Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Five years ago today: Milo Cumpston

Milo James Cumpston
Birth: Aug. 10, 1922
Washington County
Oklahoma, USA
Death: Apr. 9, 2009
Washington County
Arkansas, USA

Milo Cumpston, 86, who served on Iwo Jima, Japan, as a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps and who spent much of the last several years ensuring there will be enough room for veterans to be buried in the Fayetteville National Cemetery, died Thursday morning at his home in Butterfield Trail Village.

He is survived by his wife, Norma, and three sons, John and Jim, both of Fayetteville, and Jeff, of Wesley, as well as five grandchildren.

He was born on Aug. 10, 1922, in Dewey, Okla.

Funeral arrangements are pending with Moore's Funeral Chapel in Fayetteville. He is to be buried in the Fayetteville National Cemetery with full honors.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking people to make a donation to the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corp.

When asked about Cumpston as a father, Jeff Cumpston said, "He was a very attentive father."

The brothers on Thursday were reading some large index cards with instructions from their father on how the three of them were to conduct themselves before a trip with their mother.

"It's some fatherly advice. He wrote it on four large index cards," Jeff Cumpston said.

Some of the advice included to treat their mother like a queen, think ahead, stand when a lady enters, shake hands with a firm grip and "don't be afraid to show your emotions."

"He wanted to make sure that we held ourselves right and did right by our mother," Jeff Cumpston said.

"He always celebrated their wedding anniversary monthly," he said.

"That's the kind of esteem he held for their marriage and in my mom."

The two were married for 54 years.

In addition to serving on Iwo Jima, Cumpston served in Pusan, Korea.

During an interview last year, Cumpston talked about his time in the U.S. Marine Corps and said "once a Marine, always a Marine."

His allegiance to the Marine Corps and veterans was a major part of his life's work.

He was a charter member of the Northwest Arkansas Marine Corps League.

"I think around here the thing he would be most well known for was his work with the national cemetery," Jeff Cumpston said.

He was a charter member of the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corp., which was organized to aid in the expansion of the Fayetteville National Cemetery. The mission of the group is to secure land adjacent to the national cemetery and deed the land to the cemetery to ensure the it can continue to receive veterans for burial.

Cumpston was one of the founders of the organization about 20 years ago. He served as vice president all of that time and was serving in that capacity when he died.

Prior to his military involvement during World War II, Cumpston graduated from Dewey High School.

One of his civilian jobs prior to joining the Marines was as an iron worker. He was a member of that union.

After the war, he eventually got a job with Arabian American Oil Co., going to work in Saudi Arabia, where he met Norma, who was teaching children of American employees there.

He spent 34 years in Saudi Arabia.

The family bought a house on Bois de Arc Lane in Fayetteville and lived there for several years before moving to Butterfield Trail Village.

When he was interviewed about Iwo Jima, he said that the heroes "are the ones we left behind."

"Milo was well-loved here," said Bruce Schaffer, cemetery work leader at the Fayetteville National Cemetery.

Schaffer said there was definitely a somber mood at the cemetery Thursday.

He talked of Cumpston's work with the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corp.

"Of course, his mission was to see us get land and, fortunately, we had just gotten some new property turned over to us right before he passed away," Schaffer said.

"He would have liked to see this whole thing through," he said of the future expansion plans. "He at least knew that that was going to extend the life of the cemetery property north of the cemetery."

Much expansion already had been done, largely due to Cumpston's and the corporation's efforts.

"When I started here in 1989, we were down to 16 grave sites," Schaffer said. "Through their efforts, it doubled the size of the cemetery.

"That was his main focus. You wouldn't believe the time that he gave to ensuring that veterans didn't have to go outside of Fayetteville to be interred."

Schaffer said Cumpston "was like a father figure."

"He had been a Marine on Iwo Jima, and for me, for my family, he's the type of person you look up to."

Schaffer himself is a U.S. Army veteran.

Roger McClain, of Springdale, president of the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corp., said he had known Cumpston for almost 20 years.

McClain said he did not get involved with the corporation until 1990.

"Milo was a dedicated person, and he worked tirelessly for the RNCIC to try to get donations where we could buy land and deed it over to the government," McClain said.

He called Cumpston the "backbone of this organization."

McClain said that when he was elected president of the organization, he and Cumpston had an agreement: Cumpston told him he would do all of the legwork for McClain "because that's what kept him going. He enjoyed that. He got to get out and meet people. I would say he just lived and breathed it, and he will be missed." 
Fayetteville National Cemetery
Washington County
Arkansas, USA

Created by: Iris
Record added: Apr 10, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 35727367

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

RNCIC takes out mortgage on a couple of acres of wetland along the alley between S. Government Ave. and S. Hill Avenue

Veterans Group Adds To Fayetteville National Cemetery

Posted: April 8, 2014 at 5 a.m.
STAFF PHOTO Michael Woods • @NWAMICHAELW The north boundary of the Fayetteville National Cemetery will be expanded after a two-acre land purchase on Monday by the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corp. The purchase will allow more space for military veterans and their families to be buried.
 — Military veterans and their spouses will be buried in the Fayetteville National Cemetery for years to come thanks to the purchase of roughly 2 acres north of the cemetery's boundary.
The nonprofit Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation closed Monday on undeveloped land between Government and Hill avenues.
At A Glance
Regional National Cemetery
The Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corp. will continue to raise money for Monday’s purchase of about 2 acres north of the Fayetteville National Cemetery’s boundary. To donate to the nonprofit organization, go to or call Corporation President Ron Butler at 479-750-2598.
Source: Staff Report
The group, composed mostly of military veterans, raises money to buy land for the national cemetery, 700 Government Ave. The burial site, owned and maintained by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, is one of three national cemeteries in Arkansas. It is the final resting place for more than 7,000 veterans of the Civil War, World War I, World War II and the wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The group borrowed about $125,000 to pay for the $205,000 purchase from Capho Investments of Fayetteville. The rest of the money came from state money allotted by Northwest Arkansas legislators, private donations and proceeds from the group's annual 5K race.
"Without that money, none of this would have been possible," Wesley Stites, a member of the Cemetery Improvement board, said.
The land isn't directly adjacent to the 15-acre cemetery's northern boundary.
"We have captured that northern part that could otherwise have possibly been purchased for commercial or other use," Merle Williams, vice president of the group, said.
Ron Butler, corporation president, said the group didn't want to see more land swallowed up by apartment construction. The 632-bedroom Grove apartments opened east of the National Cemetery in 2012 after developers with a North Carolina company called Campus Crest purchased land where the Washington County Livestock Auction used to be.
"That ruined the natural expansion of the cemetery that most people had expected," Aubrey Shepherd, a member of the group's board, said.
The wooded land the corporation bought Monday will have to be cleared and leveled. Butler said it could be another five years before burials take place.
Shepherd said drainage improvements will have to be made, because the low-lying land captures stormwater runoff from surrounding properties.
About 300 burials take place each year at the National Cemetery. The federal government bought the original 5 acres for the cemetery in 1867 to inter the remains of Union soldiers who died in the battles of Pea Ridge, Prairie Grove and Fayetteville. The Cemetery Improvement group formed in 1984.
NW News on 04/08/2014