PATSY R. BRUMFIELD: True tale of McComb character

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

Three words, not to be forgotten: Henry Ed Fly.Sad news that Henry Ed joined the ever-moving caravan Sunday. Only 20 days before, he celebrated his 66th birthday.
Henry Ed graduated from McComb High in 1964 and Ole Miss in ’68. He was a bank examiner and worked in banks in Nashville, McComb and Wiggins.
From his obituary, I am not surprised to learn that he loved working with computers.
Frankly, I’d lost touch with Henry Ed, although we never were close. His younger brother, Dr. J.D. Fly of Jackson, was my MHS classmate and quite the smart fellow.
Henry Ed was really a remarkable personality.
Ever the angler, Henry Ed was legend for carrying around the same $100 bill in his wallet, then shaking his head in lament over a bill that might require him to “break” it. Friends almost always pitched in to prevent the monetary sacrilege.
After a rather under-noticed high school career, he went on to maneuver at Ole Miss in rather high-profile ways.
First, he made no bones about his lucrative weekly travels to Louisiana, where he loaded up his vehicle with alcoholic beverages for a profitable return to campus.
Yes, Henry Ed proudly worked his way through school as a bootlegger until Mississippi went local-option wet.
He also did another remarkable thing, and I wish I’d had a chance to talk with him about this.
As some folks know, Ole Miss elects a Miss Ole Miss and a Colonel Rebel as some kind of campus “favorites” contest.
Traditionally, Colonel Rebel came from the ranks of top football players. What they do now isn’t something I know about.
But back then, the Rebs’ favorite football player usually was the sole candidate for the honor.
For whatever reason, that didn’t “set” too well with Henry Ed, who announced his own candidacy for the coveted title.
Ever the portly guy, Henry Ed got notice with his campaign slogan: Don’t vote for a meat-head, vote for a fat a##. (Sorry, H-Ed, this still is a family newspaper.)
In later years as a grownup bank examiner, Henry Ed returned to McComb for a look at one of the local banks. I recall one of its top executives figuratively wiping his brow after it was over. Henry Ed still had the touch.
Every hometown has its colorful characters, and H-Ed certainly filled the bill for one of McComb’s.
Visitation is Friday morning until 11 a.m. services. He’ll be buried in Hollywood Cemetery.
I hope it’s near my own classmate’s husband’s grave, where the stone marker is shaped like a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Henry Ed would find it all so amusing.
The hereafter will never be the same thereafter.
Patsy R. Brumfield writes a Thursday column. Contact her at patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com.