Forever maroon

Ernest C. Adams Jr. (’48) – 89, Brandon; former MSU chemistry professor (1950-51) and researcher for Miles Laboratories in Indiana, where he received 20 patents for his work and became a key player in developing the blood glucose detector Dextrostix. A U.S. Army veteran, he served in Pacific Theater during World War II, Dec. 1, 2014.

Elmo Branch (’53) – 83, Duck Hill; retired office manager for Lancaster Inc. and 16-year president of the Montgomery County School Board. A U.S. Air Force veteran, he was a former member of MSU’s varsity basketball and track teams, Nov. 1, 2014.

Rubel P. Cowart Jr. (’62) – 74, Hazlehurst; retired employee of the Mississippi State Chemical Laboratory on the MSU Starkville Campus, Dec. 13, 2014.
Malvin Cox (’43) – San Diego, California; former instructor of electronics engineering at San Diego State University and professional who worked on the guidance and control systems for Mercury-Redstone, Gemini, and the Atlas-Apollo Space programs, Sept. 29, 2013.

Malcolm E. Gillis (’55) – 81, Toney, Alabama; former MSU football cheerleader who worked for Boeing and Computer Sciences Corp. He went on to launch a consulting firm whose name, MeGa Corp., reflected his successful 2,000-mile hike of the entire Maine-to-Georgia Appalachian Trail, Dec. 2, 2014.

James Ray Hankins (M.S. ’71) – 83, Beaverton, Alabama; lifelong Alabama educator who spent 25 years at Lexington High School and retired as director of the Lamar County School of Technology, Aug. 19, 2014.

Stanley C. Hughey (’83) – 55, West Point; head girls’ basketball coach at Oak Hill Academy for 20 years and also spent part of 2014 in a similar position at East Webster High School. As head coach, he compiled more than 460 wins, Dec. 28, 2014.

Stephanie Ann “Sissy” Kruse (’06) – 32, Franklin, North Carolina; avid MSU athletic fan, traveler, runner and loyal friend who lived life to the fullest, Dec. 5, 2014.

Pricilla Andrea Li (’11) – 26, Jackson; medical student at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and was an active MSU undergraduate through memberships in the Delta Gamma sorority, Student Association and alumni association’s Alumni Delegates. Her continued participation in campus organizations and activities was honored with a Spirit of State award, Dec. 6, 2014.

Samuel A. McInnnis (’55) – 81, Lucedale; U.S. Army service member who served in the Korean Conflict and a petroleum engineer, Aug. 22, 2014.

Mason B. Oldham Jr. (’48) – 91, Edmond, Oklahoma; retired civil engineer, Nov. 8, 2014.
Katie Michelle Ray (’06) – 31, Starkville; accountant who enjoyed MSU sports and hobbies of jewelry making and photography, Nov. 24, 2014.

Kathy Cooper Slover (’84) – 53, Fairhope, Alabama; former majorette captain of MSU’s Famous Maroon Band and member of Kappa Delta sorority, Dec. 5, 2014.

George Cecil McLeod Jr. (’49) – 84, Leakesville; former Mississippi Legislature senator who served for nine years beginning in 1970. McLeod served on the committees of agriculture, appropriations, county affairs, forestry, game and fish, ports and industries, and water resources. He enjoyed playing the fiddle in his spare time and played at the 1976 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. and, in 1979, at the Grand Ole Opry, Sept. 5, 2011.

Melinda Gail Mitchell (’80) – 56, Pascagoula; girls’ basketball, cheerleading and track coach at Pascagoula High School, where the athletic field house bears her name and she was honored in 2010 as teacher of the year. Also coached at Gautier Junior and Resurrection High schools, Dec. 13, 2014.

James E. Springer Jr. (friend) – 62, Starkville; known to many as “Doodle,” he was an Electrical Supply Sales representative who recently had moved to Starkville to be close to MSU, Oct. 28, 2014.
Paul C. Stanford (’57) – 86, Gautier; retired employee of Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula and a Greene County farmer. A U.S. Army veteran, he later joined the U.S. Air Force and served in the Korean War and received several commendations, April 23, 2014.

Billy Jim Thompson (’48) – 91, Jackson; an MSU basketball player and U.S. Army veteran in World War II’s Pacific Theater, he retired as co-founder of Jones and Thompson Construction Co., Dec. 5, 2014.

William “Bill” Turner Jr. (’60) – 80, Collierville, Tennessee; successful lumber manufacturer and salesman whose clientele extended into Europe and the Pacific Rim. He was a U.S. Army veteran who served in the Korean Conflict, Aug. 16, 2014.

Jack Parker Vaughan (’58) – 78, Starkville; former standout shortstop for the MSU baseball team. He spent 25 years as a National Football League official, working more than 460 regular-season games, two Pro Bowls and Super Bowls XX, XXV and XXIX. A retired insurance and real estate broker, he also operated a bottling company in Louisiana, Dec. 12, 2014.

Donald E. Walton (’67) – 67, Tupelo; co-founder of Stylelander Metal Stamping and retired employee of Super Sagless Corporation, a subsidiary of Leggett and Platt, Incorporated, Jan. 21, 2015.

Vernon Lee Watts (’51) – 85, Pass Christian; U.S. Navy veteran and retired head of Watts Oil Co. in Long Beach, Dec. 12, 2014.

Remembering Brinker and the Game of Change

Stanley Ray Brinker (’64) – 71, Huntsville, Alabama; retired consultant for the U.S. Department of Defense and NASA, and U.S. Air Force veteran died Jan. 16, 2015. He was an MSU basketball player who, with his teammates, made history by facing the Loyola University (Chicago) Ramblers in the 1963 NCAA tournament. Sports Illustrated featured a picture of Brinker and the opposing center in an article called “The Game of Change” in March 1963. Previously barred from participating in tournaments that featured integrated players, this MSU team defied the “unwritten law” and went to Lansing, Michigan, where they lost to the eventual national champions, but made history.


Remembrance of First

Neal Lloyd First, a pioneering scientist in genetics and agriculture, died Nov. 20, 2014, of complications from cancer. He was 84. First was born on Oct. 8, 1930. He was raised on a farm in Ionia, Michigan, where he developed a love of animals and agriculture. After earning his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served as a fixed radio signal operator during the Korean War.

After the war, he returned to Michigan State University, earned a doctoral degree in reproductive physiology, accepted a position at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1960, and remained there until his retirement in 2005. After his retirement, he moved to Starkville, where he was a professor emeritus at Mississippi State University.

His contributions to the fields of agriculture and genetics include major advances in mammalian in-vitro fertilization, embryo development, embryo cloning of cattle, and nuclear transplantation in embryos. He received numerous awards for his research, including the Morrison Award for animal science, the Von Humboldt award, Upjohn Research award, and Wolf Prize, which is often called the Nobel Prize for agriculture. In 1989, he was inducted as a member of the National Academy of Sciences. His work and writing on biotechnology and animal genetics continued until shortly before his death.