Havis Hester, former coroner of Jefferson County passed on, September 21, 2023



JEFF CO. SHERIFF PUBLIC STATEMENT ON THE PASSING ON LONGTIME CORONER: Jefferson County, Arkansas – September 22, 2023 – Havis Hester, former coroner of Jefferson County passed on Thursday, September 21, 2023.

Havis served as the elected coroner from 1971-1998, preceded by Dr. E. Frank Reed, who served as coroner from 1951-1970. As coroner, Hester was responsible for the handling and identification of death cases and worked hundreds of accident and crime scenes during his 27-year tenure as Jefferson County Coroner.

From an early age, Havis always felt a need to heal the physical pain of others. He aspired to attend medical school someday, but family finances kept Hester’s from doing so. Instead, in 1949 at the age of 16, Havis became an orderly at our Davis Hospital. Over the next 20 years, Havis did what he could to relieve the physical pain of patients. He did this work as a ministry, and with such good humor and professionalism that he earned a promotion.

In 1970, Havis ran unopposed as coroner of Jefferson County. As the longtime Jefferson County Coroner and a public health partner for supporting the well-being of children and adolescents, he devoted countless hours visiting area schools within Jefferson County, embracing the then-growing movement to implement death education programs in elementary and secondary schools.

“Coroner Havis Hester served our community with unwavering dedication and compassion,” Sheriff Woods said. “He took pride in helping families cope with death and understanding the processes that follow in the months after. Coroner Hester’s legacy in Jefferson County is one of exceptional commitment and tireless service. Throughout his 27 years as the Jefferson County Coroner, he consistently went above and beyond the call of duty to better serve the citizens of our county, especially during their times of greatest need. His impact on our community was profound, leaving an indelible mark on the lives of those he touched.”

“Coroner Hester took pride in helping families cope with death and understanding the processes that follow in the months after, which serves as a testament to his character, dedication, and profound commitment to the well-being of our community.”

“He will be remembered for his exceptional qualities as a public servant, his willingness to engage with our community’s young minds and educate them about the often-difficult subject of death showcased his compassion and dedication to the betterment of our county. Through Coroner Havis’ efforts, he helped prepare future generations to cope with the challenges that life presents.”

“Hester’s contributions to Jefferson County will forever be remembered and appreciated. His compassion, dedication, and selfless service will serve as an enduring inspiration to all of us who continue to work to improve the lives of our fellow citizens.”

“On behalf of the entire Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the community we serve, we extend our deepest condolences to Coroner Hester’s family and loved ones during this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with them as we remember the remarkable legacy of a public servant who made a significant difference in the lives of Jefferson County residents.”

“May Coroner Hester rest in eternal peace”.