Alex Wilcox, who inspired the Bulldog family with her brave fight against cancer, died June 25 at the age of 18.
Her No. 8 softball jersey was retired in a halftime ceremony at Mississippi State’s second home football game of 2018. An on-campus memorial service was held the next day. She is the first female student-athlete in university history to have her jersey retired.
A native of Alabama, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2015. She continued to play softball for Brantley High School throughout her treatments and helped lead her team to multiple state championships.
As a freshman at Mississippi State, she continued to undergo chemotherapy treatments while balancing a full academic course load and her spot on the Bulldogs’ softball team—eventually earning a spot on the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll.
Her courage, determination and unfaltering positive outlook, inspired athletes and fans across the country. Mississippi State rallied around her and worked to bring awareness to ovarian cancer through MSU’s “No One Fights Alone” campaign, for which the softball team and home crowd wore teal to midweek games. This message was adopted throughout the conference and surrounding area as other teams held moments of silence for victims or displayed “Wilcox” or the campaign slogan on their gear. Among those, the University of Central Arkansas softball team donned special jerseys emblazoned with Wilcox across the back during a March game against the Bulldogs. Those special uniforms were later auctioned to help cover her medical bills.
Bythella Lee Bryant Andrews (M.S. ag and extension education; retired Extension agent) 88, Magnolia – She earned a bachelor’s in home economics from Alcorn State University and began her career as a teacher at Dublin Junior High before transitioning to Liberty and ultimately becoming the home economics teacher for the Mississippi State Extension Service in Pike County. She was a member of the Mississippi Home Economics Association, the Federated Women’s Association, American Homemaking Association and Extension Agent Association. An active member of the community, she was a Cub Scout den mother, chairman of the District IV Family Planning Council, member of the Community Development Council and dean of the Mississippi Youth Christian Baptist Association. She also founded and was chairman of the Pike County Sunday School Convention Scholarship fund committee. – March 27, 2018
Winifred Barbara Griffis Bellamy (retired Extension agent) 84, Gautier – A native of Beaumont, she attended Mississippi Southern College, now the University of Southern Mississippi, before joining the Extension Service. – May 28, 2018
Harold Burnett Blalock (B.S. agriculture, ’54) 86, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – He played basketball as a student at State. He served in the U.S. Army and retired from the Army Reserves as a lieutenant colonel. He worked for the Farmers Home Administration and retired as a community loan specialist. – April 3, 2018
Scotchie Cochran (B.S. sociology, ’60) 75, Atlanta, Georgia – At Mississippi State he was vice president of the junior class and was active in campus affairs. He had a varied career ranging from management positions in the textile industry to real estate investment and marketing. – Aug. 6, 2016
Hugh Wayne Coleman (B.S. mechanical engineering, ’69; former faculty) 71, Huntsville, Alabama – Following his graduation from Mississippi State, he went on to receive master’s and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. He returned to Starkville in 1978 to begin a career on the Mississippi State faculty that saw him rise through the ranks from assistant to distinguished professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. In 1991 he moved to the University of Alabama, Huntsville where he served as a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering until his retirement in 2011. At Mississippi State, he was a Giles Distinguished Professor and held the Eminent Scholar Chair in Propulsion at UAH for two terms. He co-authored, with MSU’s Glenn Steele, a respected textbook now in its fourth edition and conducted more than 100 related workshops. He is also the author and co-author of another textbook and numerous journal articles, technical papers and book chapters. He was a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, as well as a member of Tau Beta Pi, Pi Tau Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma Xi. – May 15, 2018
David Anthony Coode (B.S. landscape architecture, landscape contracting; ’88) 56, Nashville, Tennessee – He was a principal and senior vice president of Lose Associates before joining Kimley-Horn where he led the land-planning team in the Nashville office. He was an assistant scoutmaster for his son’s Boy Scouts of America troop and volunteered with the Real Life Players. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, a registered landscape architect and was certified through the American Institute of Certified Planners. – April 22, 2018
Kenneth L. Cook (M.S. ag and extension education, ’72) 84, Starkville – He retired from the Extension Service as interim state leader for 4-H Youth Development and went on to serve six years as the Oktibbeha County District Four election commissioner. He volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. He also served in the National Guard. – May 26, 2018
Stephanie Bell Flynt (B.A. communication, ’84) 55, Brandon – She was a member of Delta Gamma Sorority and served as an MSU cheerleader. Following her graduation, she moved to Jackson and began a career in broadcast journalism that most recently included an anchor position with WLBT. She received many awards including a yearlong fellowship from the Association of Health Care Journalists and induction into the Mississippi Associated Press Broadcasters Hall of Fame. She helped raise thousands of dollars for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and was honored by the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association for work with their Power of Pink and Red Dress campaigns, respectively. – June 6, 2018
Larry Owen Futch (attended) 66, Bradenton, Florida – Having attended Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa, Florida, and then Mississippi State, he embarked on a varied career. Most recently he served as president of Direct Corporate Solutions Inc. – June 3, 2018
Alec Gary Harthcock (BBA, ’87) 60, Newton – After college, he worked as a pipeline surveyor before joining the Mississippi Department of Employment Security for 25 years. He loved the outdoors and spent much of his time gardening, fishing and golfing. – March 15, 2018
Thomas B. Harthcock Sr. (B.S. finance, ’57) 88, Newton – Before graduating from Mississippi State he served with the Air Force. He spent his career in the insurance and real estate business, serving as president of Harthcock Insurance Agency and past president of the Independent Insurance Agents of Mississippi. He was also on the board of directors of Independent Insurance Agents of Mississippi. He spent 27 years as an alderman for Newton and was a director on the Newton County Bank board for 46 years. – March 12, 2018
Martha B. Irby (M.S. secondary education, ’78; assistant professor emerita) 85, Starkville – She began her 23 years of service to the university in 1957 as a temporary assistant reference librarian, ultimately becoming an assistant professor and interlibrary loan librarian. Throughout her time at MSU, she assisted many researchers and students on their roads to academic success. – March 11, 2018
William F. Jones (B.S. agronomy, ’53; Ph.D. agriculture and life sciences, ’77; emeritus professor) 86, Starkville – Following his graduation from MSU, he spent 40 years on the faculty, where he not only served as a classroom instructor but also participated in field crop research. He was a charter member of Emmanuel Baptist Church where he served as a Sunday school teacher and director, and deacon. – Jan. 17, 2018
Harold Glen Lewis (B.S. agriculture and extension education, ’55) 84, Philadelphia – He served in the Mississippi National Guard and the U.S. Army. He worked in banking and finance in Clarksdale before moving back to Philadelphia to help open Peoples Bank of Mississippi where he served as branch president. He later worked with W.W. Dungan where they were partners in oil exploration, timber, land development and home building. He was a member of the Lions Club, president of the Neshoba County Forestry Association and member of the board of the Mississippi Business Finance Corporation and Mississippi Development Bank. – May 8, 2018
Capt. Frederick R. Lickfold III (B.S. business administration, mechanical engineering; ’59; M.S. international relations, ’72) 81, Roswell, Georgia – He spent 26 years in the U.S. Navy, rising to the rank of captain. His career included two combat deployments in Vietnam flying P-3 Orion aircraft and three command tours. – March 4, 2018
Dorothy Jean Mann Thomas (friend) 82, Starkville – She co-owned Thomas’ Ladies’ Apparel with her husband Earl Thomas in Starkville. She served as president of the Downtown Business Association and was an active member of the Starkville Chamber of Commerce. She was chairman of the finance committee and was on many additional committees at First Baptist Church of Starkville, where she also taught Sunday school. – March 9, 2018
Harold A. Mayo (B.S. dairy science, ’58) 85, Table Rock Lake, Branson West, Missouri – While at State he was a member of Alpha Zeta Honorary Agricultural Fraternity and the dairy judging team, earning a spot on the 1958 list of Outstanding Young Men of America. He worked with Kraft Foods for 32 years, receiving the J.L. Kraft Ring for outstanding service. He earned a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, served in the Army and was an ordained deacon in the First Baptist Church of Tucker, Georgia. – Oct. 6, 2017
Rebecca S. McKittrick (B.S. art, ’82) 64, Batesville – She taught art in Starkville and Oxford public schools for 27 years, earning Teacher of the Year honors at both town’s high schools. She loved working outside and animals, and early in her married life, she and her husband ran a group home for abused and neglected children in Jackson. – May 5, 2018
Joseph Thomas Mosley (B.S. marketing, ’50) 90, Starkville – He served in the Navy at the end of WWII before returning to his lifelong hometown of Starkville. – March 14, 2018
Hettie Louree “Missy” Lancaster Mullen (attended) 61, Winona – She attended both Mississippi State and Delta State University as an education major and dedicated her life to helping children reach their full potential. – March 10, 2018
Lewis “Buzz” Nolan (B.A. English, history; ’66) 75, Memphis, Tennessee – He served in the Marines where one of his duties was newspaper editor at the Marine Corps Base Quantico. He began his professional journalism career while in school at State as a reporter for the Commercial Appeal in Columbus, where he covered the civil rights movement and other news in the Golden Triangle for the regional paper. He later moved to the Memphis office where he spent 15 years, rising to business editor. He then joined Schering-Plough, now known as Merck & Co., where he was vice president of communications. Following his retirement, he joined Guardsmark as an executive and consultant before he retired for a second, and final, time. He was active in the Memphis Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, the National Ornamental Metal Museum and as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board at Mississippi State. – May 7, 2018
Rick Lynn Noffsinger (M.S. agricultural and extension education, ’10; retired staff) 63, Starkville – A native of Princeton, Kentucky, he worked in the newspaper industry for 20 years. From 1977-97, he was the publisher of eight newspapers in West Virginia, Indiana, Virginia, Colorado and Mississippi, where he put out the Starkville Daily News. He then transitioned into the digital world as director of information for East Mississippi Community College and then web producer for Mississippi State’s Office of Agricultural Communication. – March 1, 2018
James Cooke Robertson (B.S. horticulture, ’47) 94, Indianola – His time at State was interrupted by service in WWII. He graduated from the Officer’s Candidate School at Ft. Benning and was assigned to the Infantry under Gen. George Patton’s command. He landed on Omaha Beach with his division in 1944 and they moved across Europe participating in the Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, French Legion of Honor and the Combat Infantry Medal. He was recalled to active duty during the Korean conflict where he served as an aide to Gen. Galla Paxton. He then returned to Holly Ridge where he joined the family farming business. He was a lifelong and active member of the Indianola First United Methodist Church. He served as president of Indianola Academy and on the boards of First Savings and Loan, Farmer’s Grain Terminal and the Delta Council. He was president of the Sunflower County Farm Bureau, Indianola Rotary Club and a director of the FMH Water Association. – March 27, 2018
Jo Ann Sharbrough (B.S. horticulture, ’85) 59, Vicksburg – She began her college career at the University of Southern Mississippi where she chaired Earth Day activities in Hattiesburg. She was invited to help with a program designed to introduce Jackson-area sixth-graders to vegetable gardening. She then transferred to Mississippi State where, as a horticulture major, she was in charge of interiorscaping, maintaining the indoor plants on campus. Following her graduation, she worked for several years at a national nursery in Portland, Oregon. She then moved to Colorado and became town clerk of Nederland before becoming secretary of the public defender’s office in Boulder. – April 1, 2018
Carlene Taylor Strowd (attended) 92, Clinton – A native of Crystal Springs, she received MSU’s Distinguished Service Award in 1988 and, along with her husband, has two bricks on the Walk of Honor leading to the Eternal Flame Monument on campus. She retired from Mississippi Power and Light after 39 years and was hostess for many charitable events including golf tournaments to support the Ronald McDonald House. – March 16, 2018
Larry M. Tate (B.S. business information systems, ’62) 77, Starkville – A native of Clarksdale, he served in the U.S. Army. He was retired owner of Alloy Metals and Products Inc. and served as a scout leader and youth league baseball coach. – March 17, 2018
Robert “Harold” Terreson Jr. (B.S. industrial management, ’58) 87, Pascagoula – A veteran of the U.S. Navy who served in the Korean War, he was an industrial engineer with Ingalls Shipbuilding. – May 29, 2017
Ernest Vetrano (B.S. agricultural engineering, ’55) 85, Ridgeland – An insurance sales professional until he retired in 1999, he was a passionate tennis player and elected to the Mississippi Tennis Hall of Fame in 2008. – March 23, 2018
Emerita Professor Dora Herring, a trailblazer who helped build Mississippi State’s nationally recognized Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy in the College of Business, died May 2. She was 89.
Herring earned an associate’s degree from Bowling Green University before coming to Mississippi State where she would complete three degrees after becoming the university’s first female accounting student. She earned bachelor’s and master’s in 1963 and 1964, respectively, and in 1968, she became the first person in the state—male or female—to earn a doctoral degree in the discipline. She then became the first woman to teach accounting in MSU’s College of Business and the first in the college to specialize in what is now called accounting information systems.
During her career, she was involved in the planning of McCool Hall, home of the College of Business. Named head of the Department of Accountancy in 1988, Herring helped transition the unit to an endowed school and served as its director until her retirement. She was also the first woman to serve as president of the Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants.
An active member of the First Baptist Church of Starkville, she was instrumental in the development of its new children’s building. She was also a longtime member of the Starkville Rotary Club and the Starkville Planning and Zoning Commission.