Reuben L. Harper

Published 12:29 am Saturday, February 26, 2011

Reuben L. “Buzz” Harper, 74, died Feb. 17, 2011, at St. Dominic’s Hospital in Jackson, after a brief battle with cancer.

Buzz was a native of Newport, Ark. Buzz was a 1955 graduate of Newport High School, serving as drum major of the Greyhound Band. He attended the University Of Arkansas and was a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity. Buzz taught school in Grubbs and Tuckerman, Ark. and worked at Hurley Gin.

Buzz entered politics at an early age. He served one term as Jackson County clerk and two terms as county judge. He was the youngest county judge in the history of the state of Arkansas. At the end of his second term, Buzz left politics and embarked upon the career that would take him through the rest of his life, that of antique dealer and interior designer.

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He and his wife, Bobbie opened Harper Antiques in Newport and after several years moved the business to Natchez. Buzz lived in Natchez on and off for the next 40 years. He owned several historic Natchez homes over the years, including Wigwam, The Burn, Glenburnie, Glen Auburn, The Arrighi House, the Prentiss Club and Ravennaside. Buzz also lived in New Orleans, Savannah, Ga., Charleston, S.C. and New York City at various times. His work as an interior designer was well known. His work was featured in articles in Architectural Digest, Southern Living, Veranda and the New Orleans Times Picayune. It was also shown on HGTV, CNN and A&E. Buzz was known for his elegant attire. Buzz was chosen the New Orleans Times Picayune/Junior League Best Dressed Man of 2000. Buzz was a daily communicant at the St. Mary Basilica in Natchez.

Buzz was preceded in death by his parents, Reuben l. Harper, Sr. and his mother, Julia Williams Harper.

He is survived by his sister, Betty Jane Stone of Jackson; a son, Arrolyn L. Harper of Natchez; and long time friend, Leslie Wisinger of New Orleans. He is also survived by four nephews, Richard Stone, Jr. ( Patty) of Vicksburg, Dr. Reuben H. Stone, Sr. (June) of Jackson, Dr. William Stone, Sr. (Lisa) of Brandon and Buzz Stone (Cherry) of Brentwood, Tenn.; great-nephews, Richard Stone III, Dixon Stone, Reuben Stone, Jr., William Stone, Jr. Isaac Stone and Jack Stone; great-nieces, Julia Morgan Stone and Sarah Elizabeth Stone; his former wife, Bobbie Hurley Harper of Palm Springs, Calif.; a stepdaughter, Robin Terry of Blytheville, Ark.; and Dr. David Sibley ( Holley) of Mountain Brook, Ala.

A memorial service will be Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 at 6 p.m. at St. Mary Basilica in Natchez. It will be immediately followed by a celebration of Buzz’s remarkable life at the Prentiss Club.

Memorials may be made to St. Mary Basilica Family Life Center, 107 South Union Street, Natchez, MS 39120.