University of Arkansas professor Hoyt Purvis dies


Hoyt Purvis died on Friday, May 26, after an illness, said his wife Marion Purvis. He was 83.

During his colorful life, Purvis had been kidnapped by Johnny Cash, dangled his feet in the Black Sea with U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd while waiting to meet with Leonid Brezhnev, and watched smoke billowing from the Pentagon on 9-11.

For 34 years, he was a prominent figure on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville — 36 years if you count the two years it took him to clean out his office.

Purvis was a journalism professor who had served as an aide to U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas and an adviser to Sen. Byrd of West Virginia.

"He was just a brilliant, brilliant man," said former UA journalism professor Gerald Jordan. "He read anything in site and just constantly vacuumed up information. We were so fortunate. Imagine the places he could have gone."

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