Obituaries October 2, 2010

W.C. Roper
BELDEN – Walter Carol Roper, 86, died Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010, at Rosewood Residence. A Lee County native, he was born June 15, 1924, to Leonard and Gladys Roper. He grew up in the Unity Community and graduated from Belden High School. He married Blanche Young on July 12, 1946. He was a longtime resident of Belden and a member of Belden Baptist Church. A veteran of World War II, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the South Pacific and participated in action in Saipan, Okinawa and Iwo Jima. He dedicated 38 years of service to the Savings Oil Company, which he regarded as an extension of his own family. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather who enjoyed spending time with his family. He will always be remembered for his friendly smile and great sense of humor.
Services will be 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010, at The Jefferson Street Chapel of W.E. Pegues with Dr. Don Baggett and Dr. David Eldridge officiating. Burial with military honors will be in Belden Cemetery.
Survivors include one son, C.J. (Junior) Roper and wife, Kaye Gibson Roper; three grandchildren, Ron Roper and wife, Tara Thomas Roper, Ryan Roper and wife, Shelley Cartwright Roper, and Kaycee Roper Burrell and husband, Benjamin Burrell; and three great-grandchildren, Lily Mayo Roper, Thomas Gibson Roper and Sadie Frances Roper, all of Tupelo; his sisters, Dollie Whitney of Osceola, Ark., and Annie May Morris of West Memphis, Ark.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years, Blanche Roper; his parents; an infant son, Timothy Roper; and his brother, Leon Roper.
Pallbearers will be Reuben Greer, Jerry Webb, Jay Morris, Mike Gibson, Dr. Don Whitney, Ron Roper, Ryan Roper and Benjamin Burrell.
Honorary pallbearers will be the Coffee Drinkers at Jean’s Store, his longtime friends who officially voted him “Chairman of the Board.”
Visitation will be 1 p.m. to service time at the funeral home.
The family appreciates all of the thoughts, prayers and countless visits during his stay at Rosewood Residence, which made “Pepaw’s” journey home much easier for us all. We would also like to extend our love and gratitude to each of his caregivers at Rosewood.
Memorials may be made to Belden Baptist Church, 4121 McCullough Blvd., Belden, MS 38826.
Expressions of sympathy may be left at www.peguesfuneralhome.com.
Dr. Thurmond Beasley
TUPELO – Dr. Thurmond Beasley died Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010, as the result of a car accident in Anniston, Ala.
Born Dec. 30, 1943, in New Albany to the parentage of Dock and Ella Jones Beasley, Thurmond was reared and nurtured in a Christian home. Thurmond acknowledged the need for salvation early in life and received the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior at Watson Grove Baptist Church in New Albany, where he was a lifelong member and served on the Deacon Ministry.
He received his formal education from Union County Training School/BF Ford High in 1962, continued his education at Jackson State University, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 1965. His passion for medicine became evident when he attended Meharry Medical College and graduated in 1971 with a Doctor of Dental Science. He spent a year of residency at the University of Pennsylvania and was a proud graduate of Harvard University’s anesthesiology program.
Thurmond practiced anesthesiology at Union County Hospital along with his first dental practice with Dr. Edwards. A couple of years later, he worked alongside Dr. Thomas in Tupelo, and upon Dr. Thomas’ retirement, took over his office. He continued his love of anesthesiology at North Mississippi Medical Center. Thurmond was privileged to be a member of numerous organizations, including: American Dental Association, Mississippi Dental Association, The Mississippi Dental Board, The National Black Dental Society, Southern Conference of Dental Deans and Examiners, American Association of Dental Boards, American Society of Dental Anesthesiology; a deputy sheriff; Three Rivers Planning and Development Committee Board member; NAACP member; the founder of Political Action Committee in New Albany; one of the founders of The Jackson State Alumni, Tupelo Chapters; and a proud member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.
Services will be at 2:30 p.m. today, Oct. 2, 2010, at New Albany High School Auditorium. The Rev. Colbert Graham will officiate. Burial will be in New Albany City Cemetery. Beasley Funeral Home of New Albany and N.L. Jones & Son Funeral Directors of Tupelo are in charge of the arrangements.
The immortal existence of Dr. Thurmond Beasley became a reality on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010. Those left to rejoice in the promise of eternal life are his loving children, Phyllis Ferguson, Veronica Hayes, Tia Beasley, Eric Beasley, Thomas (Aisha) and Richard Beasley; two brothers, Tommie (Frances) Beasley and Dr. Herman Beasley (Deborah); one sister, Minerva (Rev. Colbert) Graham; 13 grandchildren; and a host of friends who loved him very much.
He was preceded in death by his loving parents, Dock and Ella Jones Beasley.

Elsie Ashford
WATER VALLEY – Elsie Lavenier Brewer Ashford, 89, died Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2010, in Greenville.
Services will be at 2 p.m. today at the Water Valley Church of Christ. Burial will be in Oak Hill Cemetery in Water Valley. Seven Oaks Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Water Valley Church of Christ.
Online condolences may be made at www.sevenoaksfuneralhome.com.
Pete Stanford
AMORY – Willie “Pete” Stanford, 74, died on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010, at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo. Born on Dec. 24, 1935, in Hatley, he was the son of the late Clifton and Cora Lee Parish Stanford.
After more than 40 years of service, Mr. Stanford retired as the shipping department manager at Amory Garment. He was a member of Meadowood Baptist Church and a member of the Army National Guard for eight years. Always staying busy, he enjoyed working in the yard and attending to things that needed attention. He also looked forward to spending time with his family, especially Sunday dinners and special occasions.
Services will be at 2 p.m. today at the E.E. Pickle Funeral Home with Bro. Lloyd Sweatt officiating. Burial will follow in Harmony Cemetery.
He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Joan Stanford of Amory; sons, Doug (Becky) Stanford of Amory and Mark (Amy) Stanford of Tupelo; grandchildren, John (Casey) Stanford, Beverly Stanford (T.J.) Wright, Brady Stanford and Emma Stanford; and five great-grandchildren.
Pallbearers will be Tony Parker, Jimmy Vaughn, Jack Inman, Jason Gallop, Ray Gallop, Ronald Parham, James Carter and Roy Parham. Honorary pallbearers will be fellow co-workers from Amory Garment.
Visitation will continue today until the service hour.
Memories and condolences may be shared and viewed at www.eepicklefuneralhome.com.
Ruby Reno
BOONEVILLE – Ruby Burks Reno, 100, died Friday, Oct. 1, 2010, at Longwood Community Living Center in Booneville.
Services will be at 2 p.m. Monday at the Booneville Funeral Home Chapel. Burial will be in Liberty Cemetery.
Visitation will be from 5 until 8 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.
Doug Wood
FULTON – Douglas “Doug” Wood, 65, died Friday, Oct. 1, 2010, at the Mississippi State Veterans Home in Oxford. He was born June 13, 1945, in Lansing, Mich., to Benjamin E. and Louise Ellis Wood. He attended Jones Chapel Baptist Church in Nettleton. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, he was employed by McClouth Steel Corp. in Trenton, Mich., as a crane operator. He enjoyed bowling, hunting, fishing and watching Michigan football.
Services will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Senter Funeral Home Chapel with Bro. Bill Payne and Bro. Bill Monaghan officiating. Burial will be in Itawamba Memorial Garden.
Survivors include his mother, Louise Wood of Nettleton; one brother, Edward Wood (Phyllis) of Cummings, Ga.; two sisters, Judy Payne (Bro. Bill) of Nettleton and Rebecca Mondon (Tom) of Woodhaven, Mich.; three nephews, two nieces and three great-nieces.
He was preceded in death by his father, Benjamin E. (John) Wood; one sister, Audrey Wood; his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. William Adolphus Wood, and Mr. and Mrs. Clive Ellis.
Pallbearers will be Richie Steele, Bobby Hendrix, Clois Steele, John Hall, Tim Lewis and Donnie Carlisle.
Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. today and 8 a.m. until service time Sunday.
Ruby Clark
TUPELO – Ruby Nell Pitts Clark, 74, died Friday, Oct. 1, 2010, at the North Mississippi Medical Center after an extended illness. An Itawamba County native, she was born July 18, 1936, to A.J. and Alma Yeager Pitts. She was raised in the Kirkville community and attended Itawamba Community College. Her working career began with Milam Manufacturing where she gave 15 years of service. She then worked 11 years for Rockwell International, later worked for Wesson Eye Clinic and then retired from McRae’s Department Store. She enjoyed flowers and shopping. She was a longtime member of First Baptist Church.
Services will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at The Jefferson Street Chapel of W.E. Pegues with Rev. Dave Jensen and Dr. Gayle Alexander officiating. Burial will be in Lee Memorial Park.
Survivors include her husband of nearly 50 years, Millard Clark of Tupelo; her son, Chuck Clark (Deanna) of Smithville; two brothers, Lawrence Pitts of Westhaven, Conn., and A.J. Pitts Jr. of Tupelo; her sister, Willadean Pitts Payne of Rossville, Ga.; two stepgrandchildren, Macy and Micah McCain.
She was preceded in death by her parents and her brothers, Bonnie Ray Pitts and Lewis Pitts.
Pallbearers will be Phillip Pitts, Mike Pitts, Justin Pitts, Buzz Goodson, Will Goodson and Tony Miles.
Visitation will be 5 to 8 p.m. today at the funeral home.
Expressions of sympathy may be left at www.peguesfuneralhome.com.
Eunice Johnson
RIPLEY – Eunice Murley Johnson, 93, died Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010, at Sanctuary Hospice House in Tupelo. The first of 12 children, she was born March 30, 1917, in Tippah County Robert Hamilton and Nina Mae Wallis Murley. She retired from Biltrite Corp. and enjoyed caring for small children for several years following her retirement. She and her family were charter members of Christ United Methodist Church in Ripley. Her true calling was teaching and mentoring children, but she was also a lay speaker and served in many elected and appointed positions within the church and the district.
Services were Friday, Oct. 1, at McBride Funeral Home Chapel in Ripley with the Rev. Scott Falgout officiating. Burial was in New Prospect Cemetery in Ripley.
Survivors include one daughter, Sandra Pumphrey of Ripley; one son, Ronnie Johnson (Trish) of Tupelo; four grandchildren, Melanie Tutor (Nathan), Chris Burks (Brett), Marty Windham (Valerie) and Marc Windham (Lindsey); eight great-grandchildren, Rachel and Rebecca Tutor, Bryson and Wesley Burks, Kiersten Windham, Emilee Nall, Blaine and McKayla Welker; four sisters, Hazel Huneycutt, Eula Bryan, Evelyn Johnson and Linda Bishop (Curtis); five brothers, Pascal “Pat” Murley, Dennis Murley (Peggy), E.J. Murley (Annie), Archie Murley (Linda) and Harold Murley (Joyce); two sisters-in-law, Lela Mae Johnson and Mardell Murley Nance; and friends, Rachel Michael, and Beverly, Heath and Tom Moffitt.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 43 years, Euclid Harold Johnson; her parents; and two brothers, Breland and Leland “Red” Murley.
Pallbearers were Marty Windham, Marc Windham, Brett Burks, Nathan Tutor, Phillip Bronson and Troy Stanford. Honorary pallbearers will be Bryson Burks, Wesley Burks and Blaine Welker.
Memorials may be made to Christ United Methodist Church, c/o Bobby Shelton, 593 E. Walnut, Ripley, MS 38663 or Sanctuary Hospice House, P.O. Box 2177, Tupelo, MS 38803.
To view and sign the online guestbook, visit www.mcbridefuneralhome.com.
Colton Grissom
RIPLEY – Colton Louis Grissom, 6, died Friday, Oct. 1, 2010, at the University Medical Center in Jackson. Arrangements are incomplete and will be announced later by McBride Funeral Home of Ripley. Visitation will be from 5 to 9 p.m. today at the funeral home.
Millie Swenkoske
BOONEVILLE – Mildred “Millie” Swenkoske, 65, died Friday, Oct. 1, 2010, at her residence in Booneville. She was born May 8, 1945, to Roy Quinn and Willie Oswalt Quinn. After graduating from high school, she moved to Zion, Ill., where she lived until retiring. In 2007 she moved back to Booneville. She was a member of Crestwood Baptist Church.
Services will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at Ripley Funeral Home Chapel with Bro. Jackie Spencer, Bro. Ed Lowery and Bro. Bill Baker officiating. Burial will be in Pine Grove Cemetery.
She is survived by her husband, Charles “Chuck” Swenkoske of Booneville; five sisters, Virginia Robbins, Birdie Garrison, Betty Quinn and Jo Nell Jeter (Wade), all of Ripley, and Mattie Thunderburk (Lee) of Dumas; one brother, Jimmy Quinn of Booneville; one sister-in-law, Maxine Quinn of Dumas; and one brother-in-law, Stanley Dobnikar of Miramar, Fla.
She was preceded in death by her parents; one son, John Swanson; one sister, Dorothy Dobnikar; five brothers, James, Junior, Thomas, Charles and Leroy Quinn.
Pallbearers will be Chris Garrison, Brian Stewart, Tim Dunahue, Rod Larson, Terry Thunderburk, Bobby Carpenter, Leonard Crumpton and Wade Jeter. Honorary pallbearers will be Wade Robbins, Wayne Robbins, Jeff Thunderburk, Vince Adair, John Holbein, Mark Kane, Martin Meyer, Jim Brumley, Rusty Stewart, Clayton Hastings and Thomas Paglusch.
Visitation will be 4 until 9 p.m. today at Ripley Funeral Home.
To view obituaries on-line and sign guestbook, visit www.ripleyfuneralhome.com.
Cleo Brooks
COLUMBIA – Cleo Wesson Brooks, 89, formerly of Tupelo, died Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010 at The Grove Nursing Facility in Columbia. She was born Oct. 17, 1920, in Lee County to Julius and Minnie Wesson. She was a member of East Main Church of Christ. She loved her family, especially her grandchildren, and her granddog, Jack.
Services will be at 1 p.m. today at Lee Memorial Funeral Home Chapel with Bro. Larry Lott officiating. Burial will be in Lee Memorial Park.
Survivors include her son, Danny Brooks and wife, Sheila, of Columbia; two grandchildren, Perry Brooks of Tupelo and Dana Brooks of Seattle, Wash.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Guy Brooks; a son and daughter-in-law, Philip Dwayne and Sheila Agee Brooks; and five brothers, Grady Wesson, Hoy Wesson, Merle Wesson, Billy Wesson and Trenton Wesson.
Visitation will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the East Main Church of Christ or the Palmer Home in Columbus.
For online condolences and guest registry, visit www.leememorialonline.com.
Lillie Russell
BOONEVILLE – Lillie Faye Russell, 62, died Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2010, at the North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo. She was born July 12, 1948, in Mississippi County, Ark., to Wheeler and Ina Faye Jones Sparks. She was a homemaker, and she was a member of Grissom Chapel Holiness Church and Mt. Olive Church of God. She loved attending church and singing. She was a wonderful mother.
Services will be at 2 p.m. today at Mt. Olive Church of God with Bro. Larry Marshall and Bro. Donald Boren officiating. Burial will be in Jones Cemetery near Jacinto. Booneville Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
She is survived by her husband, Jimmy Russell; three sons, Lucky Lee Russell of Pensacola, Fla., Jimmy Wayne Russell (Glenda) of Booneville and Tim Russell (Tonya) of Glen; a daughter, Laura Huggins (Darren) of Booneville; four sisters, Vater Day of Lepanto, Ark., Velma Pee (Mark), Dorothy Rhoads, all of Booneville, and Fern White of California; and 14 grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; and two brothers, Segars Sparks and George Sparks.
Pallbearers are Joslyn Russell, James Cameron Russell, Kenny Mace, Nathan Rhoads, Andy Jackson and Ricky McAnally.
Visitation will continue at 9 a.m. today at the church.
Gloria Saarela
ALGOMA – Gloria Marge Saarela, 81, died Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010, at the North Mississippi Medical Center in Pontotoc. A native of Elmhurst, Ill., she was a resident of the Graceland Nursing Home. She was the mother of eight children.
Services will be at 11 a.m. today at Tutor Memorial Funeral Home Chapel in Pontotoc with Bro. Tootie Ward officiating. Burial will be in Pontotoc City Cemetery.
Survivors include one daughter, Tammy Cooper (Mike) of Algoma; two granddaughters, Candice Cooper of Tupelo and Melanie Holley (Adam) of Hattiesburg; three daughters, Janet Haelterman (Ed) of Hermansville, Mich., Linda Rochon of Norway, Mich., and Bonnie Haelterman of Marquette, Mich.; two sons, Jeff Saarela of Marquette, Mich., and Richard Saarela of Appelton, Wis.; 20 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandchild.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; two daughters, Debby Penberthy and Donna Haelterman.
Pallbearers will be Mike Nielsen, Micah Nielsen, Adam Holley and Josh Christopher.
Visitation will be from 9 to 11 a.m. today.
Rafael Garcia
TUPELO – Rafael P. Garcia, 38, died Friday, Oct. 1, 2010, at Sanctuary Hospice House after a brief illness. Local arrangements are pending and will be announced later by Holland Funeral Directors, Tupelo Chapel. Burial will be in his native Guatemala.
John D. Lawrence
CALHOUN CITY – John D. Lawrence, 78, died Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010, at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford.
Services will be at noon Sunday at Double Springs M.B. Church. Burial will be in Double Springs Cemetery. Belle Memorial Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.
Visitation will begin at 11 a.m. Sunday at the church.
To sign the guest registry, visit www.bellememorialfuneralhome.com.
Billy E. Ray
MEMPHIS – Billy E. Ray, 86, formerly of Calhoun City, died Sunday, Sept. 26, 2010, at the Veterans Medical Center in Memphis.
Graveside services will be at 4 p.m. Monday at Sabougla Cemetery in Calhoun City. Pryor Funeral Home of Calhoun City is in charge of the arrangements.
Sambo Bridges
BOONEVILLE – Samuel J. “Sambo” Bridges, 71, died Friday, Oct. 1, 2010, at the North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo. Arrangements are incomplete and will be announced later by Booneville Funeral Home.
Charles O. McIntosh
OKOLONA – Charles O. McIntosh died Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010, at Gilmore Memorial Regional Medical Center in Amory. Arrangements are incomplete and will be announced later by Darden and Sons Funeral Home of Amory.

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