Forever Maroon

IN MEMORY OF Horace H. Harned Jr.

Horace H. Harned Jr. (B.S. geosciences, ’42), 96, Starkville – A lifelong resident of Oktibbeha County, he was a member of Kappa Sigma, ROTC, Blue Key, ODK and Dudy Noble’s cross-country team while at State. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force and served for four years during WWII. Following an honorable discharge with the rank of captain, he returned to Mississippi to manage Meadowoods Plantation before beginning his own dairy operation, where he also developed a herd of beef cattle. He was recognized by the Starkville Chamber of Commerce with the Outstanding Dairyman and Outstanding Beef Producer awards.

In 1951, he was elected to fill an unexpired term in the Mississippi Senate representing Oktibbeha and Choctaw counties. The following year, he authored the Mississippi Right to Work law. As a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1960-80, he chaired the Universities and Colleges Committee for 12 years and the Select Committee on Higher Education from 1972-73. He was highly influential in the establishment of the School of Architecture and College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State, as well as the establishment of the dental school in Jackson and the School of Nursing at Mississippi University for Women. He was also heavily involved in the process of getting Humphrey Coliseum, Allen Hall, Bost Extension Center, Herzer Hall, Clay Lyle Entomology Lab, the Cobb Institute of Archaeology and the Raspet Flight Laboratory for Mississippi State, as well as academic buildings for other colleges and universities in the state.

A member of Faith Baptist Church, he was active in civil and professional clubs, including Rotary International, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Forty and Eight, Farm Bureau Association, the 14th Air Force Association and the Oktoc Community Club. – July 2, 2017

Frances Collier Abernathy (Friend) 96, Booneville – She became part of the Mississippi State family through her husband and later saw her sons through to graduation from the university, showing her love for Maroon and White as an ardent supporter of Bulldog athletics. – June 8, 2017

Richard Turner Bowie (B.A. social work, ’78) 62, Madison – A member of Kappa Sigma, he took a job with the state of Mississippi as a probation and parole officer for Hinds and Madison counties after his graduation. Following his retirement in 2005, he worked for Buffalo Peak Outfitters and, in 2015, he accepted a position as the pre-trial diversion director with the Hinds County District Attorney. – Sept. 6, 2017

Wallace Burch (B.B.A. marketing, ’14) 25, Horn Lake – A native of Nashville, Tennessee, he graduated from DeSoto Central High School in 2010. Following his graduation from Mississippi State, he graduated from the Naval Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as an ensign with Class 05-15E. While stationed in Pensacola, Florida, he was awarded the Commodore’s List with Distinction for superior performance during training and was selected for the Strike Training Pipeline in Meridian. He completed intermediate jet training in March. – Oct. 1, 2017

William Bucy Bynum (B.S. agronomy, ’56; M.S. soils, ’59) 82, Williamsburg, Virginia – A retiree of the Federal Highway Administration, he was active in the Walnut Hills Baptist Church and performed several volunteer assignments with the Jamestown Foundation and Faith In Action. – Aug. 17, 2017

Leslie C. Campbell (B.S. marketing, ’54) 85, Hoschton, Georgia – He served in the U.S. Navy from 1955 until 1958 and in the Naval Reserve for 10 years. He worked as a broadcaster for WROB in West Point, WCBI in Columbus and WSUH in Oxford. He was a professor at the University of Tennessee, Martin and Arkansas College before serving as associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn until 1992. – Oct. 20, 2017

Michael Jason Campbell (B.S. forestry, ’09) 41, Sturgis – An Army Ranger in the 82nd Airborne Division, he was a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. His decorations and citations include Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Expert Marksmanship Badge with Rifle Bar, Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge and Bronze German Armed Forces Parachutist Badge. He was also instrumental in the creation of the Student Veterans of America. He was a self-employed land manager, registered forester and certified pipefitter and welder, and an advocate for all veterans. — July 6, 2017

Carolyn Chandler-Williams (M.S. secondary education, ’73; Ph.D. secondary education, ’75) 70, Starkville – After earning a bachelor’s at Mississippi Valley State University, she began teaching at Mary Holmes College. She then came to Mississippi State University, where she became one of the first African-American students to earn a master’s in secondary education and a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction. She then spent 17 years on the faculty at Mississippi State. Later, she moved to Tyler, Texas, where she was vice president of development and institutional advancement at Jarvis Christian College. She later moved to Albany, Georgia, as director of public service and continuing education at Albany State University. In 2002, she moved to Conway, Arkansas, where she served as associate dean of the College of Education, as well as assistant to the dean at the University of Central Arkansas, where she excelled at obtaining grants for the university. She was a member of Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society and served as president of the Mid-South Educational Research Association. She was also inducted into the Starkville Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame in 1991 and named Woman of the Year by the Mississippi Jaycees in 1989. She was recognized as an Outstanding Educator, Consortium of Doctors in 1991 and State Merit Outstanding Educator in Higher Education, Phi Delta Kappa. – Sept. 4, 2017

Brent Benjamine Cobb (B.B.A. marketing, ’98; MBA, ’99) 41, Ridgeland – An Eagle Scout, he joined Sigma Chi while at Mississippi State. Following his graduation, he worked for Miller Transporters, where he most recently served as vice president of safety and quality. He was a member of the First Baptist Church in Madison where he served as a deacon and was an active supporter of children’s activities. – Sept. 29, 2017

Justin Cobb (B.B.A. general business, ’98) 43, Meridian – An Eagle Scout, he began his collegiate studies at MSU where he was a member of Sigma Chi, serving as pledge class president, rush chairman, pro consul and a member of the ethics committee. He was elected Mr. Mississippi State University in 1996. As an undergraduate, he completed internships in Washington, D.C., with Sen. Trent Lott and Rep. Chip Pickering. He later obtained a law degree from the University of Mississippi and began practicing law with his father at Cobb Law Firm in Meridian. He was elected Lauderdale County Prosecuting Attorney in 2003 and was re-elected in 2007, 2011 and 2015. He was appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant as the 10th Circuit District Court judge in 2015 and ran unopposed in the 2016 general election, serving in that position until his unexpected death on his 43rd birthday. He was active as chairman of the board for Miller Transporters and a member of the Mississippi Bar Association, the Optimist’s Club, and the local Boys and Girls Club board of directors. He also served as vice president and president of the Lauderdale County Bar Association. – Sept. 9, 2017

Joe Clement Douglass (B.S. animal science, ’55) 83, Columbus – He was a member of Kappa Alpha fraternity, Alpha Zeta Honorary Agriculture Fraternity and the agriculture judging team, as well as ROTC. He served in the Air Force and the reserves until 1967 when he was honorably discharged as a captain. He owned Douglas Farms in Lowndes County. – July 26, 2017

Pamela Suzanne Ellis (B.S., M.S. elementary education, ’92, ’93) 46, Madison – Following her graduation from Mississippi State, she spent a number of years in the classroom before joining the Partnerships for a Healthy Mississippi, where she spent the last 18 years. She was a sustaining member of the Junior League of Jackson, a volunteer in the nursery of Pinelake Church of Madison and participated in many philanthropic endeavors. – Sept. 16, 2017

Jared Entrekin (Attended) 26, Natchez – A native of Madison, he graduated from Madison Central High School in 2009. At Mississippi State, he was a member of the Famous Maroon Band and president and co-founder of the wake boarding and ski team. He also represented the university as Bully, the university’s costumed mascot. – Sept. 7, 2017

Richard D. Eubanks (B.S. business, ’62) 76, Pensacola, Florida – He served as a Green Beret with the 20th Special Forces Group in Mobile, Alabama, and after earning a master’s from Tulane University, was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Public Health Service. He served around the world for 28 years as an environmental health director. – Aug. 25, 2017

Lady Martha Barnard Garner (B.S., M.S. education, ’61, ’62) 98, Lake Wales, Florida – Born in Anguilla, she entered Mississippi State as a full-time student at age 39 and became a member of Phi Kappa Phi. She taught in Melbourne, Florida, and was the first guidance counselor at Cocoa Beach High School. – Oct. 2, 2017

Martha J. “Bunkey” Burgoyne Harper (B.S. education, ’52) 86, Birmingham, Alabama – She served as president of Chi Omega and the Panhellenic Council. She was a loving wife of 64 years and liked to say “I followed Jack all over the world and parts of Texas.” – Jan. 11, 2017

Anse Bond “A.B.” Howard Jr. (B.S. education, ’50) 96, Louisville – As a sophomore, he played on the only Mississippi State University football team to earn an Southeastern Conference championship. He also ran track for the Bulldogs. A member of ROTC, he did not finish his Mississippi State career as he was called up for WWII as a first lieutenant. He was wounded in France in December of 1944. Once home, he went on to become coach on staff and later head coach for football, track and basketball at Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, where he retired as athletic director. – Sept. 28, 2017

Emma Cornelia “Connie” Jackson (Staff) 87, Starkville – After starting as a stenographer in the dairy science department, she spent the next 45 years working for the Mississippi State Extension Service, serving as administrative assistant to three different directors before her retirement. While at Mississippi State she earned a service award from Epsilon Sigma Phi, a meritorious support award and a distinguished staff award. She was a member of Morgantown Baptist Chapel where she taught Sunday school. – June 14, 2017

William Richard Jeffries III (B.S. geosciences, ’55) 82, Huntsville, Alabama – A distinguished ROTC graduate, he was a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. He served 22 years in the Air Force as a meteorologist. A Vietnam veteran, he retired as a lieutenant colonel and was then employed by Computer Science Corporation, which supported NASA. He was also an active member of the First Baptist Church. – May 24, 2016

Billy Harvey Johnson (B.S., M.S., Ph.D. aerospace engineering, ’67, ’68, ’71) 73, Columbus – He worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Waterways Experiment Station for 30 years as a research hydraulic engineer. After retiring, he was selected for the unit’s Gallery of Distinguished Employees. He went on to found an engineering consulting firm in Columbus. – Sept. 17, 2017

Jack Louis Jordan (Faculty) 65, Orange Beach, Alabama – He earned a bachelor’s from Vanderbilt University, a master’s from George Washington University and a doctoral degree from the University of Virginia. He also attended the Goethe-Institut in Munich, Germany, as well as the Sorbonne University in Paris. He was a distinguished professor of French at the university of Missouri and Mississippi State University for more than 25 years. He also served as head of the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures at Mississippi State for seven years. – May 25, 2017

Stanley Keene (B.S. public policy and administration, ’55 ) 85, Columbus, Georgia – A native of Meridian, he played Bulldog football and baseball while at Mississippi State. Following his graduation, he went to work for an insurance company in New York before joining the Milford Redevelopment Agency in Connecticut. In 1971, he joined the Columbus (GA) Housing Authority where he was named director in 1993. Through his work, he helped build the city’s first Child Advocacy Center and oversaw the renewal of many public housing developments. He retired in 2001 and was active in United Way, Historic Columbus, Columbus Hospice and the Rotary Club, among other organizations. – July 29, 2017

Dorothy Ann Kerr (Staff) 66, Rolling Fork – She retired as a secretary for the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Issaquena County, where she was a member of the Church of God of Prophecy. – June 18, 2017

Mary Eleanor Davis Land (B.S. business, ’60) 78, Tupelo – She was a majorette at Mississippi State, a member of the homecoming court and selected as a “Beauty” in the 1958 “Reveille.” She was a flight attendant for Braniff Airways, having worked for five major airlines during her career before retiring from Alaska Airlines in 2005. She also worked as the manager of the press room for the Apollo missions at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. She later handled press releases as a member of Sen. John Tower’s staff in Washington, D.C. – July 6, 2017

Webb Pruitt Lee (B.S. agriculture, ’48) 95, Louisville – In his early career, he was a salesman for Taylor Machine Works’ Agricultural Division. He owned and operated Lee Tractor and Equipment Company for 25 years. He was a decorated B-17 bomber pilot based in England with the 8th Air Force during WWII. He survived 29 bombing missions over Germany, including the crash of his heavily damaged bomber during his final outing. – March 14, 2017

Hampton S. Little Jr. (B.S. marketing, ’56) 83, Nashville, Tennessee – He worked for the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., before moving to Nashville to practice law in 1968. His private practice focused on developing professional corporations and their employment benefits plans. He formed more than 600 professional corporations in the Mid-South, along with their pension, profit-sharing and estate plans. He was a lecturer at the Vanderbilt Law School and practiced in U.S. tax court, the U.S. Court of Appeals and federal district courts. He also served as chairman of the audit committee of the Tennessee Bar Association, was a member of the Nashville Estate Planning Council and was listed in the “Best Lawyers in America.” He retired from the firm Little, House and Griffith. He was in the Navy prior to going to law school and was promoted to lieutenant commander in charge of a Naval reserve unit in Nashville in the 1970s. – July 7, 2017

Royce Benford Luke, Sr. (Ph.D education, ’69; Retired Faculty) 84, Gautier – He taught and was a school administrator for 40 years. He was an assistant professor at Mississippi State University for five years. He spent 30 years with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College serving the last five as the chief administrator of the Jackson County campus. He served one session in the Mississippi Legislature and was a field representative for three years—first for the late Rep. Larkin Smith and then Sen. Trent Lott. He was a member of Gautier First United Methodist Church, Jackson County Port Authority, Gautier Volunteer Fire Department Finance Committee, Mid-South Academy of Economists, Mississippi Faculty Association, Friends of Gautier Library, the Masonic Lodge, and served on the boards of the Jackson County Civic Action Committee, Citizens National Bank and Jackson County Supervisors District 5. He was a charter member of the Gautier Rotary Club and served as an expert witness in numerous cases for attorneys along the Gulf Coast. He attended East Central Community College and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi. – February 17, 2017

Claudene Johns Massey (Staff) 79, Starkville – She retired as secretary to the director of the Mississippi State University Extension Service after 35 years. She previously worked for Security State Bank and Kroger. She was an active member of Friendship Baptist Church in Sturgis. – Sept. 12, 2017


Lyle E. Nelson (Faculty) 96, Starkville – He disrupted his education to serve in the Army during WWII before returning to North Dakota Agricultural College to earn a bachelor’s in agriculture. He later earned a doctoral degree from Cornell. Following time on the faculty at Mississippi State, he joined Cornell on a project in the Philippines meant to develop rice framing to help feed the country’s growing population. He continued to participate in similar projects in the Philippines and India sponsored by Cornell, Mississippi State and the federal government. He had a career spanning 35 years as a researcher and professor of soil science in the agronomy department at MSU. He was a benefactor of the Starkville-MSU Symphony, the Starkville Public Library, Palmer Home and MSU. – July 27, 2017

Carolyn Vinson Nespoli (B.S. landscape architecture, ’77) 63, Rossville, Tennessee – She was a charter member of the Beta Mu Chapter of the Tri-Delta Sorority. A longtime member of St. Andrews Episcopal Church, she was active in the church choir, Daughters of the King and the Thursday Morning Bible Study. She was also a member of Carnival Memphis, Grand Krewe of Ra Met and was queen of Ra Met in 2011. – May 31, 2017

Brennan Maurice O’Keefe (B.S. computer engineering, ’94) 47, St. Louis, Missouri – A native of Gulfport, he was a computer programmer. – Sept. 8, 2017

Frank Palmer (B. S. civil engineering, ’66), 73, Vicksburg – At Mississippi State he was a member of SAE Fraternity and ROTC. Upon graduating from MSU, he began work with the Army Corps of Engineers in Vicksburg and New Orleans. He was a veteran of the Mississippi National Guard. – Oct. 30, 2017

Johnnye Mae Harris Pass (Staff) 81, Holly Springs – She worked for the Mississippi State University Extension Service for 30 years, retiring as a home economist in 1990. She earned a master’s from the Mississippi University for Women and was president of the National Council of Negro Women, an executive with the hospitality department of the northern Mississippi jurisdiction, received the Bishop’s Award at headquarter jurisdiction, Missionary of the Year for 2010 and Women of Excellence Award in 2010. – June 4, 2017

Willie Earl Peavey (B.S. industrial management, ’54) 90, New Orleans, Louisiana – A native of Lawrence County, he served in the U.S. Army in WWII and was called back from his studies at Mississippi State to serve in the Korean War as well. He retired for Halliburton after 36 years. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of New Orleans, where he was a deacon and served in various ministries. – Oct. 20, 2017

Kerry Polk (B.S. music education, 78) 61, Austin, Texas – A musician and songwriter, the Jackson native spent more than 25 years as a piano teacher in Austin, Texas. She was a prominent fixture in the city’s music scene and was often heard on KUTX. Her song “65 Ford Fairlane” was featured on NPR’s CarTalk and she released two CDs of her own work. – Oct. 1, 2017

Robert “Bobby” Carroll Shows Jr. (B.S. social studies education, ’63; M.S. guidance education, ’64) 75, Brookhaven – He played on three Southeastern Conference championship teams at Mississippi State and was part of the “Game of Change” team in the NCAA Tournament in 1963. An ordained minister, he was director of activities in Southern Baptist churches in Mississippi, Louisiana and Missouri. He was also on staff with the Missouri Baptist Convention. He was the founder and director of Sports Crusaders Ministry and worked as a basketball coach and referee. – Sept. 3, 2017

Howard Carl Tanner (B.S. mechanical engineering, ’61) 78, Tallahassee, Florida – He graduated from Mississippi State as an ROTC distinguished military graduate and served as an active-duty artillery officer in the 3rd Armor Division, Germany, the 82nd Airborne, Dominican Republic, the 1st Infantry Division, Vietnam, and in MAC organizations in the Ready Reserves, retiring in 1998. He received an MBA from the University of Houston and worked as an engineer and consultant with several petrochemical and paper companies, SAP and IBM. He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, Clan Douglas of America, the St. Andrew Society of Tallahassee and the Presbyterian Church. – Feb. 22, 2017

Rita Worrell Tanksley (Staff) 66, Kosciusko – She retired from the Mississippi State University Extension Service as an agent with the Early Childhood Division. She earned a bachelor’s from Delta State, a master’s from Florida International and a doctoral degree from Florida State University. – Sept. 6, 2017

Thomas Elliott Thoms Jr. (B.S. chemical engineering, ’69) 71, Hattiesburg – He began his career as a chemical engineer with Hercules Inc. in Georgia where he became a member of a leadership team and served as a junior achievement adviser. After several company transfers he settled in Hattiesburg where he coached church league basketball and baseball, while also fulfilling his dream of creating the Family Fun Video Game business. He earned a master’s in counseling psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi and for the next 26 years taught at Pearl River Community College. – Nov. 2, 2017

William “Bill” Thoms (B.S. accounting, ’49) 90, Indialantic, Florida – A WWII veteran, he retired in 1989 after more than 30 years with the U.S. Department of Defense Contract Audit Agency. He served in managerial positions in various offices throughout the Southeastern United States. He was also a volunteer on the board of the multi-billion-dollar Space Coast Credit Union for more than 40 years. On the board, he held various positions including secretary, treasurer and chairman. – July 5, 2017

Christopher Lee West (B.B.A. business, ’91) 51, Cumming, Georgia – A native of Magee, he made a career in the global telecommunications field, emphasizing his skills in business development and account management. – Sept. 26, 2017

Noel Estel Wilson Jr. (B.S. management, ’53) 88, Greenwood – He joined the Army Air Corps at 17 and served in WWII for three years before returning home and enrolling at Mississippi State. He was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force through ROTC. After graduating from pilot training, he began a military career that spanned the next 25 years. He earned the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Air Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Republic of Vietnam Medal of Honor. Following his retirement, he worked at NBC Bank of Starkville as personnel director and began doctoral studies at Mississippi State, where he also taught and was director of the Small Business Development center prior to his civilian retirement in 1995. He was active with the Boy Scouts, having earned the Silver Beaver Award, the highest civilian award given by the organization. He was in the first master gardener class in Oktibbeha County and served as president of the group for many years. He was inducted into the Mississippi Trap Association Hall of Fame in 2012 and coached in the 4-H shooting sports program. He was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Starkville Rotarians and was an active member of the Presbyterian church. – Feb. 5, 2017

John D. York (B.S., animal husbandry, ’59) 85, Cary, North Carolina – He was a native of Coffeeville and was retired from Valent Chemical Company. – June 2, 2017

In Memory of H.L. “Sonny” Merideth Jr.

H.L. “Sonny” Merideth Jr. (B.S. accounting, ’53) 86, Gulf Breeze, Florida – An attorney from Greenville, he served in the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1960-92. He was chairman of the County Affairs Committee, the Select Committee on Economic Development, the Judiciary “A” Committee, Special Gaming Commission Subcommittee and the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. He played a role in passing the Education Reform Act of 1982 and Four-Lane Highway Construction Program in 1987. He was also influential in forming the state’s law on casino gambling.

Upon his graduation from Mississippi State, he earned an ROTC commission as a second lieutenant, going on to serve in the Korean Conflict. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the United Nations Service Medal. Following his discharge, he enrolled in law school and subsequently opened a law practice in Greenville, where he was later joined by James Robertshaw to form a practice that still exists under another name.

He received numerous honors throughout his career, including Mississippi Elected Official of the Year in 1983 from the Mississippi chapter of the American Society of Public Administrators; Outstanding Orator in 1977 by his fellow legislators; and Outstanding Legislator in 1975 by the Mississippi State Bar. He was a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Bar Association, the Mississippi Bar Association, and the Washington County Bar Association, as well as a fellow of the International Society of Barristers. – Sept. 5, 2017


John Robert Arnold (B.S. agriculture, ’44) 94, Starkville – He was active in ROTC and a member of the football team while at Mississippi State. Following his graduation, he joined his family’s dairy and farm, which raised cotton and cattle. In the 1960s, he turned to manufacturing and under the brand names of Howard Furniture, Herschede Hall Clocks and Motor Guide, produced family-room furniture; floor, wall and mantel clocks; and electric trolling motors. These companies merged under the umbrella of Arnold Industries in 1973. He also formed Dodge City Enterprises, which included a Chrysler dealership, several barbecue restaurants and an appliance retail business. He helped launch a bus ministry at the First United Methodist Church of Starkville and later formed a tour bus business called Starkville Buses, which continued until his retirement in 2014. He was active in many organizations including the Chamber of Commerce, Boy Scouts of America, the Rotary Club and United Way. He was also the president of Sessums Community Club. – Aug. 23, 2017