Longtime congressman, renowned poet among Arkansas deaths

Longtime congressman, renowned poet among Arkansas deaths

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - A longtime U.S. representative who defeated Bill Clinton in the future president's first race for public office and a Little Rock native who taught the Tuskegee Airmen are among notable Arkansans who died during 2015.

Republican Rep. John Paul Hammerschmidt died April 1 at age 92. He was first elected to Congress in 1966 and served 26 years before retiring in 1993. He defeated Clinton in 1974.

Milton Pitts Crenchaw died in November at age 96. He taught the Tuskegee Airmen - the first African-Americans to fly combat airplanes in World War II.

Other deaths include poet Miller Williams, who became the third inaugural poet when he read a poem at Clinton's second inaugural, longtime Riceland Foods president and CEO Richard Bell, and longtime Arkansas Travelers general manager Bill Valentine.

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