Community leader Sandefur, 81, dies
For Ben G. Sandefur, being optimistic seemed to almost to be natural part of who he was him, according to two friends and employees who knew him for decades.
“Ben was by far the most optimistic person I know,”said Steve Oden, who was one of Sandefur’s neighbors, friends, along with being his attorney, for more then 50 years. “Ben never seemed to have a bad day. He was always happy and he loved the community.”
The long-time local banker and real estate developer died Friday morning peacefully in his sleep following a 10-year illness. He was 81.
During his life here, Sandefur served as United Way chairman, president of the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce, Texarkana College Board of Trustees president, Texarkana College Foundation Board member, charter president for the Volunteer Services Bureau of Texarkana, Leadership Texarkana board member, Saint Michael’s Hospital Foundation board member and Co-Chair for the Capital Campaign for the Bunch-Woodview Alzheimer’s Center.
Sandefur also served as the first nonlawyer appointed to the State Bar Grievance Committee for this region. He also served on other boards and committees, local and statewide, too numerous to count. He was a deacon for Trinity Presbyterian Church and later a member of First Presbyterian Church, Texarkana, Ark.
Both Sandefur and his wife Nancy were greatly honored by the community as the winners of the C.E. Palmer Award in 1988.
“Ben was my boss at First National Bank and State Bank,” said Dennis Landreaux. “In my previous job, I had made loans, but Ben hired me without any real banking experience and he was a great boss, a great leader and a great friend and he was also a very avid duck hunter. Ben was a fun guy, a smart guy and the way I think I will always remember Ben in my mind, will be in this image of him leaning up against a tree, waiting for the sun to come up and for the ducks to come out and fly over. I was proud to know him and I was very fortunate to get to know him on a personal basis. He was also a very great community leader and this town will miss him so very much.”