and is buried in Roselawn Memorial Park in Little Rock.

For additional information:
“F. Nolan Humphrey.” Find-a-Grave. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=93931618 (accessed September 15, 2017).

“Obituary of F. Nolan Hampton.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, July 21, 2012, p. 2B.

William H. Pruden III
Ravenscroft School


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