Millsaps shares in
the loss of our loved ones and friends. If you are aware of
the death an alumnus/a, parent, or friend, please
send the information to
Murphy “Patt” Derian, Class of 1964, died May 20th, 2016.
Her husband, Hodding Carter III, said she died at their
home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, after suffering from Alzheimer's disease
for about 10 years.
"She was amazing," Carter said of his wife of
nearly 40 years. "I've had a fairly active life and have known a lot of
people. But I've never known anyone as clear-eyed, as honored, as tough, as
empathetic and as willing to face evil than Patt. She was the most
extraordinary human being that I've ever known."
Derian, former President Jimmy Carter's assistant
secretary of state for human rights, made the Argentine Dirty War one of her
top causes. Though the Argentine military
denounced Derian's interference, the lives of some high-profile
captives were spared as a result.
In a statement, Jimmy Carter expressed sadness on
hearing of Derian's death.
"As the senior State Department official in charge
of human rights during my administration, Patt spent hundreds of hours meeting
with victims and their families. She became a champion of oppressed people
around the world, helping me exert pressure on dictatorships from Argentina to
South Korea," Jimmy Carter recalled. "Because of her determination and
effective advocacy, countless human rights and democracy activists survived
that period, going on to plant the seeds of freedom in Latin America, Asia, and
Known as Patt to her friends, Derian grew up in
Danville, Virginia. She graduated from the University of Virginia School of
Nursing in 1952 and married Paul Derian, an orthopedic surgeon, shortly
Derian and her family moved to Jackson, Mississippi,
where she became an active supporter of public school desegregation. By
1968, Derian had helped found the Democratic Party of the State of
Mississippi or Loyalist Democrats, a biracial alternative to the segregationist
Regular Democrats and the all-black Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
During the 1976 U.S. presidential
election, Derian was deputy director of the Carter-Mondale campaign.
After Carter won, he nominated her to be coordinator for human rights and
humanitarian affairs but he changed that title to assistant secretary of state
for human rights and humanitarian affairs. She served in that post until 1981,
working to improve U.S. foreign policy coordination on humanitarian issues such
as human rights, refugees and prisoners of war.
Derian divorced in 1976 and two years later married
Hodding Carter, who served as assistant secretary of state for public affairs
during the Jimmy Carter administration.
"She was so tough, she often scared the hell out of
me," her husband said. "She believed that what we as a country said
were our principles ought to be our principles."
"She just absolutely took it on, whether it was some
racist sheriff in Mississippi or some butcher in Argentina or some dishonest
office holder in her own administration. She spoke truth to power and never
stopped. I'm blessed that I was with her," he said.
McLemore Rush, Class of 1950, died July 8th, 2016.
Joyce was the daughter of Annie Williams and T.J. McLemore, Sr.,
and was a member of Lauderdale County’s founding family. After graduating from
high school, she attended two years at Millsaps College College with her
soulmate and the love of her life, Dr. Lowry Rush, Jr., who she married on July
11, 1946. They would have celebrated their seventieth wedding anniversary this
year. During her time at Millsaps, Joyce was a cheerleader, homecoming
queen and member of the Chi Omega Sorority.
Joyce was very active in the Meridian community and served on
various boards and committees for many years, including the Meridian Medical
Auxiliary, Girl Scouts of America, Meridian Junior Auxiliary, among others. She
was also Queen of the Junior Auxiliary Mardi Gras Ball. She was an avid bridge
player and enjoyed playing with her many friends.
Joyce was a longtime member of Central United Methodist Church and,
in her later years, First Christian Church. She loved and cherished her
children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren and considered herself
blessed. She always said she had lived a wonderful life and when she died, she
asked loved ones “not to mourn her death, but to celebrate her life”.
Watson, Class of 1958, died July 9th, 2016.
Marjorie Watson passed away peacefully at the
age of 83. She was dearly loved by her late husband James, and by her children
Nigel and Yvonne.
Mueller, Class of 1948, died July 11th, 2016.
Joe Mueller was born to Helen McManus Mueller and Joseph
Henry Mueller in San Antonio, Texas in 1926. During World War II, Joe attended
flight school at Millsaps College as part of a Naval V-12 training program. He
served in the Korean War as forward artillery observer and rose to the rank of
1st Lieutenant. He said that one of his fondest memories was
climbing Mt. Fuji in Japan while on leave. Summiting, he was welcomed into a
weather observation station, sipping tea and listening to classical music above
After the war Joe earned his degree in Petroleum
Engineering. He met his wife of 62 years at a Corpus Christi wedding, and
married Patty Puig Mueller in 1954. Together they raised five children in
Corpus Christi. In 1957 he and Patty started Mueller Engineering, a petroleum
engineering firm that they ran together for 40 years.
Joe received tremendous joy in serving on the Kennedy
Memorial Foundation Board for many years, working with people to help better
the lives of others. As a man of enormous generosity of spirit, Joe Mueller will
be greatly missed.
Gwinner, Class of 1959, died July 30th, 2016.
Gay was born June 11, 1937, in Macon to Bernard and Frances
Piper. She received her BA in 1959 from Millsaps College. There, she met her
first husband and the father of her daughter, Rachael.
After that marriage ended, Gay went to graduate school and
earned her MS from Georgia State University’s School of Urban Studies. She was
chosen to participate in Jimmy Carter’s Presidential Management Intern Program.
Recruited by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, she worked
there until retirement. Later, she volunteered with Savannah’s Neighbor to
Neighbor Mediation Center.
In 1993, Gay met the love of her life, Maurice Gwinner.
They married and shared 21 years before his 2015 death. In 2003, Gay and
Maurice moved to a senior living community in Macon, where they lived out the
rest of their lives.
Davis Allen, Jr., Class of 1960, died August 11th, 2016.
Davis Allen, Jr., the son of Frank Davis Allen and Pauline Crabtree Allen, was
born in Helena, Arkansas, on August 30, 1937. His family moved to the
Jackson area in 1950. Frank graduated from Chamberlain Hunt Military
Academy in 1954, then majored in political science at Millsaps. He
later graduated from Vanderbilt Law School and was admitted to the bar in
spent over 20 years as an attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S.
Department of Justice. His work spanned voting rights and jury
discrimination cases, school desegregation, and criminal
prosecutions. Frank married MaryLee Campbell, a research analyst in the Division,
in December 1970.
Frank was a founding board member and dedicated supporter of Capitol Hill Village, a non-profit that helps residents of Capitol Hill age in place. He was also an active member of the Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church and its choir.
Ray “Charlie” Brackett, Class of 1960, died August 11th, 2016.
Charlie was a beloved husband of 55 years, and
a father to four children. He was also described by his family as a wonderful
grandfather to 8 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. Charlie had a love
for life. His most important accomplishments included his family, friendships,
and taking his family on adventures around the world.
Reverend Eugene Covington Holmes, Class of 1955, died August 17th,
Reverend Holmes was born on December 17, 1932
in Aberdeen, Mississippi; son of Howard Eugene Holmes and Emma Maye Covington
Holmes. As a child, he lived in Kosciusko, Mississippi, where his father owned
and operated Royal Crown Cola and Nehi Bottling Company.
He is a Graduate of Millsaps College, Jackson, Mississippi, A.B., 1955 and
received his Masters of Divinity at Candler School of Theology, Emory
University, in 1957. Licensed to preach May 29, 1950, admitted on trial and ordained
Deacon by Bishop Marvin A. Franklin, June 8, 1956. Reverend Holmes served at
Sallis UMC, Inman Park UMC in Atlanta; Bethel UMC; Four Churches in Nichols,
SC, and many more congregations. Furthermore, the current United Methodist
hymnal's liturgy was written and developed under Rev. Holmes' leadership.
He married Eleanor Leigh Haynes of Albany, Georgia, on June 10, 1954 and
together had three sons. Later, they were blessed with four grandchildren and
Virginia Austin Anderson, Class of 1967, died August 30th, 2016.
Mary Anderson, 71, was born to the late Bryan
Galloway Austin, Sr., and Mary Virginia Holmes Austin in Tampa, Florida, on
March 2, 1945. She grew up in Jackson and graduated from Provine High School
where she was a National Merit Finalist. Mary went on to attend Millsaps
College and graduated from Louisiana State University with a B.A. in psychology
“Jackie” Butler, Class of 1959, died September 15th, 2016 in Houston, Texas.
A loving woman to so many, she was known as
“Jackie” to her friends, “Sister” to her brothers and family, and “Nanny” to
her five grandchildren. Jackie was born Oct. 16, 1938, in McComb, the daughter
of John Clifton and Louise Girling Felder. Her curiosity, love of books and wit
began at an early age. She graduated early from high school at age 16 and was
the first woman to take both biology and chemistry at Southwest Mississippi
Junior College. Jackie graduated from Millsaps College in 1959. She married
James Hilton Butler the very same year, and the two would be married for 45
years until his 2004 death.
“Mitt” Roby, Class of 1956, died September 22nd, 2016 surrounded by his
Mitt attended Durant High School, Milllsaps
College and University of Mississippi Medical Center. After graduating from
Medical School, Mitt served in the United States Air Force in the Southeast
Asia Theater during the Vietnam War. While there, he was awarded the Bronze
Star. After returning home, he practiced medicine in Florida, Georgia and North
Carolina, before moving to Natchez, MS. Mitt then became a family Doctor in
Natchez and remained there until he retired. He loved motorcycles, guns,
hunting, Ole Miss, cowboys and his dog.
Sykes Green, Class of 1952, died September 23rd, 2016.
Donie was born March 30, 1930, in Aberdeen, MS.
She lived in Jackson, MS and attended Central High School. She later attended
Milsaps College where she joined Kappa Delta Sorority. Donie retired from
Tennessee Valley Authority, where she worked as an executive assistant in the
General Council's office.
Donie married Edward H. Green, Jr., on August
25, 1956 at Galloway Memorial United Methodist Church. Donie and Ed lived in
Knoxville, TN since 1960, where they raised their two children.
McCrory Henry, Class of 1980, died September 24th, 2016.
Deirdre was born on November 19, 1959 in
Jackson, MS to Floyd McCrory and Esta Williams McCrory. She received a B.A. in
English from Millsaps College. After receiving her J.D, Deirdre practiced law
in Mississippi for 26 years.
She will always be remembered for her fierce
intelligence, razor-sharp wit, and most importantly, the abundant love she showed
to the people around her.
Robinson, Class of 1961, died September 26th, 2016.
Mildred was born in
Jackson, MS and had been a resident of Ocean Springs for the past 44 years. She
taught elementary school in Gulfport and Kindergarten at Big Ridge Baptist
Church. Mildred was devoted to her family and to her church, Parkway Baptist.
Tucker, Class of 1950, died September 29th, 2016.
She was born in Jackson, MS to Toy Vivian and
Lawrence C Griffin on November 16, 1928. After her father's death at a young
age, her mother married Henry Fenton DeWees who she described as the best
father anyone could have asked for. In 1950 she graduated Beta Sigma Omicron
from Millsaps College and shortly after graduation she married the love of her
life Van K. Tucker. They owned a successful accounting business together and
were married for 66 years before her death. She enjoyed a life of entertaining
guests, travel, fishing and just relaxing on the back porch.
Patterson Walton, Class of 1951, died September 30th, 2016.
Frances was born on June 25th, 1930
to Frances Lucille Rhymes and Malone Kelly. After attending Jackson Public
Schools and graduating from Central High School, Frances graduated from
Millsaps College as a music major, doing so early in order to marry O.B.
"Billy" Walton, the love of her life. A consummate Southern woman,
Frances grew deep Mississippi roots but adored traveling with her husband.
Billy and Frances were childhood sweethearts who explored the world together.
Frances was a devoted mother, a playful, adoring grandmother, and a delighted
great-grandmother who also dedicated herself to the civic life of Jackson. Her
support of and involvement in numerous community and arts associations were her
trademarks; notable highlights of her involvement include her tenure as
President of the Junior League of Jackson, her time spent as President of the
Symphony League, and her 30 years as a member of the Explorers Women's Bible
Frances will be remembered as a feisty and vibrant woman who always rose to the
occasion, turning her greatest challenges into opportunities. Many
of those she loved the most mourn her loss in this life: her husband, Billy
Walton; son and daughter-in-law Ben and Marita Walton; and daughter, Kelley
Walton Fenelon, all of Jackson. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren will
miss their Mimi as well: Bennett and Samantha Walton in Houston, Texas and
their children Caroline, Otis, and Jack; Rhymes and Prentice Stabler in
Nashville, Tennessee and their children Pace and Ramsay; Marita Walton of
Jackson, Mississippi; Kelley Frances and Melissa Fenelon Snarr, also in
Nashville, and their son Marrin; Patterson Fenelon in Miami, Florida; and Laura
Walton Fenelon in Nashville.
Prekezes, Class of 1959, died October 2nd, 2016.
Calliope was born in Jackson, Mississippi on
March 22, 1937 to the late, John and Irene Dorizas. She attended Central High
School, then graduated with honors from Millisaps College in 1959 with a math
degree. She will be remembered as a loving wife, mother, sister, aunt, and
Tip Stuart Jacob, Class of 1940, died October 4th, 2016.
Elizabeth Jacob was born in Morton, MS on
February 17, 1923 to Newton Tip Stuart and Minnye Ott Stuart.
Tip, as she was known to everyone (and Mother Tip by her grandchildren)
attended Milsaps, where she was a member of Phi Mu sorority. She was married to
Marvin Jacob for 63 years until his death in 2004. She and Marvin lived in
Morton where their seven children were born. She was an integral part of
Marvin's Professional Photography business, which took pictures of high school
seniors and weddings all over central Mississippi.
Tip loved Scott County and the wonderful people
there where she had grown up and reared her family. She was actively involved
in church, in many civic clubs, and charities. Her greatest joys were her faith
in God, her family, and her dear friends.
Runge Reaves, Class of 1952, died October 6th, 2016 at home surrounded by
Kathryn was born March 31, 1929, in Jackson,
Mississippi, to Louis A. Runge and Jennie Bullard Runge/Brown. Throughout her
life, she was lovingly known as Katy, Kathy, Kathryn, Momma K, and KK.
Kathryn graduated from Central High School in Jackson, and through the years,
remained in contact with many of her friends there. For most of her adult life,
Kathryn resided in North Carolina, caring for her family and many beloved pets.
She worked for several years in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system, and
was later employed with Home Insurance Company. After retiring, she remained in
Charlotte, enjoying her children, her church, and her friends, until moving to
Tucson in 2004.
Robinette, Jr., Class of 1962, died October 16th, 2016.
Charles Robinette, Jr. was born July 28, 1940
to Charles Harris Robinette Sr. and Vivian Smith Robinette. He was a 1958
graduate of Greenwood High School, then received a Bachelor of Science degree
in History from Millsaps College in 1962.
Charles went on to work for Leflore Economic
Association, the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Tandy Corporation,
was co-owner of Metalcraft, Inc., and owner of a number of electronic stores.
After that, Charles committed the rest of his professional career to the
Mississippi Office of State Auditor as an investigative auditor.
He married his wife, Connie, in 1980.
Ellis Davis, Jr., Class of 1960, died October 18th, 2016.
Albert Ellis Davis, Jr., was born on August 26th,
1938 to Albert Ellis Davis, Sr., and Dorothy Anne Smith Davis. He attended
public schools in Laurel and Jackson, graduated with honors from Millsaps
College, and enjoyed a 35-year career with The Coca-Cola Company. He cherished
his family and loved to share life experiences of world travels through his
wonderful talent for photography.
While the highlights of Albert's career are too numerous to list, among them
were his role as Director of Marketing in Tokyo, Japan, Vice President of
Marketing for the Coca-Cola Company, and leadership roles in the development of
The First World of Coke in Atlanta, the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta,
the Torch Run of the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, and the Everything Coke
exhibits in Las Vegas and New York City.
After to his retirement from Coca-Cola in in 1996 and his return to Jackson,
Albert continued his personal involvement at his alma mater, Millsaps, at
Briarwood Presbyterian Church, at the Jackson Symphony, and in his St.
Townes, Class of 1971, died October 18th, 2016 at home.
Linda worked as a news reporter for the McComb
Enterprise Journal and later was a MS State Hospital Licensed Social Work
Coordinator for care of the homeless and displaced persons in the Jackson, MS
area. She was a graduate of McComb High School and Millsaps College. Linda had
many interests, including art, music, literature and her beloved dog, Clemmie.
“Jimmy” Carter, Sr., MBA Class of 1997, died October 19th, 2016.
Jimmy was born on July 1, 1961 in Rolling Fork,
MS. He graduated from All Saints Episcopal School in 1979. It was here that he
met many of his lifelong friends.
Jimmy had a love for school and always wanted to challenge himself by learning
something new. After completing his undergraduate studies, Jimmy received his
MBA from Millsaps College, and went on to become a CPA. At this point he began
taking guitar lessons to further his love for music.
Jimmy married his beloved Robin on August 14,
1983. Their marriage was described by their family as “a love and friendship
that only got better, every year, for 33 years.” The couple loved to travel,
and their favorite destination was New Orleans. Jimmy also loved playing guitar
with friends, gardening and cycling.
Walker, Class of 1952, died October 19th, 2016.
Fred was the son of the late Fred Walker, Sr.
and Margaret Luna Walker. He attended Waterproof High School and earned a
Bachelor's Degree in Business from Millsaps College. He served our country in
the United States Marines during WWII in the South Pacific.
Fred loved the Lord, his family and his church. He was a faithful member of
Alta Woods United Methodist Church where he served in many different
capacities, taught Sunday school and worked in the church thrift store. He
enjoyed sports and had coached Little League Baseball for over 18 years, he was
a hunter and fisherman, but most of all he loved to play golf. He traveled the
world where he enjoyed playing different courses in China, Japan, Tokyo,
Scotland and across the United States.
Alexander Jabour, Jr., Class of 1959, died October 21st, 2016.
Fred was born in Vicksburg, MS, on July 5,
1935, but lived in Rolling Fork and Clinton for most of his life. He completed
his undergraduate degree at Millsaps College in 1959. Afterwards, he taught
Physics, Chemistry, and Math at Murrah before becoming an agent with Allstate
where he worked for 35 years.
His lifetime zeal for education continued into retirement as he enrolled in
numerous enrichment courses through the years at Millsaps. Because he had a
yearning for travel, Fred and his wife enjoyed opportunities to tour many
countries and experience different cultures. As a sports enthusiast, he was an
avid fan of Ole Miss football and especially the Manning family. He tried to
watch every game that Peyton and Eli played. He also enjoyed following local
area athletes in their professional careers.
Fred's dry sense of humor will be missed by all. He leaves a legacy of memories
for his family to cherish going forward.
Grace Nichols “Beth” Gittins, Class of 1985, died October 23rd,
Beth was the daughter of the late Maudie and
Bob Nichols of Jackson. She was the youngest of a spirited brood of five
children growing up in the 70's in northeast Jackson. She graduated from
Jackson Prep and then Millsaps College, making lifelong friends who remained
loyal and loving throughout her life.
After college, she found her great adventure by moving to Washington, DC where
she interned for Sen. Thad Cochran. Beth loved playing a role at the 1988
Republican presidential convention in New Orleans and the inauguration of
President George H.W. Bush. She received appointments to the Department of
Housing and Urban Development, the Peace Corps, and the USDA.
She returned to Jackson in the early 90's, married Bill Gittins and began her
happily ever after. She was a lifelong communicant of St. Andrews Cathedral,
belonged to the Junior League of Jackson, and the Daughters of the American
Revolution. Beth was a friend to all and a role model of strength during
Lum, Jr., Class of 1959, died October 24th, 2016.
Gadi retired in Tampa, FL after a successful
career in medical sales to play golf with his wife Patsy and their friends.
Gadi and Patsy also enjoyed many years of travel together, then in 2005 they
moved to Tennessee to be closer to their son, daughter and grandchildren.
D. Stringer, Class of 1955, died October 24th, 2016.
Dr. Stringer, a native of Yazoo City, graduated
from high school there in 1947. He served in the U.S. Merchant Marines to save
money for college until being called to serve his country in the U.S. Army. His
time in the military was spent in Germany, where he was in a tank battalion and
earned the rank of Sergeant.
His service time further motivated him to pursue his education with a goal of
dentistry as his career. He completed his undergraduate degree with honors at
Millsaps College and was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. While in
Jackson, he met his wife to be, Nelda Joyce Gatewood. Together they went to
Memphis, Tennessee, where he earned his dental degree, then he began his dental
practice in Long Beach, Mississippi in 1959.
Dr. Stringer was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church, Rotary Club, and
a life member of the Mississippi Dental Association. His interests included
flying and he combined that with altruism in his later years through his work
in Honduras. Dr. Stringer’s group, the "Wings of Angels,” provided air ambulance
service in remote areas for those needing assistance.
McFarland, Class of 1953, died October 30th, 2016, surrounded by his
Dr. McFarland was born July 12, 1930 in DeKalb
County, Mississippi to the late Wesley Eugene and Maggie Jane McFarland.
He was a graduate of Millsaps College, and went on to receive his Ph.D. in
Economics. Dr. McFarland served as a Lieutenant in the US Navy, and a Professor
at Princeton University prior to joining the Economics faculty at the
University of North Carolina in 1964 where he served for 40 years.
Dr. McFarland had a passion for squeezing the most out of life and had more
ongoing projects than he could ever finish. He sought challenges of all kinds.
Whether it be the Times Crossword Puzzle, building an addition to his house, or
navigating a complicated harbor channel. He delighted in sharing his knowledge
and joy with others. His family, friends, colleagues and thousands of students
would attest that he was always swift to love and took haste to be kind.
Earl Elmore, Class of 1962, died November 3rd, 2016.
Dr. Elmore will be remembered as a professor,
lawyer and author of a book that shed fresh light on Abraham Lincoln's most
famous address. Dr. Elmore taught English and Drama at Athens State University
from 1987 to 2013, writing plays on topics from songwriter Stephen Foster to
the court-martial of Civil War-era Col. Basil Turchin.
Dr. Elmore, who grew up in Forest, Miss.,
received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Millsaps College in 1962,
received his Ph. D. in 1968 and law degree 1979. His published works include
his 2009 book, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address: Echoes of the Bible and Book of
Common Prayer. The book was dedicated to civil rights leader Medgar Evers,
whom Elmore knew as a young man in Mississippi during a turbulent era. Author
John B. Boles called the Dr. Elmore’s Lincoln book "essential
reading" for anyone interested in "the most elegant public address in
Lacy Causey, Class of 1960, died November 11th, 2016 at his home.
Known as “Lacy” to his friends, he was born on
December 11th, 1937 in McComb, MS. He grew up in Magnolia and
Liberty, MS where he graduated from high school. While attending Millsaps
College, Lacy considered going into the ministry. He and two friends travelled
to England, visiting the childhood home of Charles and John Wesley, and
witnessing to people along the way.
After graduation Lacy chose a different path,
enlisting in the United States Marine Corps. After serving for twenty years and
completing two tours in Vietnam, Lt. Col. Causey retired from the military with
many awards and medals, including the Bronze Star.
Lacy loved to play golf and was an avid fan of
the Boston Red Sox. He was very active in his church, Sun City United Methodist
Church in Sun City, CA, where he served in many leadership capacities. Lacy also dearly loved his wife of 55 years,
Nancy, and expressed the highest love and appreciation for Nancy’s role in raising
their four sons during his military service. As a veteran, a leader, and a
family man, Lacy will truly be missed.
Dr. Don E.
Strickland, former Millsaps Vice President for Business Affairs, died November
Dr. Strickland was born in
Dothan, Alabama but moved to Tallahassee, FL at a young age. There he received
his elementary and high school education, and finally went on to receive his
bachelor's degree in accounting as well as Master's and Ph.D degrees in higher
Dr. Strickland began his career in college administration at his alma mater,
where he was head of the auditing department. He then accepted the position of
Vice President for Business Affairs at Millsaps College in Jackson,
Mississippi. He finished his professional career at a local college in Brevard,
North Carolina, again as Vice President of Business Affairs.
He married his childhood sweetheart, Betty Gibson Brown and they enjoyed 64
years of matrimony. He was an active Presbyterian serving both as deacon and
then elder for many years in Tallahassee, Florida and Jackson, Mississippi. His
baritone voice blessed the ears of many as he sang in the church choirs,
Christmas masses and SPBSQSA (Society for the Preservation of Barbershop
Quartet Singing in America).
Dr. Strickland was followed in death by his beloved wife, Betty, one month
after he passed.
Gaillard Walker, Class of 1981, died November 22nd, 2016.
James was a native of Panama City, Florida. He grew up in South Jackson,
graduating in 1977 from Forest Hill High School. He graduated from Millsaps
College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and later obtained his Master’s
degree in Combined Sciences. James went on to teach Engineering and Robotics at
Madison Career & Technical Center. He attended Alta Woods Presbyterian
Church and later, Highland Presbyterian Church.
Doty Greer, Class of 1946, died November 25th, 2016.
Corinne was born on August 6, 1924, in
Lexington, Mississippi, to the late Dr. Arthur Murphy Doty and Nellie Clyde
Belk Doty. She grew up in Lexington, Mississippi, and attended Millsaps College
in Jackson, where she was a voice major. Throughout her life, Corinne enjoyed
spending time with family at Cedar Hurst, the antebellum Belk family home in
Holly Springs, Mississippi.
She married John Greer on March 21, 1944.
Shortly thereafter, Corinne and John moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where John
was stationed prior to serving as a Naval Officer with the 7th Fleet in the
South Pacific during World War II. After John returned from the War in January,
1946, he and Corinne moved to Columbia, South Carolina. Later they moved to
Birmingham, Alabama, where they resided until their respective deaths. Church
life, music, dancing and entertaining were the pillars of Corinne's personal life.
In 1977, at the age of 52, Corinne entered the
real estate business and became a highly successful agent in Mountain Brook,
AL. She sold the first million dollar house in Birmingham, Alabama, and was
later honored for her achievements with the 25 Year Vulcan Award. Corinne was
very active in numerous clubs and organizations, was a volunteer at the VA
Hospital and was active in the PTA at all levels. She loved being around people
and entertaining her lifelong friends.
Weeks, Class of 1967, died December 1st, 2016.
Lana was born in Jackson, MS to Charles and
Ruby Weeks. Graduate of Murrah High School and Millsaps College, Lana went on
to complete her Master's Degree in Social Work. After completing her degree,
Lana worked for many years in Child Protective Services for the State of
Louisiana. She was a gifted pianist and vocalist, and a long-time member of
Symphony Chorus of New Orleans. Lana was also a member of Gentilly United
Methodist Church and St. Mark's United Methodist Church in New Orleans.
Reverend Stephen Cranford, Class of 1964, died December 3rd, 2016.
Reverend Cranford had a long history of service to the
interfaith community both locally and globally as a minister with the Christian
Church (Disciples of Christ) and former head of Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry.
Gary Peluso-Verdend, president of Phillips Theological
Seminary, where Reverend Cranford was emeritus trustee, said he was a “person
with integrity, honesty, decency, who was trusted to broker deals between
conflicting factions, whose loyalty transcended one group or another, who kept
a mission in focus.” TMM Board President Keith McArtor said Cranford was “a
fine gentleman of faith who combined the clear head and warm heart. … Quiet but
courageous, Steve’s presence in interfaith work will be deeply missed."
Reverend Cranford served the National and World Council of Churches, and was active in civil rights work for much of his life.
Julia Goodman Puryear, Class of 1947, died December 5th, 2016.
Julia was born on August 7, 1926, to William and Marguerite
Goodman in Jackson, Mississippi. She graduated from Central High School and
then Millsaps College. As a student at Millsaps, she met the love of her life,
Lamar Puryear, Jr. of Raymond.
Julia and Lamar married on March 13, 1947, and settled in Hazlehurst in 1952,
where he practiced medicine. Julia had the privilege of being a stay-at-home
mother, and together they reared three wonderful children. Their home was a
happy one, and it was often filled with family and friends. For most of Julia’s
life, she prepared lunch for her family every Sunday afternoon without fail.
There her children and grandchildren would talk, laugh, watch movies and play
cards for hours on end.
Julia was a devoted member of the Hazlehurst United Methodist Church since
1952, where she taught Sunday School for a number of years and served on the
Church Council and various other committees, including Outreach and Pastor
Parish. The two most important things in her life were her church and her
Julia is survived by her three children, Carol Ford (Frank), Linda Rainer
(Mike), and Lamar Puryear (Shelia), and eight grandchildren and two
step-grandchildren, Jason Ford (Miranda), Emily Hayes (Derek), Shelby Ford,
Allen Wood (Keri), Julie Wood, Erin Cogswell (Joshua), Leah Puryear, Lamar
Puryear IV, Chase Rainer (Casey) and Chelsea Ruez (Brandon). She is also
survived by her brother, William Flournoy Goodman of Jackson; five nieces; and
her nephew Will Goodman III, esteemed member of the Millsaps Board of Trustees.
Oren Metcalf, Class of 1994, died December 6th, 2016.
A native of Canton, Tom was a 1975 graduate of
Canton Academy. He attended The University of Southern Mississippi and
graduated from Millsaps College in 1994. He was the owner of Industrial Steam
Cleaners in Jackson and Southeast Powerwash in Madison, and loved target
shooting and his cabin in the delta.
Adcock Scott, Class of 1959, passed away December 8th, 2016 in Houston.
Jeanine was born November 8, 1937 in
Shreveport, Louisiana to Harold and Edith Adcock. She was Harold and Edith's
only child and grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. She received her Bachelor
of Arts degree in 1959 from Millsaps College, and received her Master's degree
in Education in 1971.
Jeanine married Parker Harris Scott on March 3, 1972. She had a special love
for animals and supported the ASPCA. She also loved gardening, reading, sewing
Heath, Class of 1951, died December 10th, 2016.
Barfield “Betty” Walters, Class of 1956, died December 19th, 2016.
Betty was born Aug. 4, 1934 to Neal and Alma (Waters)
Barfield in Atlanta, Georgia. She married Summer L. Walters on May 30, 1957 in
Jackson, Mississippi. Betty graduated from Central High School and then
Millsaps College, and finally went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Social
Betty served as a social worker in the mental and medical
health field for many years, as well as working for International Adoption
Services. She was a member of Grace United Methodist Church.
James, Class of 1953, died December 21st, 2016.
Majure, Class of 1950, died December 21st, 2016.
Wadsworth, Class of 1958, died December 31st, 2016.
A native of Jackson, MS, Glenda graduated from
Jackson's Central High School and Millsaps College. After Millsaps she studied
in France on a Fulbright scholarship. In her late 30's she moved to Oxford to
attend law school, and upon graduation worked in the legal field until her
retirement in 2005. In retirement she returned to an interest in writing which
began when she was a student at Millsaps and did feature writing for several
local publications, primarily the Northside Sun Magazine.
She cherished her sons, William and Andrew, and her grandchildren Joshua and
Anna. She was proud of their accomplishments and was always quick to remind
them, "It is those good Wadsworth genes." She was especially thankful
for her sister and frequent companion, Vivian Newkirk of Madison, "who saw
me through thin and scary times."
Reverend Dr. Daniel Deupree McKee, II, Class of 1967, died January 4, 2017 at home surrounded by
Dan was born on May 16, 1945, in Vicksburg, the son of the late William Wells
McKee and Helen Priestly McKee. A 1963 graduate of Clarksdale High School, he
continued his education at Millsaps College, attending on a tennis scholarship.
In 1967, Dan graduated from Millsaps with his Bachelor of Arts. Then in 1971,
he earned his Master of Divinity went on to earn his Doctor of Ministry in
Reverend McKee was ordained to the priesthood May 27, 1972 at the Chapel of the
Holy Family at Camp Bratton Green. His first church was St. Thomas Episcopal
Church and All Saints Episcopal Church in Inverness. Here he met the love of
his life, his wife of 43 years, Diane.
In his spare time, Reverend McKee enjoyed
Special Sessions at Camp Bratton Green and Camp Mitchell (where he served as
director for many years), as well as fishing and hunting.
Lois A. Saunders, Class of 1948, died
January 7th, 2016.
Mitchell “Johnny” Bower, MBA Class of 1992, died January 11th, 2017.
Known as Johnny to his friends, he was born on
May 7, 1961. Johnny graduated from St. Andrews High School in 1979; while on a
soccer scholarship, he received his undergraduate degree from Belhaven
University and achieved his Master’s in Business Administration from Millsaps
College. In his youth, he was a competitive swimmer, motorcycle enthusiast and
a pioneer of soccer in Mississippi. He married Bondee Hall, the love of his
life, and had two sons, Brant and Hunter. Johnny was an enthusiastic, attentive
and loving Father who enjoyed traveling across the country to watch and coach
his boys in soccer. His most treasured times in life were spent at Bower Farms
in Vaughan, Mississippi surrounded by his grandchildren, family, and friends.
Johnny is survived by his parents; Mandaville “Snookie” Bower and Dr. John D.
E. Burchfield, Class of 1948, died January 11th, 2017.
Thurston Euzema Wilkes, II, Class of 1969, died January 13th, 2017.
Dr. Thurston Euzema Wilkes, II was
born in Cleveland, Miss., on October 19, 1941 to Lucille and Thurston Wilkes
Sr., and raised in Picayune. Thurston graduated from Picayune High School in
1959, went on to graduate with his M.S. from Millsaps College, then completed
Thurston practiced urology in
Oxford for over 35 years and was a compassionate physician. During his career,
he served as chief of staff and chief of surgery at Baptist Memorial Hospital
in Oxford. He was instrumental in starting the annual Christmas tradition at
the hospital of doctors donating to the local pantry and toy drive for children
Moorer Martin, Class of 1940, died January 14th, 2017.
Louise was born February 22, 1918 in New York
City. She was the child of Jennie Mae Carter of Ipava, Illinois and Karl Sherwood
Moorer, of Henderson Tennessee. The family moved to Jackson, Mississippi
shortly after her birth.
She spent most of her childhood in her home on North Jefferson Street, now on
the National Register of Historic Homes. An only child, she attended Jackson
public schools. As an outstanding student, she was granted permission to enroll
in Millsaps College while still completing her senior year of high school. In
1941, she married Lawrence Bradley Martin (Foots). After Foot's discharge from
the army, the family moved in 1947 to Henderson Circle in Jackson where they
resided for the next 57 years and where they raised their three children.
Louise was a well-known Southern artist who began taking art lessons at the age
of 10. Over the years she worked in a variety of art media including oil,
batik, paper-mache, ceramics, jewelry, and fabric design, but her passion came
to be watercolor. She exhibited widely and received numerous prizes in national
and regional juried shows. At various times she taught children's art at St.
Andrews Episcopal Day School and through the YMCA and taught as an art
professor at Mississippi College. She served as President of the Mississippi
Art Association and the Art Study Club. Through her church affiliation at St.
James Episcopal Church she designed and created altar cloths, clergy vestments,
eye-catching banners, as well as a striking mosaic created for the side chapel.
Louise outlived her beloved husband of 65 years, Lawrence, who died in 2006.
She joined her new family at St. Catherine's Campbell Cove in the summer of
2008. The family wishes to thank all of her dedicated caregivers in both
Campbell Cove and Sienna. Because of their devotion she was comfortable and at
peace in her final years and able to live a longer life than might otherwise
have been possible.
Mr. Lewis Guy Odom, Jr., Class of 1944, died January 16th, 2017.
Lewis Odom was born in Mobile on April 20, 1926. Upon
graduation from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve and was
selected for the V-12 Navy College Training program during World War II. While
in that program, he attended Millsaps College. After being discharged in 1952,
Major Odom returned to Gadsden, Alabama, to practice law, where he was a member
of the 225th Radio Relay Squadron, Alabama Air National Guard. Lewis married
Janelle Silvey of Rainbow City, Alabama, in 1955. Later that year, he accepted
the position of general counsel of the U.S. Senate Small Business Committee,
and moved to Washington, D.C. He retired from federal service in 1981 and
returned to practice law in Mobile, until he retired in 1994. Mr. Odom was
active in church affairs all his adult life, as a lifelong and active member of
Trinity Episcopal Church. He was a founding member and trustee emeritus of the
Farrah Law Society of the Alabama Law School and loved the Crimson Tide.
Lewis loved nature
and being near the water in Destin, Florida, and at Lake Martin, Alabama. He
especially loved watching the cardinals from his kitchen window. Most of all he
loved his family: he said that his grandchildren and great grandchildren were
the special joys in his life.
The Reverend Benjamin F. Lee, Class of 1952, died January 24th, 2017.
Reverend Lee dedicated his life to serving the church and the people of North
Mississippi. And although he has passed away, his memory will live on through
the family and friends that loved him, as well as the parishioners he prayed
with every Sunday for more than 60 years.
Born in Greenwood, Mississippi in 1930 to Benjamin F. Lee, Sr. and Rebecca
Bryan Lee, Reverend Lee graduated high school in 1948. He then attended
Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, where his achievements on the
football field and the tennis court saw him inducted into the Millsaps College
Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. After graduating from Millsaps in 1952, he graduated from Divinity School
and was then ordained as an elder in the Methodist Church in 1955. That year he also met and married his wife, Ruth White of Pheba, Mississippi.
The couple had two children, Melanie Hunsberger of Beaumont, Texas and Benjamin
Lee III of Troy, Tennessee.
Even after retirement, Reverend Lee remained active on the staff of the Tupelo
District, serving as interim pastor for Nettleton Presbyterian Church, Thaxton
United Methodist and Pontotoc First United Methodist. He was also instrumental
in launching The Orchard of Tupelo.
Reverend Lee is survived by his wife, Ruth; daughter, Melanie (Mark); son, Ben
(Kim); brother Albert (Louise) of Fort Myers, Florida; his sister, Joan Powell
(William) of Brenham, Texas; granddaughters Sierra Lee, Ashleigh Greenhaw,
Kelley Hunsberger and Blythe Huguley, as well as several great-grandchildren,
nieces and nephews. Services will be held at First United Methodist Church in Tupelo on Friday,
January 27 at 10 a.m., with a visitation on Thursday, January 26 from 4 p.m. to
6 p.m. in the Gathering Room.
Mrs. Jean Grambling Noel, Class of 1943, died January 24th, 2017.
Jean was born April 1, 1922 in Jackson, MS to Mr. and Mrs. J.J. Grambling and was a lifelong resident of the Belhaven community where she raised her family. She was a loving spouse, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, caregiver and friend to many.
An active member of Riverside Church for over fifty years, she played the piano and served on numerous committees. She was a founding member of a group known as the Mop Ladies, who used their talents to make various items which were sold to raise money for the youth group and church projects. She was an active member of several clubs in the Jackson area, including the Wise Owl Club, High Noon, Cosmos Luncheon Club and Maids and Matrons. She was also a member of the Ralph Humphries DAR.
B. Gorman, Class of 1954, died January 27th, 2017.
Mrs. Mildred Ballard Gorman was born in Ethel,
Mississippi on May 13, 1932, to the late Charles Earl Ballard and Elaine Ryle
Known as Mimi to her family, she was raised in Fayette, Mississippi. She
graduated from Jefferson County High School and earned her Bachelor of Science
degree in chemistry from University of Southern Mississippi. She also graduated
from the School of Medical Technology at The Mercy Hospital in Vicksburg,
Mississippi where she met her husband.
Her professional career included working as a Medical Technologist at Magee
General in Magee. After the family moved to Jackson in 1966, she worked for Dr.
G. Boyd Shaw and Dr. T.E. Wilson, III and, later at St. Dominic Hospital
Laboratory in Chemistry. She loved her work and made precious lifetime friends
everywhere she worked.
During her college years she was Miss Hospitality for Jefferson County and a
Dixie Darling. She developed a love for the culture and antebellum Homes of
Natchez, Mississippi. One of her cherished memories was serving as a hostess
for several homes during the Pilgrimage.
Dorothy Jones “Dot” Taylor, Class of 1945, died January 29th, 2017.
Dot was born in 1927 in Jackson, MS to the late
Walter Jones and Mattie Clifton. She grew up in many Mississippi towns,
including Jackson, Hazlehurst, and Raleigh. A lifelong curious and avid
student, she graduated at 18 from Millsaps College. At the end of World War II
she married her college sweetheart, Zach Taylor, Jr., with whom she created a
beautiful partnership of 60 years until his death in 2006.
Dot thrived on family activities, community
involvement, education, and church activities. An active member of the Junior
League, she was on the steering committee for the Mississippi Arts Festival,
volunteered over 30 years with the United Way and was on its board, was local
president and a national board member of Goodwill Industries Volunteer
Services, was the Director of the Millsaps Arts and Lecture Series, and was the
president of the PTA at Power Elementary, Bailey Junior High, and Murrah High
She loved to travel, especially on family
vacations to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Wrightsville Beach, N.C. With
Zach's family, she travelled across much of the U.S. and also to Russia,
Poland, Italy, Canada, and Mexico. Dot had a unique talent for bringing people
together to work on activities and events that enriched their lives and the
Jackson community. She worked with thousands of people and hundreds of groups,
and her presence is deeply missed by those whose lives she has touched. Her
pastor, Chuck Poole, said of her life, "Dot Taylor was one of those rare
souls in this world in whom the human spirit and the Holy Spirit are so
seamlessly integrated that we can no longer tell where one ends and the other
Mrs. Mary Olive
Eudy Woods, Class of 1949, died January 31st, 2017.
Mary Olive Woods was born on November 1, 1928
to James Everett Eudy and Olive Mae Willingham. Mrs. Woods was a graduate of
Millsaps College in 1949, and married her beloved John F. Woods, Jr, the following
December. She was a member of First United Methodist Church in Greenwood for
over 60 years and had been active in many functions of the church.
Reverend Charles W. Nicholson, Class of 1958, died February 1st,
Reverend Nicholson was born on October 3, 1936
in Philadelphia, MS. He graduated from Milsaps College in 1958 and went on to
receive his Master of Divinity degree. In 1957 he married his soulmate Dimple
Garner Nicholson from Mize, MS.
Reverend Nicholson served many congregations,
most recently Central UMC in Meridian, St. Paul UMC in Ocean Springs, First UMC
in Columbia, and Eastlawn UMC in Pascagoula. He also served as a District
Superintendent and represented the Mississippi Conference at General and
Jurisdictional Conferences. Upon retirement, Rev. Nicholson and his wife lived
in Lake Junaluska, NC where he served as Chaplain to the Lake Junaluska
Assembly. He was loved by his parishioners for being a compassionate and caring
pastor, and he will be greatly missed by all.
Mattie Mae Harrison Lyle, longtime staff member of Millsaps College, died February 6th,
at her home in Pearl.
She was born April 10, 1932 in Mendenhall, daughter of the late William Shelby Harrison and Mary Emily Harrison. "Ms. Mattie," as she was affectionately know, retired from Valley Food Services/Millsaps College in 2002 after more than 26 years of faithful service. She was a longtime member of Eastside Baptist Church in Pearl.
Bernard “Hess” Booth Hall, Sr., Class of 1953, died February 7th,
Hess Booth Hall, Sr. was born in the front bedroom of his Grandmother's house
on March 9th, 1930 in Drew, Mississippi. He was delivered by his Grandfather,
Dr. Hess Booth, whose name he was given. He professed faith in the Lord Jesus
Christ at a young age and was baptized in the Methodist Church in April of
Hess graduated from Drew High School in
1948, and attended Millsaps College. He met the love of his life, Alice Lang
Fisher, on June 28th, 1953 and they married on December 28th of that same year.
They were happily married for 63 years.
Hess was in the U.S. Navy and served on the
aircraft carrier USS Valley Forge, a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, a
32nd Degree Mason, a Shriner, a recipient of the DeMolay Legion of Honor and a
friend of Bill W.'s for over forty years. He will be greatly missed.
Christopher Roan Evans, Class of 1999, died February 14th, 2017.
Evans was born April 3, 1977 in New Iberia, LA. Roan was the loving husband of
Lindsy Morgan Evans and proud father of Megan, Neely and Jack.
Roan was educated at Millsaps College, where he received his Bachelor of Arts
in English and Political Science in May of 1999. He then received his Juris
Doctorate in May of 2002. In May of 2008, Roan attended the U.S. Army Judge
Advocate Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, VA.
Roan was a commissioned officer with the Louisiana National Guard. He deployed
to Iraq in 2010 as a Judge Advocate. He also acted as advising Judge Advocate
to the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crash in Florida in 2015. With outstanding
service and character, Roan received The Army Commendation Medal, The Order of
the Combat Spurs and The Louisiana Cross of Merit.
Roan was an active member and participant in the local Juvenile Diabetes
Research Foundation (JDRF) serving as a committee member for the annual walk.
JDRF became an organization close to Roan’s heart following the diagnosis of
his children with Type 1 diabetes. He also participated with the Lafayette
Volunteer Lawyers Pro Bono program and was a board member of South Louisiana
Community College. He was also an active member of the St Pius X Catholic
Ronald “Ronnie” Johnson, Class of 2003, died February 14th, 2017.
Ronnie was born in Tupelo, MS and lived in Brandon,
MS since 1999 where he was a member of Pinelake Church. He graduated from high
school in Shannon, MS and later graduated in 2003 from Millsaps College in
Jackson. While at Millsaps, he was on the tennis team, was a student athletic
trainer for the football team, and was a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.
In 2009, Ronnie co-founded the Lithic Company. He was an avid outdoorsman who
enjoyed hunting, wake boarding, and just being outdoors.
Ronnie is survived by his wife, Mandy Johnson, who he married in 2005; a son,
Noah Johnson; mother, Debbie Owens Johnson; father, Phillip Wayne Johnson
(Sarah); grandmother, Rose Owens; sister, Melanie Johnson and his mother in law
and father in law, Ray and Linda Michael. Ronnie is preceded in death by his
grandparents, James Owens and Kirby and Lorene Johnson.
Allen Planch, Class of 1955, died February 15th, 2017.
Charles was born August 30, 1935, the only
child of Lillian Horne Planch and Theodore Roosevelt Planch. Charles was raised
by his mother, after his father died from injuries sustained in World War II. After
high school, Charles attended Millsaps College, graduating in 1955 with a Bachelor’s
degree in Economics and Administration. He was a proud Millsaps Major and a Mississippi
State Bulldogs fan.
More than he loved Millsaps, he loved and
adored his wife of 60 years, Fay. Together Charles and Fay raised two loving
children (Barry and Laurie), and were blessed with five grandchildren and two
great-grandchildren. Charles’ family was his world. He was so proud of them,
constantly bragging to anyone who would listen. He spent a great deal of time
coaching, watching and cheering on his family in the various sports of the
seasons. He rarely missed a game or event, and never had anything but an
encouraging word for those who played those games.
Charles was a long time member of Central
Presbyterian Church, where he served as a member of the session and as a
Deacon. In his later years, he was also an active member of Briarwood Presbyterian
McBride “Billy” Yandell, Jr., Class of 1948, died February 15th,
Billy Yandell, Jr. was born November 2, 1925 in
Greenwood, MS, the son of the late Margaret Sturdivant Yandell of Glendora, MS,
and William McBride Yandell, Sr. of Greenwood, MS. He graduated from high
school and went on to complete the Navy V-12 program at Millsaps College and
Columbia Midshipmen's School in New York City.
Billy was preceded in death by his younger brother, Ben, and his beloved wife
of 58 years, Betty Sue Clifton Yandell. He leaves three wonderful children,
William McBride Yandell, III (Jennifer), Yerger Clifton Yandell (Nancy) and
Susan Yandell McKee.
Billy was a member of St. John's Episcopal
Church, as well as the Episcopal Church of the Advent in Sumner, MS. He was also
a member of the Memphis Hunt and Polo Club, The Memphis Country Club, and was a
past member of the Rotary Club of Sumner, MS and the Rotary Club of Memphis. He
was Vice-President of the Delta Council, which promotes cotton and was also an
organizing director of the First National Bank of Clarksdale, MS where he
served on the Board of Directors from 1964-1997.
Billy was a World War II veteran and served on the U.S.S. Missouri as a
commissioned Ensign where he witnessed the signing of the Japanese Instrument
of Surrender in September 1945 in Tokyo Bay. He began farming in 1948 and lived
in Vance, MS most of his life until his retirement in 1995 when he moved to
Billy loved tennis and was an avid sportsman with duck hunting being his
passion. He was a life member of both Ducks Unlimited and Delta Waterfowl.
Elizabeth Trippe Nevins, wife of Faculty Emeritus Bob Nevins, died February 16th,
A resident of Jackson, MS since 1967, Gracanne
was born in Kansas City, MO June 18, 1929 to Blanche (Battershill) and Alvin
Chamberlaine Trippe. She graduated from college in 1953 with majors in Spanish
and music. Gracanne began her career doing live TV commercials and was a TV
show program host in the early years of television broadcasting in Columbia,
Gracanne married Robert Benjamin Nevins in 1957 and together they had four
children. Gracanne and Bob spent 6 years in Starkville, MS at Mississippi State
University where she was involved in a variety of operatic and musical
performances at MSU, including performing the lead role of Adele in a production
of Die Fledermaus by the Department of Music. After moving to Jackson in 1967,
she completed Advanced Studies in Music and Music Theory from Millsaps College
and taught music to scores of preschool and elementary children in the Jackson
area for over 20 years. Gracanne was a member of the highly acclaimed Musica
Sacra Singers, a choral group that specialized in 14th-16th century works. She
was a member of St. James Episcopal Church choir and frequent lead soloist for
many years. She was also a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution
and the Jackson Caledonian Society. She enjoyed travel, patronizing the arts,
her supper club, playing bridge and spending time with her grandchildren.
Gracanne was preceded in death by her brother, Kenneth Alvin Battershill
Trippe. She is survived by her husband of 59 years and her children Robert
(Sharon) Nevins and their children Catherine, Bobby, Brian and Melanie; Grace
(Charles) Krauss, and their daughters Carolyn and Emily; Christopher (Candace)
Nevins and his children Alexander, Dalton, Trippe and Elizabeth; and Jennifer
(Wayne) Henson and their sons Benjamin and Daniel.
Carroll Smith, Class of 1957, died February 22nd, 2017.
Robert was born in
Greenville, MS on February 14, 1935, and moved to Jackson in 1939. He earned
his BS in Mathematics from Millsaps College in 1957. During his time at
Millsaps, he was an avid member of the Kappa Alpha Order Fraternity.
Bearing a highly
technical mind, he designed over 100 houses before entering the burgeoning
field of Information Technology in 1963 where he supported Mainframes and
Electronic Data Systems for multiple institutions including several local banks
and ultimately retired from Blue Cross Blue Shield as their Security Manager of
His immense love of
music began in high school where he was actively involved in the Varsity band,
which led him to be elected to serve as the Band Captain his Senior Year. He
developed a secondary career as a Jazz musician playing in The Over-the-Hill
Jazz band performing from New Orleans to Connecticut. Robert played clarinet, saxophone,
and some piano.
Throughout his life Robert
enjoyed many hobbies, becoming a self-taught craftsman in multiple trades.
These hobbies included enjoying the outdoors through fishing, hunting, camping,
golfing, coaching youth sports, and especially woodworking.
Maples, Class of 1977, died February 25th, 2017.
Phillip died February 25th, in his home after a
brief but hard-fought struggle with cancer.
Survivors include his wife, Peg, daughter Emily and son, Dylan; father, Dudley
Maples; brother, Mike Maples; sister, Deborah Maples; and nine nieces and
nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother, Helen Bond Maples.
After graduating from Millsaps College, Phillip went to work for his father at
Maples Gas Company. Through the years, when not at the office, he enjoyed golf
Phillip was known for his wit and sarcasm, his love of
flying and cats. Famous for wearing humorous T-shirts and Converses, his family
invites any who desire to join them in wearing either or both as we celebrate
The family would like to especially thank Dr. Bobby Clark, Dr. Matt Cassell,
Dr. John Blackwell, the staff at Anderson's Interventional Radiology Department
and Meridian Oncology Clinic for their care during his last six months.
McNeill Lee, Class of 1957, died February 25th, 2017.
Marylyn McNeill Lee was born September 15, 1936
in Magee, Mississippi. She graduated from high school in 1953 and went on to
graduate from Millsaps College in 1957 with a degree in Sociology.
Marylyn worked for Bell South for 37 years,
retiring in 1994. She was an active member of the Telephone Pioneers of America
on both the local and state level. She was a founding member of the Copiah
County Art Association and the Copiah County Historical and Genealogical
Society. She was also an active member of the Crystal Springs United Methodist
Marylyn, fondly referred to as "Mimi"
by her family, was a devoted wife and mother who loved spending time with her family.
She loved animals of all kinds, drawing and was an avid reader. A prolific
talker, Marylyn never met a moment of silence she couldn't fill, given the
opportunity. Marylyn relied on her strong faith and Christian beliefs for
guidance in her life. She was a three-time survivor of cancer.
She was preceded in death by parents, Neil and
Mary Ethel "Katie" Howell McNeill, and brothers Claude Talmadge McNeill
and Howell Neil McNeill. She is survived by the love of her life and husband of
fifty years, Don Lee, and her children, Michael Lee and Amy Lee (Brandon) Manley,
many nieces and nephews, as well as great and great-great nieces & nephews,
whom she adored.
Jean Dear Whitfield, Class of 1945, died March 1st, 2017.
A native of Star, MS, Billie Jean Dear Whitfield resided in Florence where she was a member of First Baptist Church. After graduating from Millsaps College she taught school in Magee and Tupelo before marrying Dr. John S. Whitfield in 1952. Billie Jean loved her family, walks in the country, and her pets. She was an avid reader, and went to the library weekly.
Billie Jean is survived by her son, Barry Whitfield; daughter, Donna Whitfield; grandchildren, Sean Tadlock and Kati Whitfield; and great grandchild, Landreigh.
The family wishes to extend their gratitude to her caregivers, Joanna, Sandy, Katie, Angel, and Dana for their love and care.
Sanford McDavid, Class of 1954, died March 4th, 2017.
Sylvia Sanford McDavid was born in Philadelphia, MS, the daughter of W. H. and Bernice Sanford, who predeceased her in death, as did her sister, Neeley Sanford. She graduated from Philadelphia High School within three years and from Millsaps College within three years, where she a was a member of the debate team and Kappa Delta sorority. She graduated from law school within two years. During the first year she was one of only three female law students. During the second year she was the only female student.
Soon after graduation from law school in 1956, she married law school classmate, John Land McDavid. They moved to New Orleans where John was employed. When their first child arrived, Mrs. McDavid became a full-time wife, mother and homemaker.
Sylvia and her family moved to Jackson in 1959 where they have lived until the present day. She and John also enjoyed traveling: over the years they traveled to all fifty U.S. States, to all ten Canadian provinces, 32 European countries and additional countries in Central American, South America and Africa. Sylvia especially enjoyed cruises. When Sylvia became 60 years old she began a water aerobics class which evolved into an informal luncheon club the group called the "Aqua Bubbles." The wonderful friendships she made at water aerobics with the Aqua Bubbles meant a great deal to her. Sylvia was a member of the First Baptist Church of Jackson.
E. Bell, former Millsaps faculty, died March 5th, 2017, in his home.
Dr. Bell was a
son of Cecil Edward Bell and Lola Nadine Cumpton Bell of Kennett. He was born
near Kennett on December 29, 1933. An exceptional athlete and scholar, he
graduated from high school in 1951 and received many scholarship offers.
and playing varsity football and baseball in college, he met his beloved future
wife, Phyllis Anne Rose, a daughter of Thomas Ivan Rose and Anna Hannah Edwards
Rose. He and Phyllis married July 23, 1954 at First Presbyterian Church in
Liberty, Mo. He graduated with an A.B. in Biology in 1955, then served in the
U.S. Army for two years. Sent to Baumholder, Germany, he served as a radio
operator assigned to the 29th Tank Battalion, 2nd Armored Division.
In 1957, he and
Phyllis moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico where he resumed his studies. In 1960
he received his Master of Science in Biology, with a focus on physiology and
microbiology. While earning that degree, he and Phyllis had their first child,
a son named Blake Allen Bell.
In 1960, the
family moved to Jackson, Miss. where Ron became a Professor of Biology at
Millsaps College. Soon, he and Phyllis had their second child, a daughter named
Tracy Lynne Bell. In 1968, while working on his thesis and continuing to
publish his research, he became Chairman of the Biology Department. In 1971 he
completed his doctoral thesis, “Immunological and Biochemical Aspect of
Hormonally Induced Polyarteritis Nodosa,” received his Ph.D. in Biology, and
earned tenure as a Professor of Biology and Chairman of the Biology Department
In 1978, Dr.
Bell left Millsaps to become Dean of the College and a Professor of Biology at
Central Methodist College (now Central Methodist University) in Fayette, Mo.
where he maintained a limited teaching load. During his 14 year tenure at
Central, he also had post-graduate studies during summers at Carnegie-Mellon
University. He left Central to become Dean of the Faculty at Phillips
University in Enid, Okla. As he edged toward retirement, in late 1993 he and
his wife moved to Edmond, Okla. and he joined the Omniplex Science Museum (now
the Science Museum Oklahoma) in Oklahoma City where he served as Program
Coordinator until he retired.
In addition to
his Masters and Doctoral theses, Dr. Bell authored and co-authored nearly a
dozen published academic papers. He also received multiple National Science
Foundation fellowship awards and grants to further his research.
Willis C. Woody, Jr., Class of 1965, died March
Willis C. Woody, Jr. was born on February 3rd, 1939 in Honolulu, Hawaii to Mary McConnell Woody and Willis C. Woody Sr., who preceded him in death.
Willis received his undergraduate degree in Economics from Millsaps College and his graduate degree from USC. Woody, a navigator of C-130's, served as an officer in the United States Air Force. His career spanned 24 years, including 2 tours of Vietnam where he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross. He will be remembered for his love of people, sailing, golfing, and fishing. He was a loyal member of Trinity United Methodist Church and Fort Walton Yacht Club.
Reverend D. Keith Tonkel, Class of 1958, died March 7th, 2017.
Keith Tonkel, who preached and lived a message
of reconciliation, died at age 81 of complications from throat cancer. For 63
years, 48 of them at Wells Memorial United Methodist Church, Keith Tonkel talked
and lived an active ministry of reconciliation--with God and among humans. His
message and dedicated service led countless alienated persons back to a belief
in God and reaffirmed the faith of the faithful. He touched lives across the
He worked tirelessly advancing the belief that God's grace would overcome the
differences--social, cultural and racial--that divided people and separated
them from their loving Creator.
In a year of racial turmoil, 1963, he was part of a small group of Methodist ministers
who took a bold public stand against segregation and racism. He preached and
taught reconciliation then, just as he would preach reconciliation of other
differences through the decades that followed. "Loving, Caring,
Sharing" were words he frequently used and they became the motto of the
little church on Jackson's Bailey Avenue that would serve as his home-base for
Born in New Orleans on January 15, 1936, he was reared in the Crescent City and
in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. He graduated from Millsaps College in Jackson,
and underwent cancer surgery the next day. He was told by doctors that he had
maybe six months to live. He credited the prayers of thousands with his
successful recovery from that cancer.
He graduated from theology school and was ordained as an elder in the Methodist
Church in 1962, assigned to Guinn Memorial Methodist Church in Gulfport, where
he served for seven years.During his years at Guinn, Keith Served as a single
foster parent for children under the jurisdiction of the Harrison County Youth
Court, and in 1968, he acquired a partner in that effort and his larger
ministry by marrying Patsy Joyce Myrick, who died on June 9, 2011.
In 1969, he was assigned to the pastorate at Wells Memorial United Methodist
Church on Bailey Avenue in Jackson. To supplement his token salary at Wells, he
signed on to do a radio show on WSLI in Jackson, a move that broadened the
reach of his ministry.
As his congregations grew, he was able to accept invitations to conduct
revivals, seminars and camp meetings across and beyond the state of
Mississippi. At one point in his ministry he was leading as many as 30 revivals
a year--always sharing the message of reconciliation through God's grace.
The church became active in mission work
outside the country, focusing on the village of Tlalamac, Mexico where teams
led by Keith made more than 1O annual trips.
He performed weddings and funerals, turning aside offers of honoraria, saying
it was his "gift of love." One of the recipients of that wedding gift
was so moved he offered to organize a fundraising event for the church. That
event is WellsFest, a day-long family music and fun festival, which has raised
more than $1 million for local non-profit service organizations in its 33-year
history. His voice became weakened when cancer appeared again, so his ministry
expanded to the internet. He began a daily blog that appears on the Wells
website, in two places on Facebook and more recently on his personal website.
Keith also wrote four books: Finally the Dawn, an account of an
evangelical trip to England during his Millsaps years; HeartStuff, a
volume of "stoetry"--story and poetry; GodStuff, a sequel; and
Red Door, Green Door, a children's book.
Dr. Gilliam Swink “Doc” Hicks, Jr., Class of
1972, died March 13th, 2017.
Doc Hicks was born in Natchez, Mississippi, and
attended Natchez Public Schools. He was a cum laude graduate of Millsaps
College and later went on to complete his medical degree. Doc served at the
Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi, from 1978 -
1993,offering his medical and leadership skills as director of the Diabetic
Clinic, director of the Medical Consult Service, and chief of the Section of
General Internal Medicine.
Doc became a fulltime faculty member with the
Department of Medicine at the University Of Mississippi School of Medicine in
1994, and spent the latter years of his career teaching, encouraging, and
inspiring the next generation of physicians. Doc was named Clinical Faculty
Member of the Year in 2000, voted Teacher of the Year by the internal medicine
residents in 2001, and voted an Allstar Teacher by the internal medicine
residents in 2007.
In addition to teaching, Doc served as medical
director of the Department of Medicine Ambulatory Clinic and an attending
physician in the Ambulatory Care Clinic at University of Mississippi Medical
Center. He retired in 2015 and was bestowed the title of Professor Emeritus.
Doc and his wife of 32 years, Susan Upton Hicks, shared a life of love,
laughter, and adventure. Doc and Susan traveled to Belgium, Canada, England,
France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Scotland, Spain, and Turkey, as
well as throughout the United States.
The Hicks' home in Madison reflected their love
of art and culture, but was more notable for the warmth found within its doors.
Together, Doc and Susan built a circle of close friends who looked forward to
lively gatherings at the Hicks' home featuring delicious meals and Doc's
signature margaritas or mint juleps. Doc and Susan introduced their friends to
one another, building a close-knit community of people who otherwise might
never have met.Doc was a passionate supporter of conservation efforts. He was a
member of the Sierra Club and the Nature Conservancy, and met his wife through
a Sierra Club connection. (Doc's family feels certain he would like to remind
readers that global warming is happening and is not an alternative fact.)
When he was not traveling with Susan, Doc
enjoyed semi-annual hiking trips to the Smoky Mountains, Glacier National Park,
points along the Appalachian Trail, and the wilderness areas of California. Doc
returned from these adventures with a renewed commitment to protecting the
wilderness he found so soothing and inspiring.
Hal G. Fiser, father of Millsaps Professor
Harvey L. Fiser, died March 20th, 2017.
Hal Fiser was born in Briensburg, Kentucky, in 1928. After
earning a bachelor's degree in biology and a master's degree from the
University of Mississippi, Hal moved to Clarksdale in 1950 to teach high school
science and to coach basketball.
He then served as a sergeant in the United States Army before returning to
Clarksdale with his bride, Harvey Ross Young. Hal soon became interested in the
real estate and then insurance businesses, earning one of the earliest and
longest held insurance licenses in the state. He opened the Hal Fiser Agency in
Clarksdale, serving the town's real estate and insurance needs for over sixty
years. While contributing to the development of Clarksdale through his business
interests, Hal was also active in numerous civic and community organizations.
Hal and Harvey were founding members of St. Paul's United Methodist Church
where they served as lay leaders and as Sunday School teachers. Hal was on the
Clarksdale Chamber of Commerce, serving for a time as its president and honored
as Clarksdale's Citizen of the Year in 2010. He also served on the Industrial
Foundation Board of Directors, on the Library Board, as a founder and chairman
of Citizens for Clarksdale, and as past president of the Clarksdale Board of
In addition to his business and civic interests, Hal enjoyed contributing to
Clarksdale's social life. He was a founding member of the Higher Mathematics
and Art Appreciation Club, the local poker group. Hal and Harvey could
occasionally be spotted dancing to the music of Super Chikan celebrating the
rich culture of the Mississippi Delta. Hal is also known by many in the
community for his Christmas Eve gift deliveries and visits.
Hal enjoyed hunting and fishing, especially sharing time with his family on the
Mississippi River at Burkes Hunting Club. He and Harvey were voracious
travelers, always planning their next adventure.