Bobby Hulse, the longtime Norfork High School principal, has passed away, the school announced Wednesday morning via social media Hulse had been hospitalized since early December with COVID-19.
The dean of Twin Lakes Area education circles, Hulse spent 55 years as an educator, including 41 as Norfork’s high school principal. He graduated from the Henderson Teachers College (now Henderson State University) in Arkadelphia and spent his first 14 years in education teaching, coaching and serving as a principal at the Hermitage school district in south Arkansas.
Hulse came to Norfork in 1980 after a friend and a member of the school board convinced him to interview for a job opening as school principal. For more than four decades, his title never changed.
Hulse also coached Norfork’s athletic teams, and the school’s basketball arena — Bobby D. Hulse Gymnasium — bears his name. A gifted athlete, he was an all-state basketball for White Hall School in the 1960s
“It is with a very heavy heart that I let you know that the heart and soul of the Norfork Panthers has passed away,” the school district’s social media post reads. “He took his last breath this morning with his wife and children at his side. Prayers and thoughts go out to the family and friends. Bobby D. Hulse touched thousands of lives and will be greatly missed.”
The school district will have counselors available on campus Wednesday to talk to students, the district said. It also asked everyone attending the basketball games against Izard County scheduled for Wednesday night to wear blue in Hulse’s memory.