HOPE – Dr. Bobby Hart, superintendent of Hope Public Schools, is pleased to announce that the McLarty family of Hope and Little Rock, led by brothers Mack and Bud McLarty, is creating a Hope High School scholarship fund in memory of their dear and lifelong friend and HHS alumnus Steve Marlar. The scholarship will award $1,000 annually to a Hope High School Bobcat who has excelled academically and athletically.
“I can’t think of a more appropriate recipient than Hope High School, given that Steve was a 1956 graduate and star Bobcat football player,” Mack McLarty said in a letter to the HPS on behalf of his family. “It makes us very proud to honor both Steve and our alma mater in this way.”
Mack McLarty recognized the close relationship between Marlar and his family as extending to his own boyhood in Hope. “I first met Steve when I was 11 years-old when he became my Little League coach for Midwest Dairy,” he said. “We had a great team, or at least that’s how I like to remember it. Our friendship grew over the next six decades and both deepened and never wavered.”
Added Bud McLarty, “The man I thought of as “Uncle Steve” was 20 years older than me, and someone I looked up to as a role model. His love of sports came through in the values he embodied as a person: working hard, being there for others, and simply having fun. Steve was a valued, loyal, and caring friend to our parents Helen and Frank as well. He gave so much back to our community and its citizens as well as visitors to our fair city. He was special in many ways.”
Marlar lettered in football for the Bobcats three years and went on to play as a fullback and star placekicker for the championship-winning Texarkana College Bulldogs prior to employment with the McLarty-owned Hope Auto Co. (celebrating its centennial this year), as well as Arkla Gas. He was an avid follower of the former Southwest Conference football program, as well as a collector of sports photography of Hempstead County schools. Marlar was a photo collaborator with local historian and HHS journalism teacher Mary Nell Turner in producing historical calendars for the former First National Bank of Hope, and he was considered a local history expert.
Marlar passed away Jan. 24, 2021, and graveside services were conducted on Jan. 31, 2021, in Blevins, under the direction of Herndon-Fuqua Funeral Home in Hope.
The McLarty family has called Hempstead County home for five generations.
Hope Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hart announces the creation of the Steve Marlar Memorial Scholarship by the McLarty Family of Hope and Little Rock during the Hope-Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting on Monday night. -- Ken McLemore/Hope Public Schools