Obituaries August 4, 2013

Gene Tate
NEW ALBANY – Gene Perry Tate, age 77, died Friday, August 2, 2013 at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo. He was born November 13, 1935 in Utica to Grover C. and Ida Mae Shealy, and adopted in 1938 by Dr. John E. and Katherine Tate. He was a graduate of the University of Mississippi receiving a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. After receiving his initial degree he attended Naval OCS in Newport, RI, and after graduation served three years aboard the USS Manatee as communications officer and assistant navigator. After receiving his Master’s Degree, with a major in accounting, he was employed by Ernst & Ernst in their Memphis office. On leaving E&E he purchased an accounting practice in New Albany, and subsequently merged with three other CPA’s to form what is now Nail, McKinney CPA’s, and served as managing partner for several years until his retirement in 1992. In 1992 he and his children assumed control of a transportation business in New Albany, and operated that business until his retirement in 2009. He was an elder at the New Albany Presbyterian Church, former deacon and treasurer, and was currently treasurer of the Mississippi Valley Presbytery, and a board member of church related Dunlap Retirement Center in Brighton, TN. He was married on August 30, 1957 to his wife Mary Sue Richardson Tate.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, August 5, 2013 at the New Albany Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Bill Everett officiating. Burial will be in the Tippah County Memorial Gardens in Ripley. United Funeral Service in New Albany is in charge of the arrangements.

He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years Mary Sue Richardson Tate of New Albany, one brother John Shealy of Colorado Springs, CO, three sons Paul Tate (Melissa) and John Tate (Susan) both of New Albany, and Stephen Tate (Anna) of Bartlett, TN, a daughter Laura Doyle (Shand) of New Albany, six grandsons Zach (Lauren), Eli, Forrest, Andrew, Perry, and Thomas, six granddaughters Ashley, Katie, Mary Beth, Kayla, Caroline, and Anna Kat, and two great grandchildren Grayson and Mary Ellen.

He was preceded in death by his parents Grover and Ida Shealy, his adopted parents Dr. John E. and Katherine Tate, his brother G.C. Shealy, and his sister Grace Wilson.
Pallbearers will be the grandsons with honorary pallbearers the elders of the New Albany Presbyterian Church.

Visitation will be Sunday, August 4, 2013 from 4 p.m. ’til 7 p.m. at the funeral home. The body will lie in state at the church Monday, August 5, 2013 from 10 a.m. ’til 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the New Albany Presbyterian Church, 605 Hwy. 15 S., New Albany, MS 38652, or World Witness, 1 Cleveland Street, Suite 220, Greenville, SC 29601.

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21).

C.S. Lewis, a theologian and teacher, was reported to have said on his death bed, “The term is over. The holidays’ have begun.” Likewise, Gene’s final tax season days are over, and the glorious days with his Lord have begun.
In honor of Mr. Tate, United Funeral Service, Inc. will fly the flag of the United States Navy at the funeral home during visitation and service.

For online condolences visit

Henry Edwin Clayton
Beloved husband and father, Henry Edwin Clayton, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, on July 31, 2013, in Montgomery, Alabama. He was a member of First Baptist Church in Montgomery.

Born June 20, 1927, to Mary Cornelia Sewell and Jefferson Kirk Clayton, on Clayton Street in Tupelo, Mississippi, Edwin grew up loving science, mathematics and music. His curious intellect and quick wit were evident early, and he graduated Tupelo High School in 1944, at age 16. He and another boy scored the highest IQ in the state of Mississippi, and were both awarded scholarships to the University of Chicago. Instead, Edwin opted to attend Mississippi State University, majoring in geology. His studies were interrupted by WWII, when he served as a medic with the 3rd Army Service Corp at Kennedy General in Memphis, a 5000 bed hospital which received the Presidential

Unit Citation during his tenure. Upon returning to Mississippi State to complete his education, Edwin met Odessa Hancock, also from Tupelo, on a blind date. They wed in 1950, and the young couple embarked for New York City where Edwin was an engineer at Westchester Testing. There, he oversaw materials quality assurance for runways in Washington, D.C., Canada and Bermuda. Dwight D. Eisenhower and future presidents would touch down on a runway Mr. Clayton helped to modernize. Later, he joined the family business, Hancock Fabrics, where he expanded the brand into new markets in Texas and Alabama. Even there, Mr. Clayton applied his expertise in technology and
innovation. Having purchased one of the first microcomputers offered, the Tandy TRS 80 (Model I) in 1977, Mr. Clayton created a program to figure drapery yardage based on window dimensions, style of curtain, fabric width and pattern repeat. At the push of a button, it would crunch the data, then print a report showing precise yardage and even the number of drapery pins required. Customers were astonished. More important than career was Edwin’s commitment to family.

Together, he and Odessa built a loving marriage which exemplified faithfulness, respect and generosity – and spanned 62 happy years. He was a caring and devoted father to two adoring daughters, Deborah (Brennan) and Karen, who will forever cherish their memories of hiking in Colorado on family vacations, his twinkling blue eyes, and his smart, ever-present sense of humor.

Mr. Clayton is survived by his wife Odessa, daughters Deborah Brennan of Dothan, AL and Karen Clayton of Dallas, TX, granddaughters Courtney Walker (David) of New York, NY, Chloe Powell (Philip) and great-granddaughter, Alice Powell of Dothan, AL, sister Leontene Tomasetti, and many nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death by a son, Henry Edwin Clayton, Jr., his parents, and brothers Audrey, Wyble, and J.R. Clayton.

A graveside celebration of life will be held on Tuesday, 10:00 am, at Lee Memorial Cemetery in Tupelo. Visitation is Monday evening 5:30-7:30 at Pegues Funeral Home.

Johnnie Duncan
TUPELO – Johnnie Ruth Collier Duncan, 60, passed away Wednesday, July 31, 2013, at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo. She was born to Baby Ruth Collier and Allen Duncan on June 9, 1953. She was a member of Sping Hill M.B. Church.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, Aug. 5, at the Eck & Georgia Shumpert Memorial Chapel in the N.L. Jones Funeral Home in Tupelo with the Rev. Jack Shelton officiating. N.L. Jones Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

She is survived by two sons, Timothy Barker and Aaron Barker; three step children, Cassandra (Jr.) Long, Patsy (Larry) Jenkins, and Raymond Long; two sisters, Gloria Lyles and Marget Dixon; three brothers, John Collier, Ronnie (Marianna)

Collier, and Tommy (Linda) Collier; one grandchild; one great-grandchild; and a host of nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her grandfather, Johnson Collier; and her grandmother, Claria Harris Collier.<b>

Verna Duncan
TUPELO – Verna Jean Duncan, 82, died Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013, at North Mississippi Medical Center Hospice. A Lee County native, she was born April 15, 1931, to Booker Quitman and Mildred Allen McKinney. She was a long-time resident of

Tupelo, living here since 1969. After 25 years of service, she retired from Comcast Cable Company. She was the widow of Calvin Trice Duncan. A collector of glassware and baseball cards, she enjoyed painting and loved spending time with her family. She was a member of Boguefala Baptist Church.

Services will be 3 p.m. today at Jefferson Street Chapel of W.E. Pegues with Rev. David Perry officiating.

Survivors include three sons, John Calvin Duncan (Nancy) and Gregory A. Duncan, both of Tupelo and Randal Wayne Duncan (Ann) of Nettleton; six grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; two sisters, Dorothy Jean Sword and Janice

Maxcy, both of Atlanta, Ga.; and one brother, Wendell McKinney of Houston.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; and one sister, Sybil Snipes.

Visitation will be from 2 to 3 p.m. today at the funeral home.

Expressions of sympathy may be left at

Willie Ray
WEST POINT – Willie Louie Ray, 77, died Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, at his residence in West Point.

Services will be 3 p.m. today at Oliver Funeral Home Chapel. Burial will be in Mt. Zion Cemetery in Webster County. Oliver Funeral Home of Eupora is in charge of arrangements.

Visitation will be from 12:30 to 3 p.m. today at the funeral home.

Myrtle Hankins
FULTON – Myrtle Hankins, 91, died Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013. Arrangements are incomplete and will be announced later by Senter Funeral Home.

Nancy Steed
AMORY – Nancy S. Steed, 86, died Friday, Aug. 2, 2013.

Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. today at E.E. Pickle Funeral Home in Amory. Detailed arrangements will be announced later.

Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at

Cherry Tyson
TAYLOR – Cherry Tyson, 86, died Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, at Baptist Memorial Hospital North Mississippi in Oxford. Arrangements are incomplete and will be announced later by Kenneth I. Roberson Funeral Home of Pontotoc.

James Clay
TUPELO – James “Mose” Clay died Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, at North Mississippi Medical Center. Arrangements are incomplete will be announced later by Grayson-Porters Mortuary.

William Mong
HOLLY SPRINGS – William Eugene Mong, 76, died Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, at Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto. Arrangements are incomplete and will be announced later by Holly Springs Funeral Home.

Zora Tate
BALDWYN – Zora Tate died Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013, at Longwood Manor Nursing Home in Booneville. Arrangements are incomplete and will be announced later by Agnew & Sons Funeral Home of Baldwyn.

Betty Jo Downs
BOONEVILLE – Betty Jo Morris Downs, 82, died Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013, at Landmark Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Booneville. She was born Sept. 4, 1930, to Elmer and Hattie Johnson Morris. She was a head supervisor for Prentiss Manufacturing. She was a member of Gaston Baptist Church and the Gaston Homemakers Club.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 5, at McMillan Funeral Home with Bro. Ben Parman officiating. Burial will be in Gaston Cemetery.

She is survived by one daughter, Vicki (Mark) White of Booneville; two sons, Jimmy (Sadie) Downs of Ripley and Ricky (Karen) Downs of Dry Creek; five grandchildren, Dana (Jimmy) Horton, Berkley (Cindy) Downs, Levi (Natalie) Downs, Dudley (Leann) White and Brandi White Clark; eight great-grandchildren, Reese, Ali, Becca, Luke, Tyler, Hunter, Ryley and Case; and a special friend and companion, Norman Young.

She was preceded in death by her husband, David Arthur Downs; her parents; four sisters; and five brothers.

Pallbearers will be her grandsons and great-grandsons.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Gaston Cemetery Fund, 1908 Gaston Road, Booneville, MS 38829.

Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. today at the funeral home.

Condolences may be left at

Jane Bolton
IUKA – Mamie Jane Bolton, 67, of Iuka, died Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, at Regional Medical Center in Memphis. She was a member of New Prospect Baptist Church. She retired from Tishomingo County Health Department, where she worked as a nurse’s aide for 28 years. She enjoyed cooking, knitting, sewing and gardening.

Services will be 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6, at New Prospect Baptist Church with the Rev. J.B. Burns and the Rev. Doug Christy officiating. Burial will be in New Prospect Cemetery. Cutshall Funeral Home of Iuka is in charge of arrangements.

Survivors include her husband, Wayne A. Bolton of Iuka; one son, Gary Bolton and wife, Beth of Iuka; two daughters, Mitzi Bolton of Tupelo and Leigh Anne Bolton of Iuka; one brother, Billy Vess of Iuka; four sisters, Faye Clark of Walls,

Peggy Hale of Rogers, Ark., Rose Crabtree of Oxford, and Jo Ann Wilbanks of Corinth; three grandchildren, Lindsey Bolton and Ashley Wigginton, both of Iuka, and Jon Bolton of Cumberland Furnace, Tenn.; and four great-grandchildren,

Aubrey Wigginton, Emily Wigginton, Karlie Herrell, and Olivia Bolton.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Louis and Catherine Black Vess.

Visitation will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday, August 5, at the funeral home in Iuka.

Memorial contributions may be made to New Prospect Baptist Church. An online guestbook can be accessed at

Clay McKee
IUKA – Clay McKee, of Iuka, died Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013, at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo. Arrangements are incomplete and will be announced later by Cutshall Funeral Home of Iuka.

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