Longtime cornerstone of New Boston dies

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By Heather Wilson

Long-time New Boston business owner, civic leader, and philanthropist Hiram Douglas Shute died Thursday, October 11, 2018 at at Texarkana assisted living facility.  Mr. Shute was 90.

Hiram Shute was born March 18, 1928 in Dierks, Arkansas.  He and his wife Inez were married for fifty years before her death in 2000, and had two sons, David and the late Lee Shute.  Mr. Shute, or “Granddaddy” to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, was a loving father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.  He was a United States Army veteran where he ranked as Sergeant, and a United States Air Force Veteran, where he ranked as Captain.  He was also a member of the Texarkana area Military Affairs Committee.

Mr. Shute was the owner and operator of Piggly Wiggly grocery in New Boston for fifty-one years.  A devoted businessman, he put in long hours, often seven days a week.  Customers could expect to be greeted personally by Mr. Shute each time they entered the doors, and called by name.  Kavin Nield was just 16 years old when Mr. Shute hired him at Piggly Wiggly, and worked there for 17 years.  “I knew Hiram very well,” said Nield.  “He was demanding, but very, very fair.  He was the first one there in the mornings, and the last one to leave.  And if he liked you, he was sure to call you ‘sugar.’”

Kelly Hopkins also began working for Mr. Shute at a young age.  “He was a strict boss,” said Hopkins.  “But the work ethic he taught me at a young age is something I still carry with me.”
Shute was also instrumental in any and all things concerning the city of New Boston.  He was a charter member of the Special Industrial Development Committee, working tirelessly to secure the Telford Prison location, bringing hundreds of jobs to the New Boston area.  He was also a charter member of the New Boston Chamber of Commerce, and honorary member of the New Boston Volunteer Fire Department, a former director of the First National Bank of New Boston and of Century Bank in Texarkana.  It was on these boards, and various other civic committees, that Mr. Shute served with long-time friend Ronnie Looney.  “Hiram Shute was one of the greatest supporters that the city of New Boston ever had,” said Mr. Looney.  “He gave of his time and his money to better the city of New Boston.  He had a big heart to help the poor, underprivileged people, those going through hard times, and anyone needing a helping hand.  He gave many groceries to those in need.  He wanted the city of New Boston to prosper, and it did prosper greatly because of his help and his love for the city.”

Mayor Johnny Branson echoed these sentiments.  “New Boston lost a friend this morning,” said Mayor Branson on the day of Mr. Shute’s death.  “He was a man you always wanted on your side, and worked tirelessly for the city.  He was as good of a man as you will ever find - one of the best New Boston has ever had.”
Memorials may be made to the Hiram and Inez Shute Scholarship Fund at the First Baptist Church New Boston.  This scholarship fund was created upon Mrs. Shutes’ death in 2000, and has assisted many graduating seniors in New Boston to continue their education.

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