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  • Writer's pictureGena Seidenschwarz

Great Women of the Grand Prairie #2: Anna B. Stoops

Our community would not be celebrating the "Wings Over the Prairie" festival each without the leadership of Anna B. Stoops. The 1936 Arkansas Rice Carnival guide states in an article called, "History of the Rice Carnival" on page 55, "The idea of holding a Rice Carnival originated in the minds of Ray O. Burks, Mrs. Anna B. Stoops and G. W. Fagan. The idea was to make it as near a Mardi Gras as possible. Previous to the Rice Carnival, Stuttgart had conducted an Annual Fair at the old Fair Grounds, which had one of the fastest race tracks in the state. The original idea was to combine the fair and carnival, but the fair idea was dropped." The event was such a success, that even though the men took over active management for the next year's Carnival, they retained Anna Stoops, as well as one Mrs. Lentz.

The following is taken from Mrs. Stoops' obituary.

Death Ends Her Unusual Career

(photo by Buerkle)

Mrs. Anna B. Stoops

Stuttgart, April 3 - (Special) - A career of more than ordinary interest and one that would be considered remarkable for a woman, was that of Mrs. Anna B. Stoops, who died at her home here Wednesday afternoon, and whose funeral was held Friday afternoon from the Grand Avenue Methodist Church. As a tribute to her character and worth, business houses were closed during the hour of the funeral.

Mrs. Stoops, whose age was 62, not only had been a business of prominence in an age when fewer women by far entered business in its larger phases than is the case now, but she was entrusted with important public positions.

Mrs. Stoops was one of the originators of the Arkansas Rice Carnival, now an annual event here, and was president of the first carnival held in Stuttgart. She was the active manager of the light and water plant here for 12 years.

Prior to that time she had owned and conducted a drug store in Colfax, Illinois Wesleyan universities. She was a graduate from a school of pharmacy and in her young womanhood had graduated from the Illinois Wesleyan University.

While a resident of Stuttgart she was sent by the Arkansas Electrical Association to the National Utilities Congress in Chicago. She been a member of both the city board of Stuttgart and the state board of health and for 18 years was a member on the board of the State Industrial Home for Boys.

Funeral services were conducted by Rev. V C. Clark and the body was taken to Illinois for burial beside that of her husband.

Mrs. Stoops death was due to paralysis. She leaves two sisters, Mrs. Carrie Billhurst of Reno, Nev., and Mrs. Wesley Brittou of Carthage, Mo., and two brothers, Dr. J. W. Burns of Hunter and R. D. Burns of Vermont.

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