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Tuesday, June 27, 2023
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Wednesday, June 28, 2023
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Wednesday, June 28, 2023
Starts at 3:15pm (Central time)
Paul Eugene Bynum, Sr. passed away June 22, 2023 in Siloam Springs. Paul was born March 3, 1937 in Locust Grove, Oklahoma to the Rev. and Mrs. S. R. Bynum. He grew up and attended grade school and high school in Locust Grove, graduating in May 1955.
Paul and Helen Warder (High School Sweethearts) were married on August 12, 1955. They celebrated 67 years of marriage in August 2022. They have two sons. Paul Jr. born in 1956, deceased in 2011. Their second son, Randy Bynum, born in 1959, is a partner in the Little Rock law firm of Wright Lindsey Jennings. Paul and Helen have three 3 grandchildren – Olivia, Brooks and Barrett, children of Randy.
Paul started his retail career early on. His family owned a general store in Locust Grove, Oklahoma, founded in 1926. At the age of eight, and in the 3rd grade, he started working in the store after school, Saturdays and in the summer, stocking shelves, carrying out groceries and whatever else that they made him do. The store was kind of like an early day Walmart – groceries, dry goods, hardware, furniture and appliances, feed-seed, fertilizer, horse shoes, harness and saddle blankets and other stuff too numerous to mention. He always liked the furniture part. He was in charge of delivery early on.
While in High School, the local funeral home and ambulance service was located across the street from the family’s general store. He started helping out there part-time when needed. He liked the excitement of the emergency ambulance service and was driving an emergency ambulance at the age of 17. In 1959, he enrolled in Mortuary Science College in Dallas, Texas, graduating in 1960. Passing the State and National Boards, he became a licensed embalmer and funeral director, eventually moving to Siloam Springs in 1964. He practiced this profession until 1974, when he decided to go into the furniture, appliance and television business. He was able to borrow enough money to get started – you might say he started on a shoe string and it was raveled! The first store was 6000 square feet and he and Helen ran the store. When Paul, Jr. and Randy got home from school in the evenings and sometimes late at night, they would do the delivering.
Active in politics, he served two terms on the City Council in Siloam Springs. Paul served 10 years as a Justice of the Peace on the Benton County Quorum Court. As a Justice of the Peace, he officiated at over 200 wedding ceremonies. He would not charge for his services. He would tell them when they needed furniture to come see him.
Paul and Helen have been members of the First Baptist Church for over sixty years.
Paul was a member of the Key Masonic Lodge in Siloam Springs, a 32nd Degree Mason in the Indian Consistory at McAlester, Oklahoma and a member of the Order of the Eastern Star in Locust Grove, Oklahoma.
As a part-time hobby in the 70s and 80s, Paul loved to ride his Honda Goldwing motorcycle taking several trips to Nashville, Yellowstone Park, the Bad Lands, the Grand Canyon and other places.
Paul always like a challenge and tried different things. Some of the different hats he wore are: Real Estate Broker, Auctioneer, Justice of the Peace and Embalmer and Funeral Director. Paul was also a Deputy Coroner in Benton County for two years. Paul is proud of his Indian Heritage and was a member of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. He voted in all the Cherokee Elections.
Paul opened his first store in 1974 with 6,000 square feet and immediately outgrew it. He built a new store in 1976 with 15,000 square feet, adding on in 1978 to enlarge it to 25,000 square feet. In 1990 he bought out his competition in Siloam Springs and moved into a 54,000 square feet location.
Paul built the first Bassett Furniture Store in Arkansas in 1996 in Springdale. In 1999 he opened a La-Z-Boy Gallery Store next to the Bassett store in Springdale.
Paul also opened the first Ashley Home Store in Arkansas in a small building across the street from his Bassett and La-Z-Boy stores in Springdale. In 2004, he converted the Bassett and La-Z-Boy Stores into a 45,000 square foot Ashley Home Store. Selling the Ashley Franchise in 2010, he reopened Bynum Home Furnishings in Siloam Springs in a 28,000 square foot store he operated until his retirement in 2019. Paul was inducted into the Arkansas Furniture Hall of Fame in 2013.
Paul is survived by his wife Helen, son Randy, grandchildren Olivia Bynum Haley (Ben), Brooks Bynum, Barrett Bynum, and great-grandson Cruz Haley.
Visitation for Paul will be Tuesday, June 27, 2023 from 5 to 7 pm and his services will be on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 at 2 pm. Both will be at Backstrom-Pyeatte Funeral Home in Siloam Springs. The arrangements were entrusted to Backstrom-Pyeatte Funeral Home of Siloam Springs, AR. Please visit www.backstrom-pyeatte .com to sign online guestbook.