Forever Maroon

Margaret Ann Moore Acosta (B.A. piano, ’75) 61, Winnfield, Louisiana – While at Mississippi State, she was a majorette with the Famous Maroon Band and a member of the clarinet choir, the Sigma Alpha Iota honorary music sorority and Chi Omega. She retired from the Winn Parish School System after 27 years as a music and special education teacher and guidance counselor. She was organist for First Presbyterian Church in Winnfield and a music accompanist for other churches in the area. – Aug. 16, 2015

Harry Raymond Boschert (B.S. animal science, ’55 ) 82, Greenville – A Korean War veteran, he served as a captain in the U.S. Army. He spent 30 years farming his family land in Bolivar County until he furthered his career with Staplcotn. He was active in many organizations, including the Rotary Club, Farm Bureau and the Washington County Alumni Association, which he twice served as president. – Dec. 4, 2015

Howard Thomas Boozer (B.S. business information systems, ’70) 68, Amory – A member of the National Guard, he worked for the Walker Manufacturing Co. for 27 years. He was involved with the Rotary Club, American Legion, Three Rivers Development P.O.D., Chamber of Commerce executive board, and the Gilmore Memorial Hospital advisory board. He also served as First Baptist Church deacon and president of the NMIDA. He was mayor of Amory for eight years and an alderman for four. – Jan. 11, 2016

Phillip Brandon (B.S., M.S. physical education, ’51, ’61) 94, Tupelo – He served in the Navy during World War II before attending Mississippi State. He was a pitcher for the Diamond Dawgs and part of the SEC championship teams in 1948 and 1949. During his career, he was a coach, teacher and counselor in several high schools. – Jan. 2, 2016

David M. Bufkin (B.S. civil engineering, ’85) 53, Autaugaville, Alabama – He spent his early career with the Mississippi Department of Transportation and as assistant to the county engineer in Lamar County, Alabama, before moving to Autauga County, Alabama, where he became the youngest county engineer in the state. – June 26, 2015

Marion Cooley (B.S. forestry, ’58) 80, Brookhaven – A 50-year member of the Society of American Foresters and the Mississippi Forestry Association, he was a registered forester and land surveyor, and owned property recognized as a certified family forest. He was a lifetime deacon at First Baptist Church and a member of the George County Jaycees and the Exchange Club. He was named an alumni fellow by the Mississippi State University College of Forest Resources in 2011. – June 11, 2015

Joseph Francis Curry (B.S. accounting, ’52; M.S. professional accountancy, accounting, ’52) 93, Starkville – He enlisted in the Army shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. After a stint in the infantry, he volunteered for the Air Corps and received flight school instruction at Mississippi State. After the war, he returned to MSU to finish his degree while working for W.W. Littlejohn as an aspiring accountant. He later began what turned into a 25-year career on the Bulldog faculty. He served as faculty adviser for Pi Kappa Alpha and began an independent accounting practice with fellow instructor R.S. (Scotty) Wofford that lasted 23 years. In retirement, he was very active with Global Outreach, completing mission work on four continents. – Dec. 31, 2015

Debra Lipe Daws (B.A. landscape architecture, ’83) 56, Greenville – Born in Greenville, she a longtime member of St. Joseph Catholic Church and graduated from St. Joseph Catholic School before attending Mississippi State. – Aug. 25, 2015

Greg Dees (M.S. kinesiology, ’11) 29, Clinton – A teacher and coach at Raymond High School, he loved baseball and was an avid Bulldog fan. He had a passion for helping others and was a member of Pinelake Church in Clinton. – Nov. 5, 2015

Norman Herschell Duncan (B.S. dairy science, ’51) 92, Olive Branch – A U.S. Army veteran who served in World War II, he retired as a salesman from Universal Foods – Oct. 20, 2014

Edward “Cookie” Epperson (B.S. finance, ’48) 90, Starkville – He joined the Army Air Corp following his high school graduation. At Mississippi State, he was a manager for the football team for four years and a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. He worked in the pet food industry for 14 years, including managing a 10,000-acre cattle farm. He later became a stock broker for Goodbody and Company and Hayden Stone. He then partnered with Jim Tubbs and bought a Chevrolet dealership in Amory. He was active with First Methodist Church, the Amory Chamber of Commerce and the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Board. – Jan. 12, 2016

George Thomas Everett (B.S. general business administration, ’50) 88, Magee – He graduated from Mississippi State following his time in the Navy aboard the USS West Point. He joined his family business, Magee Auto Supply, and the Magee Volunteer Fire Department, which he served as chief for 20 years. He was the longest serving active member in its history. He was active in the First Baptist Church and held many community service positions. He served the MSU Alumni Association as treasurer and on the board of directors, and was named Mississippi State’s National Alumnus of the Year in 2013. – Jan. 7, 2016

Jimmy Gassaway, Ph.D. (former faculty) 83, Starkville – Joined the Mississippi State family in 1967 and taught electrical engineering classes at the graduate level until his retirement in 1997. A member of the Mississippi National Guard, he was deployed when the United States entered the Korean War. He earned degrees from the University of Mississippi and Purdue University. – Oct. 3, 2015

Thomas Guinn Goode (B.S. general business, ’66) 76, West Point – A Kodak All-American while at Mississippi State, he was the first Bulldog to play in and win the Super Bowl, when he snapped the ball on the Baltimore Colts’ game-winning field goal in Super Bowl V. In addition to high school and junior college coaching positions, he also coached at Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Alabama. He was inducted into the university, Mississippi Sports, Mississippi Junior College Coaches and East Mississippi Community College Sports halls of fame. – Oct. 8, 2015

Benton “Carl” Gordon (B.A. psychology, ’71; M.S. psychology, ’72) 67, McMinnville, Oregon – Following his graduation he briefly worked at Whitfield State Hospital in Jackson before beginning doctoral work at the University of Southern Mississippi. He completed that degree following an internship at Denver (Colorado) General Hospital and Capitol Hill District Clinic. He served as chief psychologist at Oakley Boys School in Raymond and chief of pediatric services at the Community Health Center in Russellville, Arkansas, before joining the Federal Bureau of Prisons, working his way up to chief psychologist. – Nov. 22, 2015

Marth Estes Gordon (B.S. social studies education, ’74) 69, Okolona – She was a member of the First Baptist Church, the Lanier Club, the Chuquatonchee Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Mississippi Democratic Executive Committee, the Okolona School Board, Itawamba Community College board of trustees and the Okolona Chamber of Commerce. – Dec. 26, 2015

Howell Holmes Gwin Jr. (B.A. English, ’59; M.A., Ph.D. history, ’60 ’62 ) 78, Beaumont, Texas – Was a member of the history faculty at Lamar University for 53 years, including several years as professor emeritus. He was an active cultural historian researching medieval medical education, leprosy, art and architecture. – Sept. 3, 2015

Robert Charles Hickman (B.S. physical education, ’68) 70, Middleton, Wisconsin – An member of the Army Reserve, he worked for U.S. Steel in Chicago for two years before joining Xerox Corp. from which he retired as a sales manager. – Sept. 5, 2015

Benjamin Franklin Jarman (B.S. banking and finance, ’49) 88, Greenwood – He served in the U.S. Navy during both World War II and the Korean Conflict. He joined Leflore Bank and Trust following his graduation from Mississippi State and became president in 1975. He retired from Deposit Guaranty in 1989. – Jan. 4, 2016

Bert Jenkins (attended) 90, Hattiesburg – An Army veteran and World War II prisoner of war, he was a member of Heritage United Methodist Church and a devout Mississippi State University fan. – Sept. 23, 2015

Francis Donald “Frank” Joffrion (B.S. electrical engineering, ’49) 88, Charlotte, North Carolina – He graduated from Mississippi State after spending more than two years in the Navy during World War II. He had a 39-year career with Southern Bell and BellSouth beginning as a lineman and culminating as operations manager of independent relations for four states. Throughout his life, he was active in his communities serving numerous organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America, the Rotary Club and Habitat for Humanity. – June 17, 2015

Bernard Kastenbaum (attended) 95, Richmond, Virginia – He attended Mississippi State on a football scholarship. Later, he served in the intelligence section of the 1st Air Division Headquarters in England during World War II. He received a Distinguished Service Award as a member of 303rd Bombardment Group Combat Team. He spent three decades as a manufacturer representative and professional salesman for Personal Sportswear. – Oct. 26, 2015

Robert W. Keirs (former staff) 89, Starkville – A native of Illinois, he joined the Navy at the age of 16 and served aboard the USS Nautilus submarine during World War II. He earned three battle stars and a commendation signed by both Generals Nimitz and MacArthur. He earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 1954, which started his 63-year career in the field. He joined the poultry program in Mississippi State’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1981 where his research helped hatchery success rates approach 100 percent. He holds a spot in both the Mississippi and U.S. Department of Agriculture Poultry halls of fame. – Nov. 13, 2015

Jo Ann S. “Charlie” Koonce (B.S. marketing, ’56) 81, Woodbury, Tennessee – She and her late husband Billy Lee Koonce both served as cheerleaders at Mississippi State. She was named Miss MSU her senior year. She spent 20 years in the apparel business as a buyer for a variety of retailers across the Southeast and remained an avid Bulldog fan throughout her life. – Nov. 28, 2015

Curtis Langley (B.S. management, ’65) 72, Mantachie – A veteran of the National Guard, he worked in human resources for Futorian, Mahasco, Barcalounger, Heartland and Tecumseh until his retirement in 2000 when he became a realtor. He was a Mason and a Shriner. – Dec. 14, 2015

William R. Meredith Jr. (B.S., M.S. agronomy, ’56, ’57) 84, Greenville – He was a research geneticist for the federal government at Stoneville for 46 years. After receiving his degrees from Mississippi State, he went on to earn a doctorate in plant genetics from Cornell. He taught at MSU for two years before moving to the Delta. He was the only twice-awarded recipient of the Cotton Genetics Award by Cotton Inc. In 2001, he was recognized as Senior Research Scientist of the Year. He served as deacon chairman and Sunday school teacher at First Baptist in Greenville. – July 2, 2015

Jo Ann Lindsey Owens (B.S. education, ’57 M.S. education, ’64 ) 85, Starkville – Following her graduation, she spent most of her career teaching in Starkville public schools for 40 years. In retirement, she tutored Bulldog student athletes and devoted much of her time to delivering meals, flowers and friendly company to those in need. – Nov. 13, 2015

Edna Ruth Rider Pate (B.S. industrial arts education, ’62) 85, Pine Bluff – A retired school teacher of 20 years and a real estate agent, she was an active member of the Church of God. – Jan. 2, 2016

George “Carey” Revels (B.S. industrial engineering, ’71) 70, Hattiesburg – During his 34-year career as a financial adviser, he worked for Revels Securities, Smith Barney, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo. Always involved in his community, he served his church and many other organizations, including the Hattiesburg Convention Commission, and the board of the Asbury Foundation. – May 19, 2015

Thomas Slough Jr. (M.S. aeronautical engineering, ’59) 88, Madison – A World War II veteran, he began his professional career with Mid-South Oil Co. and E.I. DuPont before coming to Mississippi State. After completing a master’s degree, he taught math for 10 years at the university. He later became general manager of Blue Channel Enterprises and retired in 2002 as president and CEO of Delta Industries Inc. – Sept. 16, 2015

Gerald Tyson Taylor (B.S. general agriculture, ’54; M.S. dairy sciences, ’70) 83, Starkville – Following his graduation from Mississippi State, he worked with the Cooperative Extension Service in West Point before serving two years in the U.S. Army. He returned to the Extension Service as assistant agent in Union County before joining the MSU Extension Staff as assistant dairyman. He led a 4-H dairy program for 20 years. – Sept. 28, 2015

Joe B. Thompson (B.S. general agriculture, ’50) 89, Bassfield – He attended Mississippi State after receiving an honorable discharge from the Navy. After earning his degree, he began a 40-year teaching career in the Jefferson Davis County School System. In addition to teaching veterans through the Veterans Training Program, he taught science and later moved into administration. The baseball field at Bassfield High is named in his honor, and he was active in many public service roles. – Jan. 20, 2016

Richard J. Vasek (former staff) 80, Starkville – During a 37-year career at Mississippi State University, he served as head of the industrial education department and associate dean for the College of Education. He earned degrees from Texas A&M. – Nov. 12, 2015

James Ford Wilson (B.S. chemical engineering, ’47) 92, Serverna Park, Maryland – As a member of the U.S. Army, he deployed to Europe and the Philippines during World War II. He worked for FMC Corp. for 40 years, holding numerous management positions across the country. He was a volunteer at the National Aquarium in Baltimore and SCORE, and held a trustee position for the Chemdyne Site Trust Fund. – Oct. 30, 2015

Evan Ragland III (B.S. electrical engineering, ’49) 88, Diamondhead – A veteran of the U.S. Navy, the namesake of the Mississippi State University Evan Ragland Advanced Physics Laboratory began his engineering career with Victor Electronics following his graduation from the university. He also held positions at Motorola and Friden before starting American Regitel, one of the first systems port-of-sale companies. He was awarded numerous patents for developments in areas including the daisy print wheel, bar code technology and cold fusion. But despite his technological achievements, he considered himself a businessman first, engineer second and physicist third. – Sept. 15, 2015


In Memory of János Radványi

Mississippi State Lifetime Achievement award winner János Radványi, who founded the university’s Center for International Security and Strategic Studies and later was inaugural holder of an endowed chair by the same name, died Jan. 11, 2016 at the age of 93. A former Hungarian ambassador to the United States, Radványi was granted political asylum in 1967, completing a doctorate at Stanford University before joining the MSU history faculty in the early 1970s. During his career with the university, he brought worldwide military leaders, diplomats and government dignitaries to MSU and Mississippi. Through the Executive Leadership Forum, Radványi, helped develop a more comprehensive understanding of conflicts and resolution, making the ELF one of the most prestigious associations in the U.S. In 1994 after the collapse of communism in his homeland, Radványi was honored by Hungary with the Award for Development of Foreign Economy for strengthening that country’s ties with the U.S. and Japan. In 2002, the Mississippi World Trade Center honored him with the Guy Tozzoli Peace Through Trade Distinguished Leadership Award. The Mississippi Senate passed a resolution in 2009 recognizing his service to the state and designating him an honorary ambassador. He remained active in his later years as an environmental security researcher.


Remembering Robert Louis Jones

Robert Louis Jones, who served as Mississippi State’s first vice president for student affairs, died Oct. 3, 2015. He was 87. Jones came to Mississippi State University in 1967 when he accepted the position. He was charged with initiating and implementing a modern, professional organization to meet the needs of a rapidly changing and growing student body. During his 20-year career at State, Jones mentored young staff, initiated training for heads of resident halls, established student counseling and career centers, started aggressive student recruitment initiatives, and programs for parent orientation, freshmen, intramurals and student leadership training. Jones also helped lead the university through societal upheavals, including the civil rights movement, the Jackson and Kent State tragedies and the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., as well as war protest and women’s liberation, including the implementation of Title IX. This leadership helped lay the foundation for what is today the Division of Student Affairs. In 2013, Jones became one of four inaugural inductees into the Robert L. Jones Student Affairs Hall of Honor. The road encircling campus’s sorority row also bears his name. In June 2015, the East Texas Chapter of the MSU Alumni Association named its chapter scholarship in his honor. A native of Russellville, Arkansas, Jones earned degrees from both Arkansas Tech and the University of Arkansas. He worked as principal at Mountain Home (Arkansas) Elementary and Washington Elementary School in Fayetteville. He served in the Korean War as part of the National Guard and received the Bronze Star. Jones later joined the University of Arkansas and held many positions, including dean of men. While there, he completed a doctoral degree and later served as vice president for hospital administration at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences before moving to Mississippi State. Following his time in Starkville, he worked as a vice president and professor at the University of Texas at Tyler before retiring as professor emeritus. The institution later created in his honor the Robert L. Jones Award, which is awarded annually to an outstanding, peer-selected student leader.