LITTLE ROCK — Former state Sen. Stanley Russ died Thursday at the age of 86.

State Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, said Thursday night in a post on Twitter, “Our community grieves this evening over the loss of Sen. Stanley Russ — one of the best men I ever knew. He was a man God only made one time.”

U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, said in a statement Friday, “Martha and I were saddened to learn about the loss of our friend, former state Senator Stanley Russ. For two decades Stanley was a friend and sound adviser. Our state and the Faulkner County community will miss Stanley’s smile, enthusiasm, and ability to get things done to enrich the lives of Arkansans.”

Russ served as a senator from Conway from 1975-99. He led the Senate as president pro tem from 1995-97 and served as majority leader in 1997.

Born in Conway, Russ graduated from Conway High School and attended Arkansas State Teachers College, now the University of Central Arkansas, and Arkansas Tech University before obtaining a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas.

He served in the Army in the Korean War and later in the National Guard. He farmed, raised cattle and operated an insurance business in Conway.

Russ and his wife, Nina, had two children. Nina Russ died in 2005.