By jeffrey smith
Leader staff writer
The Cabot Schools’ Hall of Fame inducted five members Tuesday night during the second annual banquet at Cabot Junior High North.
Honored were Dearl Dixon, Robert “Bob” Duke, Rose George, J.O. Isaac and Jack Lowman.
According to the Cabot Pan-ther Education Foundation, “The Cabot Schools’ Hall of Fame was created in 2008 to celebrate the successes of public education by honoring talented graduates of Cabot public schools, as well as local leaders who have provided distinguished service to influence public school excellence.”
Dixon graduated from Cabot High School in 1961.
Dixon was born in Cabot and grew up on a farm in Ward. He played high school football as a half back and as a defensive back. Many long-time Panther football fans may remember Dixon kicking the winning field goal in the fourth quarter 50 years ago during the 1960 Thanksgiving Day game between Cabot and Jacksonville. The final score was 3-0.
“In school he was well liked, down to earth and he would always speak to you, ” Jerry Cole said.
As a senior, Dixon rode the school bus until he was offered a job to drive the bus as a 12th- grader.
“They honestly let me drive a school bus,” Dixon said.
Dixon as a teenager worked odd jobs to help his family. The school would call offering him work. One job was hauling gravel in an old dump truck.
Dixon recalled when he first started in school, he’d miss the school bus. His dad would have to take him to school.
Dixon was a dairy farmer for 35 years. He now raises beef cattle and grows hay. His family was selected in 1971 as the national Farmers Home Administration Family of the Year. He met President Nixon in the Oval Office.
“I’m just honored for this award. I’m glad to live in the community and have the school (system) we have here,” Dixon said about the Cabot Schools’ Hall of Fame.
He served on the Cabot School Board from 1969-1982 and was elected to the Lonoke County Quorum Court in 1994.
He served on many boards and commissions. Dixon was on the Future Farmers of America advisory and scholarship committee for 20 years. Dixon served 14 years on the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission beginning in 1985. He was chairman of the commission in 1991 for a year. Dixon was on the Bank of Cabot board of directors for 18 years from 1988 through 2006.
Duke graduated from Cabot High School in 1951 and attended Little Rock University (University of Arkansas at Little Rock). Duke is a Korean War veteran who served in the Army.
For over 30 years, Duke was the general manager for Dreamline Manufacturing. Although retired, Duke still works twice a week at the bedding company.
Duke had a role in city government. He served 30 years on the city council. In 1976 he was an assistant mayor. Duke served on the Lonoke County Tax Equalization Board.
He has received many honors. In 1976, Duke was selected as Cabot’s man of the year. He was a recipient of the Charlie Templeton Community Leadership Award. The City of Cabot dedicated a fire truck in Duke’s name.
“I thank the Lord to being here this evening, for my health, my family and Dreamline employees,” he said.
Duke said school superintendent Tony Thurman has the school system on the right track.
George’s husband, Charles Sr., was inducted last year. They have been married for 62 years.
She received her master’s degree from Arkansas State Teacher’s College (University of Central Arkansas, Conway). She served as president of the Cabot Education Association.
George taught in Cabot for 21 years. When George asked for her former students to stand, nearly half of the banquet attendees rose to their feet.
She set up the first office class in the high school’s business department.
The class was two hours long. She taught typing, shorthand and the skills to become successful in the workplace. She focused on how to dress for the office, having good manners and how to treat others.
“We practiced interviews. The students did not have trouble finding a job,” she said.
Lonoke County Prosecutor Will Feland, a former student of George, said she came to school every day as if she was on Park Avenue in New York.
“She made each of us feel like leaders,” he said.
George’s first teaching job was at Ward. She was 19 years old at the time.
“Many of the students were the same age I was, but we didn’t have one problem,” George said.
George was also the girls basketball coach. George remembered a time when she, along with students, picked cotton for money to purchase basketball uniforms.
Fellow honoree Lowman re-called George being a basketball coach. She pulled her hair and had fits.
“She was the Bobby Knight of Cabot, Arkansas,” Lowman said.
George said she was proud of the facilities and appreciates the administrators, the teachers and the school board.
“Community support is the reason we have a great school system today,” she said.
Isaac was enlisted in the Navy for 10 years. He then enlisted in the Air Force for 20 years. He had many duties during his career. He was a propeller specialist and a flight engineer. He also was an amphibious aircraft supervisor and instructor. Isaac was also a missile-maintenance supervisor. He moved to Cabot in 1957.
Isaac was the first Air Force JROTC instructor at Cabot High School. He taught JROTC for nine and a half years.
During the devastating tornado of March 1976, Isaac’s quick thinking saved students from peril.
He noticed the funnel cloud approaching. He had the JROTC cadets get the children off the school buses and into the elementary schools for safety.
In 1981, Isaac and his students renovated the Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery. He also helped raise funds for the veterans memorial located next to the high school.
“I don’t know if I deserve it, but (I’m) proud to be accepted,” Isaac said of the Hall of Fame induction.
Isaac was the Lonoke County sheriff for 13 years from 1983 to 1996. He was inducted into the Arkansas Sheriff’s Hall of Fame in 1999.
Lowman graduated from Cabot High School in 1947 with a class of 22.
He played football in 1946, in the first game played after the end of the Second World War. Cabot played against Lonoke. Lowman graduated from Ouachita Baptist University in 1951 with a business/physical-education degree. He played football at OBU for one year.
Mark Lowman said his father can be heard in the stands at Cabot football games yelling, “The ref needs glasses” or “Move those chains.”
Jack Lowman spoke how the school district had changed. He said when he was in school it was small. There were about 200 students who went to the school. Lowman said Cabot was one of the poorest schools in the state at that time.
Lowman served 42 years on the Bank of Cabot board of directors. He served on the first Cabot Planning Commission after the 1976 tornado.
He retired from Lowman and Lowman Hardware in 2000. Three generations of Lowmans ran the business for over 100 years on North First Street. The business was sold nine years ago and renamed Cabot Handy Hardware and Gifts. Jack Lowman still works at the store on Tuesdays.