Patricia Pulliam Upton (Patti), 79, was born on May 19, 1938, in Jonesboro, AR. She is the daughter of Mary Hinkle Pulliam and her step father Dr. J. A. Pulliam. She died on May 23, 2017, at her home on Eden Isle in Heber Springs, after a brief illness.
Patti attended Stephens College, previously an all women’s school in Columbia, Missouri, where she received the Christian Dior Award in Fashion Design. From Stephens, she transferred to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. During her time at the University she was a member of Pi Beta Phi Sorority and was Miss University of Arkansas in 1959. While in Fayetteville, she met her future husband, Richard (Dick) Upton.
Upon graduation, Dick entered the military service and Lt. and Mrs. Upton were stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado.
After two years in the military, the Uptons settled in West Memphis, Arkansas. Soon Patti’s days were filled with raising their twin sons, Peyton and Paige. In the next several years, she was a sought after fashion model in Memphis. Dick Upton served as President and General Manager of Southland Racing Corp. during this period.
On weekends, the family loved spending time on Greers Ferry Lake in Heber Springs and eventually built a second home there. During this time, they were distributors for Anheuser-Busch in Eastern Arkansas.
It was during her time spent in Heber Springs that Patti created Aromatique, and the Decorative Fragrance Industry was born. This year Aromatique is celebrating 35 years in the fragrance business and is still going strong. Patti attributed much of her company’s phenomenal success to her employees and was always quick to refer to Aromatique as a “we” company.
Numerous magazines, newspapers and television shows recognized the unique story of Patti Upton and Aromatique. She appeared twice on “Working Woman”, a nationally syndicated television show from Washington, D.C., and “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” did a segment on her and the company, as well as People Magazine. The London Sunday Express and The Washington Post newspapers both traveled to Arkansas to Interview Patti and spread the story of the company. A Christmas issue of Victoria Magazine featured Patti and the Upton’s Arkansas home. In 1999, the book “The Business of Bliss” featured her and the Aromatique story. An article in the November 2002 issue of Southern Living magazine profiled the company and its unique products.
Patti was recognized by her colleagues in the business community with numerous awards. Some of those include: Business & Professional Leader Award, Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow; Top 500 United States Business Women by Working Woman magazine; The Nature Conservancy Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Environment; The Women’s Museum Advisory Board; International Women’s Forum; Society of Entrepreneurs, Memphis, TN; Citizen of the Year, Scottish Rite Masons of Arkansas; Arkansan of the Year, Easter Seal Society; Director’s Choice Award, National Women’s Economic Alliance; Outstanding Arkansas Corporation for Philanthropy; Arkansas Business Woman Owner of the Year; Arkansas Business of the Year; Arkansan of the Year; National Pi Beta Phi Crest Award for Outstanding Alumnae; Arkansas Business Leadership in the 90s – Women to Watch; Arkansas Professional Women of Distinction Award; and Most influential Women, Arkansas Business 2010. In 2016 she was inducted into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame, Walton School of Business, and the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame.
Patti served on the Board of Directors of AT&T for 18 years.
In 2015, Patti and Dick were inducted into the Hall of Honor as Premier Business Leaders in Heber Springs and Cleburne County.
Patti worked as hard on philanthropy as she did on her business. She created “The Natural State” fragrance line in part to benefit the Nature Conservancy and substantial donations have been made to the University of Arkansas for Medical Science Medical Center Auxiliary for purchase of equipment for UAMS.
Many other organizations have benefited through the donations, time and services. Her charitable donations earned Patti the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Little Rock NBC Affiliate KARK-TV and the Office of the Governor of the State of Arkansas.
The City of Heber Springs was not to be left off her list. The Upton’s were the creators of the Fourth of July Fireworks Extravaganza, purchased the beautiful chimes at the Courthouse, contributed to the new Hospital garden, new Cleburne County Library, and the Humane Society, just to name a few.
Patti was preceded in death by her parents. Survivors include her husband, Richard H. Upton, twin sons, Joseph Paige Upton and wife, Michelle, and James Peyton Upton and wife, Cindy; grandchildren, June Upton of New York City, James Peyton Upton, Jr. of Vail, CO, Patricia Jordan Upton of Memphis, TN, Martha Upton of Heber Springs and Patti’s beloved Golden Doodle, Belle.
A Memorial Service is planned for Sunday, June 4, at 2 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 1099 West Pine Street, Heber Springs, AR.
The family requests that any memorials be made to P.E.O., a philanthropic organization where women celebrate the advancement of women. Memorials may be sent to P. O. Box 6000, Heber Springs, AR 72543 for forwarding to the organization.