UPDATE: Starkville fire victim remembered

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

Nearly 400 people crammed into Pine Grove Missionary Baptist Church near the Oktibbeha-Noxubee county line Tuesday afternoon for the funeral of Lakesha Gillespie, one of the nine victims of last week’s apartment fire in Starkville.
Gillespie’s funeral was the second of three being held this week. Services for Castella “Maria” Bell and her three children were held Monday. The funeral for India Williams and her three children is Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the Starkville Sportsplex.
At Tuesday’s service, which lasted more than an hour and a half, friends and family remembered Gillespie, 20, as someone who was “always happy and loved to draw, sing and dance.”

How to help
DONATIONS: Residents displaced by the fire are being aided by the Oktibbeha County chapter of the American Red Cross. The Red Cross is also collecting money to help families with funeral expenses. To donate, donate to, send funds and other items to 100 Felix Long Drive, Starkville, MS 39759, or call 662-323-4621.

Restaurant fundraiser
The Little Dooey restaurant in Starkville will donate 15 percent of its Wednesday sales and 100 percent of servers’ tips to the Starkville Red Cross to help pay for the funerals of those killed in Thursday’s fires at Academy Crossing apartments. The restaurant will be open from 7 a.m.-8:30 p.m.

Information from the Columbus Commercial Dispatch was used in this report.

Read more in Wednesday’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.