By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal Corinth Bureau
CORINTH – Known as a man who did things his own way, beloved Corinth funeral director Bill McPeters died Saturday at age 90.
Funeral services are set for 4 p.m. Wednesday at McPeters Funeral Directors, with visitation afterward at the Weaver Center.
McPeters had been home recuperating for several months after suffering third-degree burns on the lower part of his body during an accidental fire at his home on Oct. 17.
He underwent surgery and weeks of rehabilitation at Crossgates River Oaks Hospital Burn Unit in Brandon.
Close family friend Jay Jones had known McPeters since he was a child.
“My dad was in the funeral business, and I had always been fascinated with him, the way he dressed,” Jones said. “He wore a tie for a belt for years. We had good times, fun times, laughed and cried.”
Jones said the Corinth community had missed McPeters in the months he has been ill.
“He was a colorful gentleman and really an ambassador for Corinth,” he said. “He turned 90 the week before last, and I guess his old body just kind of wore out on him.”
Even to his final days Jaylene Whitehurst said he was an inspiration to her.
Whitehurst recalled a couple of deaths in her family when she was a preschooler when McPeters made his first impression on her.
She worked as a grief counselor at the funeral home with him from about 2002-2005 and got to know him even better.
“I think all the funerals I went to until I was about 25 were handled by Bill, and he set a high standard for how they were supposed to be conducted,” Whitehurst said. “I got to know when I worked at the funeral home the kind of generosity he had and the lengths he would go to see that people’s needs were met. For all of Bill’s flamboyance, he was not flamboyant with that.”
Tangible memorials to McPeters’ community spirit and generosity remain, with benches along downtown streets for pedestrians to sit.
He was a founding member of the Make Corinth Beautiful Commission and Alcorn County Humane Society, and he helped establish the Corinth Horse Show.
He is survived by his wife, Judy, three children and three grandchildren.