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Preston Bynum, 79, passed away peacefully in his sleep on October 31, 2018 at his home in Lakeland, Florida. He is survived by his wife Ann Bailey of 32 years, six daughters Kerry Hyman and husband Michael, Cathy Culpepper and husband Clint Scrivner, Becky Avery and husband Steve, Candy Phillips and husband Rusty Renfrow, Angela Hayes and husband David, Leasa Souza and husband Bruce, two step daughters Holly Bowles and husband Tom, Heather Vaughn and husband Richard, a sister Judy Colwell and husband Roger. Preston has ten grandchildren Samantha, Sarah, Christian, Caroline, Hunter, Grant, Ella, Caleigh Shea, Ellie, and Avery. He also has three great-grandchildren.
Preston was born June 8, 1939 in Pryor, OK to his beloved parents Homer and Roma Bynum. He grew up in Siloam Springs, AR and was a graduate of SSHS class of 1957. Preston was elected class President 3 years and was known for his athletic ability; lettering in 3 sports all 4 years of his high school career.
He worked in the family business, Bynum Motor Company, with his father from 1960-1985. His love of Arkansas and its people led him to a political career. Preston served on the Siloam Springs City Council and on the Board of Directors for the Chamber of Commerce. Preston then went on to serve in the House of Representatives from 1968-1981; where he was one of the youngest members and at one time the only Republican. According to his colleagues, Preston was a key contributor in the building of the Republican Party in Arkansas. There are now over 75 Republican House members.
Bynum left the Legislature to serve as Chief of Staff for Gov. Frank White from 1981-1983. He then began work for Stephens Inc. as an Investment Banker and Government Relations Advisor. Preston was their Chief Lobbyist for 13 years. In 1997, he founded the Phoenix Group where he represented many clients in Government Relations until 2014 when he retired.
Other notable achievements included nine years of service in the National Guard. From 1983-1995, Preston served as Executive Director of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at The University of Arkansas. In 2011, Preston received the Pioneer Award from the Benton County Republican Party. He was a founding member of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, Little Rock, AR. In 2013, Preston received an Honorary Associates degree of Educational Service from the Northwest Arkansas Community College. In addition, John Brown University named the Performing Arts Theatre “The Preston Bynum Theatre” in honor of his dedication and public service.
Preston will be remembered for his unique ability to connect to everyone he came into contact with. He never forgot a name or a face. As a devoted Christian, we have no doubt he is shaking hands in Heaven today.
Visitation is November 7, 2018 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Backstrom Pyeatte Funeral Home of Siloam Springs.
Funeral Service will be held at the First Baptist Church of Siloam Springs at 11:00 am on November 8, 2018. Pastor Colby Fulfer will officiate the service with burial being conducted at the Oak Hill Cemetery under the direction of the Backstrom-Pyeatte Funeral Home of Siloam Springs.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in Preston’s honor to:
Siloam Springs Public School Foundation
C/O Bynum Memorial
P.O. Box 798
Siloam Springs, AR 72761