Harlan "Bo" Holleman

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Harlan Harmon "Bo" Holleman​

Chairman of the
Arkansas Republican Party
In office
December 6, 1980​ – March 12, 1982​
Preceded by Lynn Lowe
Succeeded by Bob Cohee

Born January 23, 1927​
Died March 12, 1982 (aged 55) ​
Wynne, Cross County, Arkansas​
Resting place Lewis Cemetery in Hickory Ridge, Arkansas ​
Spouse(s) Emaline Moore Holleman (married 1947-1982, his death)​
Children David Allen Holleman​

Nancy Maretta Holleman​

Alma mater Texas A&M University

Texas Tech University

Occupation Businessman; Farmer
Religion United Methodist

Harlan Harmon Holleman, known as Bo Holleman (January 23, 1927 – March 12, 1982), was a farmer and seed merchant from Wynne in Cross County in eastern Arkansas. He was a pioneer in the development of the Arkansas Republican Party. He was the Arkansas state GOP chairman from December 6, 1980, until his death some sixteen months later. Earlier he was an unsuccessful candidate for the Arkansas House of Representatives (1968) and the United States House of Representatives (1976).​


Holleman was born to farmer Herman Holleman and wife, Moretta, in Hickory Ridge in Cross County. His mother died when he was a boy, and his father thereafter married the former Faye Couch (1905–1991) of Parkin, also in Cross County. In 1943, Holleman graduated at the age of sixteen from Hickory Ridge High School and trained thereafter at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. and Texas Tech University in Lubbock in preparation for entering the United States Army Air Corps, later the Air Force. His military service took him to Okinawa.

After World War II, he studied briefly at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. In 1947, he married the former Emaline Moore, and the couple had two children, David Allen Holleman of Wynne and Nancy Maretta Holleman of San Andreas, California.​


Holleman began farming in 1950, with 320 acres of land and thereafter expanded his holdings to more than 2,500 acres. He grew soybeans, rice, and wheat. In 1955, he launched Holleman Seed Service Company, Inc., in Cross County. During the administration of U.S. President Richard M. Nixon Holleman was the Southeast Regional Director of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service and director of Oilseeds and Special Crops Division in the United States Department of Agriculture.​

When Nixon was first elected President, Holleman lost a bid for the Arkansas House. Eight years later in 1976, when Jimmy Carter unseated President Gerald R. Ford, Jr., and proved particularly strong in Arkansas, Holleman lost in a bid to oust Democratic U.S. Representative William Vollie "Bill" Alexander, Jr., of Osceola in Mississippi County. In the then heavily Democratic First Congressional District, which now, like all four U.S. House districts in Arkansas has a Republican representative, Alexander secured his fifth term by defeating Holleman, 116,217 (68.9 percent) to 52,562 (31.1 percent).[1] Holleman's showing was nearly identical to the 31.3 percent that the Republican pharmacist, Guy M. Newcomb (1928-1985), also of Osceola, had received in 1968, when Alexander won his first race for Congress. As the House minority leader, Ford had come into Arkansas to campaign for Newcomb.[2] Years later, Mrs. Emaline Holleman said that party leaders determined that neither Newcomb nor her husband could have surpassed one-third of the vote considering the solid Democratic tradition of the First District. Alexander was subsequently unseated in the 1992 Democratic primary by his former aide and future U.S. Senator Blanche Lambert Lincoln.

In 1978, Arkansas party leaders encouraged Holleman to oppose Governor David Pryor, who was running strongly for the U.S. Senate, but Holleman declined to seek office again.​

In 1980, Holleman attended the Republican National Convention in Detroit, Michigan, along with delegate Ada Mills of Clarksville, who had been the only delegate in the nation initially committed to former Governor John Bowdon Connally, Jr., of Texas in his bid for the presidential nomination. Others in the delegation were party counsel James Burnett, state chairman Lynn Lowe, and the state's then two Republican U.S. representatives, John Paul Hammerschmidt, and Edwin R. Bethune, Jr.[3]

In February 1981, in a guest column in the former Arkansas Gazette (since Arkansas Democrat Gazette in the capital city of Little Rock), Holleman set forth his vision of worthy goals for the Arkansas GOP. First, he proposed at least one Republican county committee member be stationed at each voting precinct by 1982. Secondly, Holleman, a former Arkansas GOP finance chairman, suggested a stronger financial base, which had deteriorated since the death in 1973 of the party's benefactor, former Governor Winthrop Rockefeller. Thirdly, Holleman said that the GOP should seek to attract more minority voters, who heavily support Democrats. At the time of his death, Holleman was recruiting candidates to oppose Democratic U.S. Representatives Bill Alexander and Beryl Anthony, Jr., a timber businessman from El Dorado in Columbia County in south Arkansas.[4]

Death and legacy

Holleman contracted a rapid form of lung cancer and underwent unsuccessful chemotherapy. On his death, then Governor Frank D. White, a Republican, requested that flags at the state capitol be flown at half-staff in Holleman's memory. "I am deeply grieved by the passing of Harlan "Bo" Holleman, who not only was the chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party, but was an outstanding citizen of our state," White said.[5] In addition to his wife and children, Holleman was survived by his stepmother, Faye Holleman of Wynne; three grandchildren, Nicole T. Sloan, then of Jonesboro, Arkansas, Beaux Jordan Holleman of Paris, Tennessee, and Alan Cade Holleman, a former graduate student in Seoul, South Korea, later affiliated with Government Affairs and Communications at the American Legal and Financial Network, and four sisters.​

Services were held at the First United Methodist Church in Wynne. Interment followed at Lewis Cemetery in Hickory Ridge.[5]​ Holleman was a supporter of the Institute of Politics and Government in Little Rock. The annual Harlan H. Holleman Political Science Scholarship was established in his honor in 1984 and remains active.​


  1. Arkansas Secretary of State, Election Statistics, 1976.
  2. Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, January 11, 2007.
  3. Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, February 23, 1980, p. 572; July 12, 1980, p. 1928.
  4. Arkansas Gazette, February (day missing) 1981​.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "State Chairman of GOP Since 1980 Dies at 55," Arkansas Gazette, March 13, 1982​.​