Hasselle McCain remembered

By the Evening Times News Staff news@theeveningtimes.com

A longtime fixture in the West Memphis community passed away recently. James Hasselle McCain, 75, of West Memphis died Sunday, Feb. 28, at Methodist University Hospital. McCain was a member of the First United Methodist Church of West Memphis, Board of Directors at Arkansas State University, and owner of McCain Distributing. Dr. Scott Ferguson, a longtime friend, offered a little insight into what it was like to now him. “They broke the mold with Hasselle,” said Ferguson. “One of the hardest working people I’ve known. I admired him. He did what he did and the way he took care of his family; I’m talking about his mother, his daddy, his brothers and his children, he did everything he could for them. They were the most important things in his life and I always had very great respect of him for that.” Ferguson described McCain as having a “gruff exterior” but a “teddy bear on the inside.” The oldest of five brothers, McCain grew up in severe poverty in Earle. All the brother lived in one room with one light bulb with a chain on it. As the oldest brother, he determined what time everybody went to bed because he was in charge of the chain. Hassle always had a sense of responsibility and worked to try to make sure that they had better opportunities and chances of succeeding. McCain had a number of enterprises, including an egg delivery route, a box business and a truck service before making a living with McCain Distributing. He bought the distributorship for $3,500, with Miller beer as the primary product “Miller wasn’t too popular in the early ‘70s,” recalled Ferguson. “So it wasn’t a lot of money. But three months after he bought the business, Monday Night Football started and Miller came out with Miller Lite. The sales just took off.” The business became very successful with that move. “You could count on him to be there for his family and his friends,” said Ferguson. “I learned a lot from him. Good common sense, down to earth person. I miss him.” Visitation for McCain will be today from noon to 1 p.m., at Roller-Citizens Funeral Home, in West Memphis, with graveside services at 1:30 p.m., at Crittenden Memorial Park in Marion.

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