Ferd M. Bellingrath, Jr., 82, died Friday, Nov. 19, 2010 at Trinity Village Medical Center. He was born May 24, 1928 in Pine Bluff to the late Ferdinand McMillan Sr. and Catherine Oudin Bellingrath. He grew up at the family home at 7520 Dollarway Road. He graduated from Pine Bluff High School, attended The Citadel in Charleston, S.C. for two years and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas in 1950, where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, served as editor of the University’s business magazine, The Guild Ticker, and was a member of the Blue Key honorary leadership fraternity. He returned to Pine Bluff after his graduation from college to join the family business, the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Southeast Arkansas. On Oct. 28, 1950, he married Frances Howell Martin, also of Pine Bluff. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, stationed at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Md., and was honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant. Throughout his life, Mr. Bellingrath had a deep sense of stewardship. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church, where he served as Chairman of the Board of Deacons and as Chairman of the Committee on General Administration. He chaired the Every Member Canvass, taught youth Sunday School, and was an active leader in the life of his church. At age 39, he was ordained as an Elder. Other of his Christian endeavors included serving as a trustee of Lyon College for 24 years, where he additionally served as Vice Chair, chair of the Investment Committee and the Business and Finance Committee. He served three terms as president of Trinity Village, Inc. in Pine Bluff. He served on the board of the Vera Lloyd Presbyterian Home for children in Monticello. In the late 80s and early 90s, he served as a director of the Bruised Reed Foundation, a foundation with the primary goal of building a cancer center at Presbyterian Medical Center in Chonju, Korea. A career Coca-Cola bottler who came up through the ranks, Bellingrath ultimately became Chairman of the Board of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of South Arkansas. In 1985, the Company was named Outstanding Large Business in Pine Bluff at Pine Bluff’s All Civic Night. At the time the company was sold in 1986, it had the highest market-share of any Coca-Cola Bottling Company in the United States. Bellingrath had previously served as a member of the first President’s Advisory Council of Coca-Cola USA. He had also served as president of the Arkansas Soft-Drink Association and the Arkansas Coca-Cola Council. He served for 13 years on the Board of Governors of the Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Association, a national association of more than 500 Coca-Cola bottling companies, and served two terms as president of the association. Mr. Bellingrath quietly gave to many worthy causes and was known to be effective in encouraging others to give. He chaired an annual fund drive for the American Red Cross of Jefferson County in the 1950s, the 1961 Community Chest fund drive (precursor to the United Way), and the 1976 Jefferson County Cancer Society fund drive. In 1988, he chaired the first Partners in Progress fund-drive for the Pine Bluff Chamber of Commerce, which exceeded its $1,000,000 goal by more than 40%. In the early 1990s, he became the first chairman of the Senior Leadership Council of the United Way of Southeast Arkansas and in 1994 he co-chaired the successful Legacy of Caring campaign for Trinity Village. He served on the steering committee of the multi-year Campaign for Lyon College, which raised more than $90 million. In civic affairs, Bellingrath served as president of Pine Bluff Rotary Club, the Pine Bluff Chamber of Commerce, and the Jefferson County Chapter of the American Red Cross. He was a founding member and president of Fifty for the Future of Pine Bluff. He was a founding director and the second chairman of the Pine Bluff Clean and Beautiful Commission. He was a founding director of Pine Bluff Area Community Foundation, and in 1986 established the Catherine Oudin Bellingrath Beautification Fund there in honor of his mother. He served as a director of the Jefferson County Industrial Foundation for 16 years and as an officer for three years. He also served on the board of Associated Industries of Arkansas. At age 27, Bellingrath was elected to the Board of Directors of National Bank of Commerce of Pine Bluff where he served for 27 years. He was a founding investor and director of the Midland Corporation, which developed residential subdivisions in southwest Pine Bluff, and Jefferson Investors, Inc., which developed the spec buildings in Jefferson Industrial Park. In 1965, he founded Automatic Vending of Arkansas, Inc. as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Southeast Arkansas. He later acquired neighboring bottling rights for Coca-Cola and added Dr. Pepper and 7-Up to his Company’s product line. For several years, he served on the Board of Directors of the Hot Springs Coca-Cola Bottling Company. A believer in life-long learning, Bellingrath attended the Coca-Cola Advanced Management Program at Harvard in 1967, the American Management Association Management Course for Presidents in 1971, and the Stanford Executive Program in 1981. At age 17, he became the youngest licensed pilot in the state of Arkansas. He held all major aircraft piloting certifications, including the Air Transport Rating, the rating held by airline pilots. He was type-rated to fly the Citation I business jet. In addition to using his piloting skills for business and pleasure, he also flew search committees for his church, civic groups, and people facing serious health issues, including famed archer Ben Pearson. Mr. Bellingrath placed great value on the people he knew. He was known for his thoughtfulness and was admired for his humility. He was devoted to his wife, his children and extended family, and his sense of family extended to his co-workers. He took pride in the many long-term employees of his company. Bellingrath loved bird hunting, fishing, and snow-skiing with friends and family. For many years he looked forward to playing in the annual four-ball golf tournament at Pine Bluff Country Club with his close friend, Dr. Peter H’Doubler. He loved the changing of the seasons in Arkansas and held a lifelong love for Colorado. He entertained friends by reciting the poetry of Robert W. Service. He was a member of Lost Island Duck Club and previously had belonged to Drake’s Landing hunting club. He was a member of JRMC Wellness Center and exercised regularly until the last few months of his life. Although he believed in being “a workhorse, not a show horse,” Mr. Bellingrath was honored significantly as his career came to a close. In 1987, he received the Award of Exceptional Accomplishment from the Arkansas Community Development Program of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce. In 1988, he was inducted into the Leadership Pine Bluff Hall of Fame. In 1989, the Pine Bluff Commercial named him one of the ten most influential people in Pine Bluff. Mayor Jerry Taylor declared Oct. 24, 1995 to be “Ferd Bellingrath Day” in Pine Bluff, honoring his fifty years of aircraft piloting. In 2001, his brother’s children established the Ferd M. Bellingrath Endowed Scholarship at Lyon College in his honor. In 2004, the classroom wing of the newly-erected Derby Center for math and science at Lyon College was named in honor Mr. Bellingrath and his wife. Bellingrath was predeceased by his parents and by his brother, Leonard F. Bellingrath. His forebears included the late Walter Duncan Bellingrath, who, with his wife, Bessie, founded Bellingrath Gardens near Mobile, Ala. Mr. Bellingrath was close to his many cousins in Montgomery, Ala. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, “”Sis””, his son, Mac (Gail) Bellingrath of Pine Bluff, and his daughter, Marti Bellingrath, of Nashville, Tenn. He is also survived by his four grandchildren, Frances Atkins of Aspen, Colorado; Hunter Atkins of Augusta, Georgia; and Kate and Duncan Bellingrath of Pine Bluff. He is also survived by an uncle who was more like a brother to him, E. Marc Oudin, Sr. (Carolyn) of Little Rock; two sisters-in-law, Denny R. Bellingrath and Mary Sue Mosenthin; five nephews, Dr. Len F. Bellingrath, Jr., Scott Bellingrath, Dr. Edward Bellingrath, Martin Mosenthin, and Edwin Mosenthin; one niece, Catherine Bellingrath Weiss; and 12 grandnephews and nieces; Marc’s four children, E. Marc Oudin, Jr., Dora Jane Oudin Flesher, Ann Oudin Jarrell, Mary Catherine Oudin Mann, and their spouses and children; a cousin, Elsie Bellingrath Stebbins of Little Rock; and by many descendants of his aunt and uncle, Eugenia Oudin and M. Stanley Cook, Sr. including his cousin, Joe E. Cook of Fairhope, Alabama. Tags: 1950

Posted in:

Posted on:

Link to original obituary: