Region 8 Remembers Win Rockefeller

July 17, 2006 -- Posted at 10:00 a.m. CDT

Walnut Ridge, AR

-- Elected Arkansas Lieutenant Governor in a 1996 special election, Win Rockefeller served in that capacity for more than a decade, but was a public servant long before he took office.

Former State Representative Don House remembers his long time friendship and political relationship with Rockefeller.

"He's always been very involved in such things as the Boy Scouts.  That's been a really important thing in his life.  It's not uncommon when he was a state police commissioner and I was a state police chaplain for him to get into a police car and ride around with the officers.  He wanted to interact with the people and be where the real people were," said House.

Wanting  to expand economic development in Arkansas, Rockefeller worked hard to attract big business and was an ambassador for the state.

"I can't imagine any of those manufacturers from Japan or Korea or where ever, that have been looking at Arkansas and coming to our state without having a Rockefeller contact," said House.

House says Rockefeller knew Arkansas had the potential to become a place for an economic boom and just needed the right outlet to shine. One way was to become a charitable headquarters for the nation.

"We see it with the Rockefeller Foundation, we see it with the Heifer Project, we see it with the Clinton Library because it assists those things.  The Lyons International is making it their headquarters, and on and on," said House.

House says one of his fondest memories of his long time friend was his desire to reach out to everyone, whether he was stopping to discuss parking lot politics, or the open door policy in his office.

"He did't want you to think of him as a multi-millionaire.  He just really wanted very much to be like the state trooper, he wanted to be very much like the school teacher, he wanted to be the common everyday legislator.  He worked very passionately to do that, he never brought up his wealth and he never brought up his money," said House.

The Rockefeller name rings a bell around the world, but it's also a name many believe put Arkansas on the map.

"He wanted to lead Arkansas.  He has a passion for Arkansas.  He has a passion for the people of our state," said House.

A passion for Arkansas that Win Rockefeller was born and bred with---like father, like son.  A devoted father, Rockefeller had a passion for children as well.  Don House says it was that passion for children that inspired Rockefeller's efforts to ensure all children had educational opportunities.

He is survived by his wife, Lisenne, his mother, Barbara, three daughters, five sons, a granddaughter, a step-brother and a step-sister. He is the son of the late Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller.

Funeral services will be announced by his office later.