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Thomas Paul (Tommy) Hart

Benton, AR, 1948 - 2019

Thomas Paul (Tommy) Hart, 71, of Benton, died Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, after a courageous battle against leukemia. He was preceded in death by his parents, James P. and Inez Hart.
He is survived by his life partner, Barbara Toney Wheeler; two sons, Dane (Cinde) and Cale, both of Little Rock; a sister, Janie Hart Cole, of Benton; two grandchildren, Lauren and Austin Hart; two nieces, Kristi Ward and Deana Simpson; plus many other friends, relatives, and teammates.
Most knew Tommy as a football player extraordinaire, which he was, but he was much more than that. He was kindhearted, loved dogs, classic cars and rock-and-roll music and was a voracious reader. He was always mischievous, but gave himself away with his eyes and that certain grin.
He could remember details of every football game he ever played. An All-Region and All-State selection, as a senior, he led the Benton Panthers to a first-place finish in their classification (3A at the time) and a third-place finish in the final state poll among all schools. A three-year starter at Henderson State College (now University), he was an All-AIC performer and will forever hold the record as being the only AIC athlete to rush for over 1,000 yards and pass for over 1,000 yards in a season. The conference no longer exists. The Reddies finished 8-2 and won the conference title when he was a senior. He also signed with the Dallas Cowboys in 1970 but was unable to play due to a knee injury.
A celebration of life will be held 11 a.m. Friday, September 20, at Ashby Funeral Home in Benton with the Rev. Stan Parris officiating. Visitation will be 10 to 11 a.m. Friday before the service. Online guest book at

Published September 17, 2019

Ashby Funeral Home
108 West Narroway, Benton, AR
Phone: 501-778-2544