Roland Rowe Remmel, “Rollie”, was born September 26, 1917, one of six children. Raised by his widowed mother, he did not come to hunting until a bit later than most. But when he did, he found a love of the camaraderie and the time in nature that would last him to the end of his days.
He attended Washington and Lee and Virginia Military Institute, before graduating from the University of Arkansas. After serving as contract officer and captain in the U.S. Army Air Corps, he founded Southland Building Products and served as the National Plywood Association’s president in 1950, later inducted into their Hall of Fame.
Enthusiastically dedicated to his community, he actively supported First United Methodist Church of Little Rock, the Boy Scouts, the Boys and Girls Clubs, Rotary, Easter Seals, Catholic High School for Boys, the Salvation Army, Arkansas Nature Conservancy, the Aerospace Education Center and its Episphere, the Herb Society of America, and many other worthy causes.
Rollie is probably best known, though, for his untiring and unending promotion of Ducks Unlimited, under the nickname of “Papa Duck”. Rollie’s efforts earned him friendships across North America as well as the Bert McKee Award, Heritage membership, and marshes in Alberta, Canada and Arkansas named for him. A wonderful tribute to his efforts is showcased in the Witt Stephens Nature Center.
Rollie gave his bipartisan eponymous walking sticks, called “Rollie sticks”, to help friends “stay vertical” while in the wild. As the sticks became treasured, they were often given to celebrate good deeds or auctioned off to raise funds for various primarily conservation-minded causes. His close friends Pete and Pat Hardy gathered and carved many of those Rollie sticks, and Bill Lusk added their beautiful duck (and other wildlife) heads.
Over the course of his lifetime, Rollie met one of the Wright brothers, Charles Lindbergh, and Neil Armstrong. He enjoyed all experiences to their fullest, but Jackson Point Hunting Club on the Mississippi River was his idea of heaven on earth. He loved hunting and fishing and sustaining the natural world around him. He was a true conservationist who harvested wildlife but who also worked to assure that more wildlife would remain for future generations.
Rollie encouraged everyone he met to value themselves and to rise above whatever challenges they faced. One of his family nicknames, coined by granddaughter Ariana, was “Ra Ra”, which seemed particularly appropriate for this cheerleader par excellence. His Ra Ra attitude was responsible for bringing many people across North America, young and old, to the Ducks Unlimited cause.
Join us for the second annual Arkansas Waterfowler Hall of Fame. The second class will be inducted on November 30, 2017. This evening event will share the stories of the impact of their contributions as waterfowl enthusiasts gather to celebrate this time honored tradition.
The creation of this new program is a long overdue effort to preserve the contributions of those individuals who have gone above and beyond through dedicated time, resources and other work to enhance the waterfowl industry in Arkansas.Nominate Today!
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