In 1990, an article in the Pine Bluff Commercial referred to George H. Dunklin as “dean of the cottonseed industry.” It’s an apt title for someone who unselfishly committed his life to the success and development of that industry. Dunklin, who died May 5, 2007, at 89, was president of Planters Cotton Oil Mill in Pine Bluff for 43 years before he retired in 2005. Planters Cotton Oil Mill, a manufacturer of cottonseed products, was founded in the late 1890s and has been in operation ever since. Dunklin’s family, who had previously owned the Ft. Smith Cotton Oil Co., purchased Planters in 1935 and owned the mill until 1972, when Cook Industries of Memphis bought it. In 1977, the company was organized as a cooperative, which today owns 54 cotton gins in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Missouri. In 1991, under Dunklin’s leadership, the company began construction on a modern crushing facility. It was the first new cotton mill to be constructed in the United States in more than 50 years. The plant began crushing operations in the fall of 1993 and was rated the most cost-efficient plant in the United States by a USDA Cooperative Cottonseed Crushing Facility Survey. Today, the mill processes more than 500,000 tons of cottonseed a year. The city of Pine Bluff declared Aug. 24, 2005, “George Dunklin, Sr. Day” in recognition of his lifelong contributions to the cottonseed industry. Before that, in 1990, The Pine Bluff and West Pine Bluff Rotary clubs awarded Dunklin the Harvey McGeorge Award for his commitment to Arkansas agriculture and the community. Dunklin’s record of professional and civic service is immense. He was on the Cotton Advisory Committee to the U.S. secretary of agriculture, president of the National Cottonseed Products Association, a member of the National Cotton Council board, president of Mississippi Valley Oilseed Association, president of Pine Bluff Chamber of Commerce. He also was president of the Pine Bluff Rotary Club, a member of the Simmons First National Bank board, chairman of the board of the Bank of West Memphis, a member of the Memphis Baptist Memorial Hospital board, the Jefferson Regional Medical Center board and the board of trustees for Ouachita Baptist University. Born in Fort Smith, Dunklin was a graduate of Staunton Military Academy in Staunton, Va., and the University of Virginia. In addition, Dunklin served four years in the U.S. Navy during World War II and retired as a lieutenant commander.