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Dr. Howard Franklin Flippin

Searcy, AR, 1936 - 2022

Dr. Howard Franklin Flippin of Searcy, Ark., passed away on Tuesday, September 6, 2022, at the age of 85.
Howard was born on December 29, 1936, in Jonesboro, Ark. He graduated from Biggers-Reyno High School in 1954. He attended Harding College, where he met his wife, Mary Ann Bettis. He then attended the Southern College of Optometry (SCO), graduating in 1959. He served on the Southern College of Optometry Board of Trustees as chairman in 2006-07 and received the SCO Lifetime Achievement Award.
Dr. Flippin served in the Army National Guard from November 1959 to February 1960 and was a member of the National Guard Reserves from 1960 to 1965.
Dr. Flippin started his optometric practice in Searcy, Ark., in 1959 and served the community with optometric care for forty-eight years, retiring in August 2007. He was active member of the Arkansas Optometric Association, serving as President, receiving the Distinguished Service Award, the Myron Hofner Award of Excellence and was a two-time recipient of the Optometrist of the Year Award.
He was first appointed to the State Board of Optometry in 1977, by Governor David Pryor, and served as a board member until 2001 when he was named the Executive Director. He served as Executive Director for 20 years until his retirement in 2021.
In his role as Executive Director, Dr. Flippin oversaw the licensure of hundreds of Optometrists. He was responsible for monitoring the competency of Optometrists through required yearly continuing education. He also worked closely with legislators in drafting laws impacting Optometry and assisted the Board in ensuring Optometrists followed the laws in the care of their patients. He understood always that the job of the Board is to serve and protect the people of Arkansas.
In addition to his Executive Director role, Dr. Flippin was also an active board member of ARBO (Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry, Inc.) He was instrumental in the development of COPE (Council on Optometric Practitioner Education) and the OE Tracker platform. Both are now utilized annually by Optometrists across North America in obtaining continuing education hours.
His hobby was airplanes, and he became a pilot, owning several small planes and building a hanger on his property next to the Searcy airport. He turned his hobby into a business by founding Searcy Air Taxi and Searcy Aviation. He also served as President of Flying Optometrists of America.
Dr. Flippin married Mary Ann Bettis on June 7, 1959. They raised a son, Dane and two daughters, Karen and Patricia. They enjoyed vacationing in Branson, Mo., and spending time attending their grandchildren's activities. They were members of the Foothills Church of Christ in Searcy.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Howard and Bertha Flippin; son-in-law Brent Thomas; brother-in-law Ken Johnson and grandson Carter Flippin. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Mary Ann Bettis Flippin; his sister, Mary Flippin Johnson of Brentwood, Tenn.; two daughters, Karen Flippin Thomas of Overland Park, Kans., and Patricia Flippin Cunningham (Aaron) of Searcy; a son, Dane Howard Flippin (Karen) of Jonesboro, Ark.; nieces, Kimberly Careau and Rebecca Smith; grandchildren, Dane Westfall, Ryan Westfall, Lainey Cunningham, Mallory Flippin, Emma Flippin, Zachary Thomas and Kayleigh Thomas.
A visitation will be held Monday, September 12, 2022, from 12-2 p.m., at Powell Funeral Home in Searcy, followed by a funeral service at 2 p.m., and graveside service to follow.
In lieu of flowers, Dr. Flippin's family suggests donations made to the Southern College of Optometry.
Arrangements are entrusted to Powell Funeral Home of Searcy.

Published September 11, 2022

Powell Funeral Home
2602 W Beebe Capps Expressway, Searcy, AR
Phone: 501-268-7220