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story.lead_photo.caption Maggie Hinson is shown in this file photo. - Photo by John Sykes Jr.

Midtown Billiards owner Maggie Hinson died Tuesday morning.

Hinson, 72, owned the iconic bar in the SoMa area of Little Rock, and friends described her as a smart, funny woman, who loved and advocated for the city.

“She was one of the movers and the shakers about trying to make sure we had entertainment in Little Rock, like late night clubs and stuff like modern cities do,” said Norman Jones, the owner of Discovery Night Club and Hinson’s longtime friend.

The two knew each other for more than 30 years and often talked about improving the city and how important it was to keep their bars open until 5 a.m., allowing people who get off work late a place to go.

“We want to keep it progressive rather than regressive,” Jones said about the city. “We talked about it so much.”

Hinson and Jones often went on vacations to Las Vegas and traveled throughout the country together.

“It was real hard for me to see her getting ill,” Jones said.

Jeff Duncan, the owner of Best Park, was also a longtime friend of Hinson. They were domino partners, and he said she was quite unskilled at the game.

“And I must say she was the worst domino player I ever partnered up with,” Duncan said, laughing.

Hinson was married for 28 years to her husband Jim Hinson, until he died on Christmas Day 2013, she said in a 2018 High Profile article with the Democrat-Gazette.

Duncan and Hinson were both from the Stuttgart area, but Hinson dropped out of high school at 16 and went traveling during the ‘60s.

She ended up in San Francisco, where her neighbors included Janis Joplin and Joe Cocker. Hinson later saw them play at Woodstock, she told the newspaper last year.

Hinson’s experiences made a savvy business woman and a loving friend.

“You just have to get a stiff upper lip and go about your business. I know that’s what she’d want me to do,” Jones said of his friend.

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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