Rector Community Benefiting from Melvin Crockett Estate
An extremely generous bequest from the estate of the late John Melvin Crockett will have far-reaching positive effects for several Rector institutions.
Crockett, who lived his entire life in the Rector area, died last Dec. 25. He was a retired Rector businessman and also was involved in agriculture for much of his life.
Crockett's estate is bequeathing approximately $2.8 million to charitable entities in the community. Several of the gifts are in memory of Crockett's parents, Floyd and Thelma Crockett.
A significant portion of the estate will be used to provide scholarships to graduates of Rector High School.
Rector attorney Joe Calvin, who handled the probate, said the great bulk of the estate has been administered, but there could be additional funds available after final legal steps are taken.
Sherland Hamilton and Dennis Robertson served as co-personal representatives of the estate.
Melvin Crockett's Life
Crockett's grandfather, John L. Crockett, brought the first registered cattle (Aberdeen-Angus) into Clay County in 1915.
Melvin and his dad decided to get into the cattle business in 1954, also with Aberdeen-Angus, which they showed at various fairs. In 1960 they won Grand Champion Bull at the Arkansas Livestock Exposition and at the Delta Fair and Livestock Show. They also won Reserve Grand Champion Bull at the Louisiana State Fair. Crockett was offered $10,000 for the bull.
Melvin had more than 100 head of cattle at his hill farm in the Crockett community north of Rector. Ted Glaub, Joe Burns and Reuben Seay helped him show cattle. Crockett was at one time a director in the Arkansas Angus Association.
Crockett had land other than in the Crockett area, located south of Holly Island Gin on the Hi-Line Road. Reuben Seay farmed that land for 22 years. Until Crockett's death, Wade Harris farmed the land in the Crockett community and Scott Kirklin farmed the land out east near the St. Francis River.
Calvin said the farmland was sold very successfully by Piggott auctioneer Gary Magee.
Crockett was ordained as a deacon at the First Baptist Church of Rector in 1975 and remained in that service role until his death. He attended state and national Baptist conventions with Bro. Ardell Polk and regularly attended Sunday lunch at the parsonage with the Polks.
"Melvin cared after his aunts Pauline Crockett and Ina Jernigan," a family spokesman said. "He would visit them regularly and would call them every night to make sure they were alright and in for the night.
"Melvin loved to play pool in his younger days," the spokesman added. "In later years he played dominos with some of his church friends on Friday nights and he loved being a part of that group."
He was inducted into the U.S. Army in December 1948.
He and his dad owned Crockett TV and Appliance in Rector. They sold RCA, Sylvania and Zenith televisions and Whirlpool appliances. For awhile they operated out of the back of Dalton Hardware, now Mosley's NAPA store. They later moved to the west side of Main Street. Crockett continued the business after his father died.
Crockett spent the last four years of his life at Chateau on the Ridge assisted living in Paragould.