By George Dunklin
Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” William “Allen” Homra II was born on Nov. 16, 1963 in Union City, Tennessee, and he died on Jan. 3, 2021 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
Allen was a man on a mission in life, and he lived life to the fullest in his short 57 years. He was raised in the small Kentucky town of Fulton, just north of the Tennessee border. He was raised in a loving Christian home by two amazing parents, Joan and Bill Homra, and had two older sisters, Dee and Lisa, that loved him dearly till the day he died.
The fact that he was raised in this environment must have had a major impact on the rest of his life. His father owned a sporting goods store, and he trained Allen to become a master salesman and to understand the value of “curb appeal,” as he would say. He learned the values that can only be learned in a small town; church, sports, hunting, family friends and faith were all important values that Allen held dear.
Our paths crossed in 1990 when my wife, Livia, and I were looking for a church home. We just started our lives together, married in 1987, and had our first child in 1989 and didn’t know many people in Stuttgart, Arkansas. We were invited to attend the First United Methodist Church in Stuttgart, and we met Allen and his beautiful wife, Stacey, afterwards at lunch. I will never forget looking at my wife during lunch and saying, “I think that guy called me this week about buying some bonds; I hope I was nice to him on the phone.”
Back then, it wasn’t uncommon to get several cold calls from out-of-state people trying to sell you something. Well, the good news is that Allen did say I was polite to him, even though I didn’t buy any bonds from him that day. In fact, to this day, while I have never bought a bond, I can honestly say that Sunday was the start of a business relationship and a very deep friendship, one that lasted until the day he died. We shared so many things, such as the same birthday, beautiful and loving wives that became the very best of friends, children that loved each other as family not just friends, duck hunting, the Razorbacks, political interest and much more.
We were like brothers from different mothers. Our offices were next to each other, and we rode to Rotary on Tuesdays and tried to have lunch on Thursdays.
Allen was a man on a mission when he moved to Stuttgart in 1988. He had graduated from Ole Miss and started his career with Edward Jones. In 1988, the Stuttgart Edward Jones office needed a new investment adviser, and for whatever reason, Allen Homra accepted. He didn’t know a person in Stuttgart, and the office had been struggling to stay afloat. Allen grew that office into one of the most successful branches that Edward Jones has in the country. There are now three Edward Jones offices in Stuttgart due to the persistent efforts of Allen Homra. He had the ability to find and then train and inspire great talent.
This was not unnoticed by the head office in St. Louis, and it wasn’t long before he was a limited partner with Edward Jones. His success for his clients would be recognized by Barron’s magazine as on their top 1,200 financial advisors, and for the last four years he was number one in Arkansas. Word of mouth of his success for his clients began to spread, and he picked up clients all over the country.
Allen and Stacey had a son in February 1993, and Trey was born with a birth defect that required weekly trips to Easter Seals in Little Rock. On one of the trips to Little Rock, Stacey had an accident on a very icy road. That inspired Allen to ask why they had to make that 110-mile round trip to get the care that their son needed. Allen took on the mission to make sure no other families in Stuttgart and the surrounding area had to make those long trips. Under his direction, $450,000 was raised and matched with a grant. In 2003, Easter Seals opened its only clinic outside of Little Rock. To date, hundreds of families have benefited because of Allen’s tireless efforts. All this was after their loving son, Trey, died in 2000.
Tragedy would once again find the Homra family. In 2013, Stacey was diagnosed with a lethal form of brain cancer, glioblastoma. She passed on Sept. 23, 2017, and her illness and death left a hole in Allen’s heart. It was a terrible loss for our community, as Stacey was an amazing mother to her two children, Trey and Madison, and a wonderful friend to so many in Stuttgart. My wife, Livia, considered Stacey to be her closest friend, and Allen was mine. And we just couldn’t believe that she was taken from us.
Their daughter, Madison, who was a freshman at University of Arkansas in Fayetteville at the time of her mother’s death, has all the wonderful qualities of her mother, and now her father has been taken away in her senior year of college due to this insidious disease called COVID-19. Life doesn’t seem fair, but Madison will find the strength because of the qualities that she inherited and learned from her parents.
Allen Homra might not be with us today in the world, but his heart, soul and spirit will live on in his daughter and friends. He might not have ever realized what that second most important day was, but we do.
George Dunklin Jr. of Stuttgart is a rice farmer, conservationist, owner of Five Oaks Duck Lodge and a past president of Ducks Unlimited.