The 10th Annual Newport Alumni Hall of Fame Banquet will be held on Thursday, Aug. 23 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Newport Country Club.
Hosted by the Newport Special School District Charitable Foundation, the event will honor outstanding Newport graduates with induction into the Alumni Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame was created to recognize and honor Newport alumni who have made exceptional contributions in their chosen field while exhibiting outstanding leadership, character, and service to his/her community.
Tickets for the event are on sale now at the Newport Area Chamber of Commerce, 201 Hazel St. in Newport, and are $25 per person. For more info, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Col. Chester Coltharp, a 1936 Newport High School (NHS) graduate, attended Texas Christian and the University of Texas before joining the Army Air Forces. As an aviation cadet, he trained at Spartan School of Aeronautics in Muskogee, Okla., and graduated from the Air Corps Advanced Flying School at Brooks Field, Tex. in the fall of 1941. With the United States’ involvement in World War II, he was sent to the Pacific Theater of operations.
Coltharp commanded several aviation squadrons, including the 498th “Falcon” Squadron of the 345th Bombardment Group in the Pacific. His squadron was involved in several major events, including the continued bombing of the large Japanese airfield at Rabaul in 1943. His unit earned a Presidential Citation, and Coltharp earned the Distinguished Flying Cross. The 345th participated in eight campaigns: New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago, Northern Solomon’s, Southern Philippines, Luzon, Western Pacific, China, and Japan.
Coltharp played an integral part in a rescue event which, because of his attention, saved the lives of six downed airmen floating in the sea. It occurred at Kavieng, New Ireland, at Paupau, New Guinea, which is northeast of Australia. Under extreme adverse conditions, Coltharp protected another plane which rescued the men. The Kavieng raid occurred on Feb. 15, 1944, and was one of the most successful in the history of the 345th. There was no interception, but anti-aircraft fire downed four planes, three of which made water landings close to the target. Coltharp, then a major, circled the area for two and a half hours, within range of enemy coastal guns and possible interception, to protect 15 American crewmen who were in life rafts. He sent the rest of the planes to their home base, electing to stay in the area, although his gas supply was dangerously low. Because of his efforts, Coltharp was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
Coltharp was promoted to full colonel in the spring of 1945 when he was just 26 years old. He resumed working on his master’s degree at the University of Texas. After the war, he became a test pilot for Boeing Airplane Company. He was just 32 years old when he lost his life near Wichita, Kan. as the result of a collision between two B-47 Stratojet bombers on Sept. 1, 1951. He was survived by his son, his second wife and their unborn son. He was buried in Walnut Grove Cemetery in Newport.
Jerry Carlew graduated from NHS with honors in 1951. After a brief move to St. Louis, Mo., Carlew returned to Newport with his wife, Betty Jean Miller, to purchase the Balch Grocery Store in Balch, which they operated for over 35 years.
Carlew’s first step into public service was a three-year term on the Newport School Board beginning in 1976, during which time he never missed a meeting.
“One of the best things we did was persuade Bill Keedy to come back to Newport and coach the Greyhounds,” remembers Carlew.
Carlew served as Jackson County Judge for 16 years beginning in 1989 and was very active in the County Judge’s Association, serving as secretary/treasurer for 10 years. During his time as county judge, the 100-year-old wiring in the courthouse was replaced, the landfill was saved from being closed and all wooden bridges in the county were replaced or had plans to be replaced. Carlew did everything he could to promote Newport and Jackson County by serving on many boards and associations. He also quietly helped members of the community, often using his own money to help others buy medicine or pay electric bills when no other funds were available.
Upon his retirement, Carlew has remained very active in the community by serving on the board of White River Planning and Development, Health Resources of Arkansas and Jackson County Council on Tourism. He has been a member of the Balch-Johnston Cemetery for over 50 years, serves as an elder at Midway Church of Christ and teaches weekly Bible class at a recovery center once a week. He is currently president of the Newport Kiwanis Club and Keep Newport Beautiful, and he and his wife, Betty, help with commodity distribution for the county. “My goal is to stay active as long as I can and to help people,” said Carlew.
Joseph Anders, NHS class of 1976, has a willingness to work hard that has led to success at every stop in his career, which has spanned more than 30 years. Anders knew early on that he wanted to coach and teach to get involved in the development of young people. Anders began his collegiate career as a basketball team walk-on at Southern Baptist College. With hard work and dedication, he started 22 of 30 games as a freshman and earned a scholarship. As a sophomore, he was named a team captain and earned all-conference honors before transferring to the University of Arkansas at Monticello for his final two collegiate seasons. A two-time all-conference selection, Anders says that he became a dedicated student-athlete while at Arkansas-Monticello.
Anders received his first coaching position as his alma mater, spending one season as a student assistant for his college coach. From there he went on to serve as a Boys and Girls high school coach in Arkansas and Louisiana. After three years, Anders had the opportunity to return to the collegiate ranks and spent one season as an assistant coach with the U of A women’s basketball team. From Arkansas, he joined the men’s basketball staff at Sacramento State, he was promoted to head coach in December of 1986.
In his first full season as head coach, Anders guided the Hornets to one of the best years in the school’s history, posting a 22-6 record, advancing to the 1988 NCAA Division II Tournament and finished the season ranked eighth in the nation. For his efforts, Anders was named Northern California Coach of the Year, was nominated for regional coach of the year honors and Sacramento Kings Collegiate Coach of the Year. He spent six seasons as head coach at Sacramento State and assisted in guiding the program from Division II to Division I. Anders worked Northern Arizona for two seasons, spent two years as assistant at Mississippi State, four seasons at Mexico State, one season at East Carolina, 11 seasons at Arizona State and four seasons at the University of New Mexico.
During the 15 seasons prior to New Mexico Highlands, teams that Anders assisted with or was in charge of participated in postseason play 12 seasons including two Elite Eight performances, five straight NCAA Tournaments, four National Invitational Tournaments and two WBCI Tournaments during that span. Throughout his career, he has been associated with teams that have won 557 games.
“Clearly, I have had the privilege of working with some amazing young people during my career,” stated Anders. Those students include three Honorable Mention All-Americans (26 times), 17 All-Conference honors (26 times), eight All-Conference Defensive recognitions (10 times), eight All-Freshman honors, seven Pac 10/Pac 12 All-Tournament honors (eight times), two Pac 10 All-Defensive Players of the Year, 22 All-Academic honors (49 times) including 22 first and second team selections, one Scholar Athlete of the Year, one Pac 10 Medal of Honor selection, three NCAA All Tournament Selections and six WNBA participants.
Henry Boyce, a sixth-generation Jackson County native, graduated from NHS in 1982. He went on to obtain his B.A. from Westminster College in 1986 and his Law Degree from The U of A Fayetteville School of Law in May of 1989. After passing the Arkansas Bar exam, Boyce returned home to join his father in his Newport law practice in 1990. He enjoyed learning the profession and working beside his father for the next 13 years. In addition to his business pursuits during this time, Boyce served on several local civic boards and commissions in a volunteer capacity including The Heart Association Board, The Newport Civil Service Commission, The Newport Rotary Club, The Jackson County Historical Society and the Walnut Grove Cemetery Association.
Boyce served as Jackson County Public Defender from 1990-1992 and as Newport City Attorney from 2000-2002. In the Spring of 2002, Boyce was elected Prosecuting Attorney of the Third Judicial District, which includes Jackson, Lawrence, Randolph and Sharp counties. He is currently unopposed for his fifth term. During his career as a private attorney and as District Prosecutor, Boyce has served in several professional volunteer capacities including participation as a member of the Arkansas Bar Association Board of Delegates, the State Prosecutors’ legislative committee, the Board of Directors of the State Prosecutors Association and was elected President of the State Prosecutors’ Association in 2009. He has been appointed twice by the Governor to serve on The Child Abuse, Rape and Domestic Violence Commission and The Arkansas Sentencing Commission.
Throughout his life one of Boyce’s greatest passions has been the promotion of live music and the preservation of Jackson County’s rich musical history. He began serving as a volunteer of the Portfest committee and developed the Depot Days Festival in 2000. The festival has been held every year since in the Fall in front of the historical Iron Mountain Depot in Downtown Newport. The event has been recognized by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism for its unique focus of preserving the early history of Rock and Roll which began in Jackson County in 1955 in the nightclubs, jukejoints and roadhouses which lined old Highway 67. Boyce was also instrumental in promoting the effort to convince the state legislature and Governor of Arkansas to officially designate the road as “Rock and Roll Highway 67” in 2009.
In the aftermath of the state recognition, Boyce developed a local museum in downtown Newport, which stands today as an international tourist destination drawing music buffs and historians to Newport to appreciate the role Jackson County played in the evolution of popular music. When Rock and Roll was in its infancy, musicians such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Conway Twitty and Newport High School’s own Sonny Burgess were all regular performers along Highway 67. The influence of those early music pioneers on later artists such as The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen and many more is well documented. Thanks to Boyce’s efforts, the museum is now open five days a week and is free to the public as a treasure trove of music history supported by the Newport Area Chamber of Commerce.