Rep. Jessica Upshaw

DIAMONDHEAD – Jessica Sibley Upshaw, 53, passed away Sunday, March 24, 2013. She was born on Aug. 31, 1959, in Meridian and raised in Okolona.

After earning a bachelor of business administration and juris doctorate degrees at the University of Mississippi, she entered the legal profession. She practiced law with firms in Winona and on the Mississippi Gulf Coast prior to starting her own law practice specializing in worker’s compensation.

Elected to serve in the Mississippi House of Representatives in 2004, she proved herself a vigorous people’s advocate as she ably represented House District 95, including Hancock and Harrison counties. She held various committee assignments and leadership positions during her tenure with the House including chair of the House Conservation and Water Resources Committee which she held at death. She was a leader in the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s recovery from both Hurricane Katrina and the BP Oil spill. She was an advocate for tourism and fiscal responsibility.

She took every opportunity to promote Mississippi. She was active in community, social and civic affiliations, including the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Colonial Dames, the PEO Sisterhood, and Cursillo. She loved traveling and exploring other cultures around the world, accompanied by family, and loved houses. She was a strong Christian and a member of First United Methodist Church in Gulfport.

She will be remembered for her vibrant character, her passion for living and her service to the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

A private graveside service will be Friday. A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday in the sanctuary of Diamondhead Community Church. Visitation will begin at 12:30 p.m. Tutor Funeral Home in Mendenhall is in charge of the arrangements.

Survivors include her daughter, Lauren Upshaw Welch; son-in-law, Thomas Stewart Welch; grandson, Porter Robert Welch; mother, Sandra Saunders Sibley; and sister, Faye Carole Sibley Cleveland.

She was preceded in death by her father, John Dale Sibley; and a brother, John Dale Sibley Jr.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Salvation Army or charity of your choice.

A complete obituary will be published in the Wednesday, April 3, Chickasaw Journal.

Online condolences may be made at

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