Mary Frances Shirley McKeel

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – Mary Frances died October 26, 2020 at Elmcross Assisted Care in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was 94 at the time of her death.

Mary Frances was born December 10, 1926 to Gambrell and Isabel Shirley in Tupelo, Mississippi. She was the first of eight children. She graduated from Tupelo High School in 1943. Mary Frances attended Mississippi State College for Women for three years before transferring to Vanderbilt on an academic scholarship.

Mary Frances worked in Washington, D.C. as a secretary for the State Department and then for the FBI. While working in D.C. she met and married Charles “Sandy” McKeel III, a law student at George Washington University in 1951. They made their home in Charlotte, North Carolina near his family. She completed her bachelor’s degree from Queen College in later years.

Mary Frances is survived by her three daughters, Deborah (Harry) Palefsky and Mary McKeel, both of Charlotte, North Carolina and “Betsy” Gilchrist of Beaufort, North Carolina; three grandchildren, Lauren (Robert) Unell, David (Kate) Palefsky and Greyson Gilchrist; and three great-grandchildren, Riley Unell, Miller Unell and Winnifred Palefsky. Mary Frances has three living siblings Robert “Bob” Shirley and Nina Kitchen both of Tupelo, Mississippi and Lucy Wiygul of Windsor, Maine.

Preceding her in death are her husband, her parents, and four brothers Jack Shirley, Sam Shirley, Bill Shirley and Lawrence Shirley.

Her remains will be entombed next to her husband’s in Arlington National Cemetery.

Maggie L. Tucker

TUPELO – Maggie L. Tucker, 88, passed away on October 26, 2020. Arrangements are incomplete and will be announced later by N.L. Jones Funeral Directors.

Sylvia Cleveland

FAIRVIEW COMMUNITY – Sylvia Cleveland, 74, passed away on October 27, 2020 at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo. Arrangements are incomplete and will be announced later by Senter Funeral Home.

Mary Frances Stephenson

BELDEN – Mary Frances Stephenson, 89, passed away Monday, October 26, 2020 at NMMC in Tupelo after a brief illness. A service celebrating her life will be held at 2 PM Friday, October 30, 2020 at Holland Funeral Directors – Tupelo Chapel with burial to follow in Belden Cemetery. Visitation will be on 5PM – 7PM Thursday and from Noon to service time on Friday at Holland – Tupelo Chapel. A full obituary will follow.

Gary D. Mitchell

CORINTH – Funeral services for Gary D. Mitchell, 77 of Corinth, MS are scheduled for Wednesday, October 28, 2020 at 1:00pm at Kossuth Baptist Church with interment to follow at The Mitchell Family Cemetery. Visitation will be Tuesday, October 27, 2020 from 5:00pm until 8:00pm and Wednesday, October 28, 2020 from 12:00pm until service time at Kossuth Baptist Church. Mr. Mitchell passed away at his home in Kossuth, MS, surrounded by his family after an extended illness. He was determined to endure several medical challenges throughout difficult illnesses, wanting to survive as long as he could for the sake of his grandchildren, especially his late son’s children. Mr. Mitchell was a 1961 graduate of Kossuth High School. He was a lifetime farmer and was known for his strenuous work ethic, sharp business sense, and determination. He built a very successful farming operation alongside his late son, Doug. He was a board member with several agricultural related committees; his farming legacy will continue through his grandsons, Mack and Douglas Kyle (DK).

Mr. Mitchell had a strong love for his Lord, his church, and his church family. He was a long term deacon at Kossuth Baptist Church. His strong affinity and talent with children led him to keep the children in the church’s nursery for 28 years. His love for children also was obvious with the attention and playfulness he demonstrated towards his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His love and devotion for his family as a whole was obvious by anyone who spoke with him for any amount of time.

Mr. Mitchell leaves behind several friends, who all knew he would come to their aid, no matter how busy he was on the farm, or the time of day or night. He was known always to lend a helping hand, even staying with several different friends who were ailing over the years, in order to give their families some relief. He possessed a soft spot in his heart, especially for the elderly, often going to visit them and frequently bringing an assortment of farm equipment to provide assistance with any outdoor needs. Once he was finished planting or harvesting crops, he was known to go assist other farmers who had yet not completed the task.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Linda Dellinger Mitchell; a daughter, Amy Gillmore (Brad), a daughter Mary Ellen Tomlinson (John);daughter in law, Tracy Mitchell; his grandchildren Hannah Gillmore, Katie Stanford (Landon), Gary M. Mitchell (Hannah), Douglas Kyle Mitchell (Brooke), Hughes Tomlinson, Mandy Rowsey, Sarah Mitchell, Andrew Rowsey, Meredith Gillmore, John William Tomlinson, and Gabe Gillmore; great grandchildren Madi Grace Stanford, Aiden K. Mitchell, Rhett M. Stanford, and Parks Mitchell; brothers, Larry Mitchell and Lionel Mitchell of Kossuth, Dale Mitchell of Fulton; sister, Jane Robbins of Kossuth; a special niece, Mikki Moore of Corinth, and nephew, Brad Mitchell of Kossuth.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Lionel D Mitchell, Sr. and Letha Letson Mitchell; a son, Doug Mitchell; great grandsons, Job Stanford and Noah Stanford; a special niece, Marla Mitchell Shettles, as well as his sisters, Joan Morton and Barbara Greenhaw.

Bro. Keith Fields, Bro. Bubba Lollar, Dr. James Ronald Mitchell will officiate the service. Gary’s twin brother, Larry B. Mitchell will deliver the eulogy. Pallbearers will be Steve Wilbanks, Johnny Mitchell, Jose Ruiz, Sr., Wade Moore, Larry King, Brad Mitchell, Ray Flores and Jamie Crum. Honorary pallbearers will be the Deacons of Kossuth Baptist Church, Jesse Curtis, Greg Johnson, Jose Ruiz, Jr. and Andreas Gomez.

In lieu of flowers, Mr. Mitchell preferred donations to either Kossuth Baptist Church or to Global Works International Ministries (400 Office Park Drive, Suite 230, Birmingham, AL 35223), as well as donations of Gideon’s Bibles.

Mr. Tony Wallace Smith

BLUE SPRINGS – Tony Wallace Smith, 76, passed away peacefully at NMMC Hospice on Monday morning, October 26, 2020. Tony was born October 4, 1944, son of Chester and Louise Wallis Smith in the Geeville community in Prentiss County before he and his family moved to the Macedonia community. He was a star basketball and baseball player during the 1960’s at Belden High School where he graduated as well. He was a longtime member of the Natchez Trace Golf Club, where he was named golf champion in 1980. He refereed basketball games in the surrounding area for many high schools and junior high schools for approximately 30 years. Tony was a loyal Mississippi State fan. He was employed by Rockwell/Delta and retired after 45 years of service.

Tony was a fun loving person with a infectious laugh and smile. Tony was a longtime member of Macedonia Baptist Church which he attended regularly until his health declined.

A graveside service honoring Tony’s life followed by a private burial will be Friday, October 30, 2020 at at 3:00 p. m. Macedonia Baptist Church Cemetery with Bro. Todd Bowen officiating. The family ask that all respect CDC guidelines and wear masks and maintain social distancing at the cemetery. Waters Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Mr. Smith leaves behind his wife, Meredith Camp Smith of Blue Springs; his only son, Bradley Wallace Smith of Palm Springs, CA and Meredith’s son, Andy Brooks; other survivors include his brothers, William Danny Smith (Judy) of Tupelo and Jerry Dean Smith (Sherry) of Tupelo; sister, Nancy Cochran (Buddy) of Tupelo; he also leaves behind a host of nieces and nephews and countless friends.

He was preceded in death by his father, Chester Pershing Smith and his mother, Eura Louise Smith; his grandparents, George and Glennie Smith; his maternal grandparents, Bradford and Lura Ladybug Kemp; his brother, Tommy Joe Smith SR. of Tupelo; many aunts and uncles; he was also preceded by his infant sister, Martha Ann Smith and infant nephews, Tommy Joe Smith, JR. and Jeffery Mark Smith.

Pallbearers will be Curt Hines, Gregory Neisler, Dominic and Logan Neisler.

A very special thank you to his niece, Kimberly Smith Neisler for being his special caretaker for over a year and a half. Her kindness and love, for her uncle Tony was unending.

The family wishes to thank the members of NMMC Hospice team for their kindness and compassionate care for Tony.

Memorials may be made to American Diabetes Association, 800 Avery Blvd Suite 100, Ridgeland, MS 39157 in memory of Tony.

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family at

Bro. Melvin Edward Crawley

PONTOTOC – Bro. Melvin Edward Crawley, age 66, passed away on Tuesday, October 27, 2020 at his residence in Pontotoc. He was born December 28, 1953 to Tiger Edward and Viola Mae Maynard Crawley. Melvin was a Southern Baptist Minister, having recently retired from Immanuel Baptist Church, after 22 years. He enjoyed gospel music, fishing and football, especially the South Panola Tigers and the Ole Miss Rebels.

The service will be at 12 noon on Thursday, October 29, 2020 at Immanuel Baptist Church with Dr. David Hamilton officiating; burial will follow in Pilgrims Rest Cemetery in Water Valley. The family prefers that mask be worn at the service. Browning Funeral Home is honored to assist the family with the arrangements.

Survivors include his wife, Vicki Young Crawley, a son, John Crawley (Mandy), two daughters, Becky Crawley and Jessica Crawley, a sister, Dot Crawley Heath, a brother, Alfred Crawley (Diane), and four grandchildren, Cooper Crawley, Swayzie Crawley, Emma Young and Caleb Young.

He was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters, Libby Sherwood and Wanda Crawley and two brothers, Joe Crawley and Tiger Willard Crawley.

Pallbearers will be Cory Holland, Derek Holland, Chris Thompson, Jerry Garrison, Joe Bennett, Will Connor, Paul McGehee, Al Crawley and Gerald Dye. Visitation will be from 10 AM to 12 Noon, Thursday at Immanuel Baptist Church. Condolences may be offered at

Mary Joyce Saxon Coghlan

ABERDEEN – Mary Joyce Saxon Coghlan went to be with the Lord on October 22, 2020 at her home in Aberdeen, Mississippi.

She was born to Kerney and Gladys Saxon in Port Arthur, Texas on December 17,1925.

After attending school in Waynesboro, Mississippi, she later graduated from University of Southern Mississippi. There, she was elected President of the Baptist Student Union among other honors.

She later married Robert Eugene Coghlan in May of 1949. Their first home was in the sixth grade boy’s dormitory at Chamberlin Hunt Boy’s Military Academy, where they were houseparents and taught school. This was only the beginning of their long adventure together.

Joyce loved studying the Bible, getting together for Training Union meetings, and teaching others about Jesus. Her church family at First Baptist Church in Aberdeen meant the world to her. She always had an assurance in her faith of which was shown through her actions. Hobbies she loved included gardening and helping “Gene” raise Shetland ponies. She was a member of the Garden Club, Ladies Auxiliary, and the Gideon Society. Above all, she especially enjoyed spending time with her family. Hosting hayrides, going to the Neshoba County Fair, Thanksgiving fun at Shiloh, and Christmas celebrations were among her favorite gatherings.

Children: Brenda Frederick (Ron), Cheryl Hagy (Jim), Marcia Johnston (Brett), Bobby Coghlan (Christy Bell Murphy).

Grandchildren: Jay Hagy (Samantha), Mary Walley (Daniel), Leah Pearson (Brian), Resa Frederick, Dana Frederick, Robert Coghlan III (son of Hope Williams).

Great-Grandchild: Zoie Pearson.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, and two brothers.

Siblings included KW Saxon II (Flora), Billy Joe Saxon (Betty).

Sister-in-Law: Jane Holland

Many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.

Due to Covid, there was a small family gathering with burial in Oak Lawn Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to Palmer Children’s Home, First Baptist Church Aberdeen, or a charity of your choice.

Johnnie Sanders

BOONEVILLE – Johnnie Faye Sanders, 84, of Booneville passed away on, Tuesday, October 26, 2020 at the Baldwyn Nursing Facility. She was a member of the New Bethel Church of Christ. She loved doing word search and spending time with her children and grandchildren.

Funeral services will be 4:00 P.M. on Wednesday, October 28, 2020 at McMillan Funeral Home with Minister Ronnie Livingston and Bro. Jeremy Johnson officiating. Burial will be in the New Bethel Church of Christ Cemetery.

Visitation will be from 2:00 P.M. till 4:00 P.M. on Wednesday, October 28, 2020 at the funeral home. She is survived by two sons, Ron (Ann) Smith and Don Smith; two grandchildren, Blake (Maddie) Smith and Brady Smith and one sister, Ann Moreland Willis.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Elza and Pearl Moreland; her first husband, Ova Smith; her second husband, Robert Sanders; one brother, Ecward Moreland; one sister-in-law, Joyce Moreland and one brother-in-law, Earl Willis.

Condolences may be left at

Virginia Parish

FORT WORTH, TEXAS – Virginia Parish, 94, passed away on October 27, 2020 at Bethesda Gardens Memory Care Nursing Center in Fort Worth, TX. Arrangements are incomplete and will be announced later by E E Pickle Funeral Home. Memories and condolences may be shared with her family at

Gretchen Moody Thornton

BOONEVILLE – Gretchen Moody Thornton, 91, passed away Tuesday, October 27, 2020, at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Booneville. Services will be on Friday, October 30, 2020 at 1:00PM at Booneville Funeral Home. Visitation will be on Thursday evening from 5:00 until 8:00 PM at Booneville Funeral Home.

Annie Bowen-Hykes

OKOLONA – Annie Bowen-Hykes, 72, passed away on October 26, 2020 at NMMC in Tupelo. Arrangements are incomplete and will be announced later by Williams Memorial Funeral Home.

Earl Gardner

TUPELO – Earl Gardner, 63, passed away Friday, October 23, 2020 at NMMC in Tupelo. Services will be October 28, 2020 at the Chapel of Associated Family Funeral. Visitation will be on Wednesday 1:00 p.m-2:00 p.m. at the Memorial Chapel. Please visit our website for more information.

Mitchell Allan “Moonrunner” Dowdy

PONTOTOC – Mitchell Allan “Moonrunner” Dowdy, 63, passed away Monday, October 19, 2020, at NMMC in Pontotoc. He was employed with Ashley Furniture for 21 years of his 35 year truck driving career.

The family had a private service. Burial was in the Long Cemetery. Tutor Memorial Funeral Home assisted the family with the arrangements.

Survivors-three sons-Christopher Allan Dowdy (Kristy), Dustin Blake Dowdy (Claire) and Matthew Lynn Dowdy (Kristin); brother-Michael Anthony Dowdy (Shirley) and sister-Denise Ann Dowdy Harlow; five grandchildren-Bentley Allan Dowdy, Brylee Ann Dowdy, Titan Riley Dowdy, Scarlett Lynne Dowdy and Kathryn Eliza Ramage Dowdy; two bonus daughters-Heaven Franklin (Sam) and Susie Neblett; five bonus grandchildren and thirteen bonus great grandchildren.

Preceded in death by-mother-Melba Gale Harrison Dowdy and father-Major W.C. Dowdy.

Sheila Bailey

NEW ALBANY – Sheila Ann Bailey, 63, went to her heavenly home on Monday, October 26, 2020. She was born on October 8, 1957, to Loise Goodman Bailey and Ruby Eveline Clayton Bailey. Sheila finished college with a four-year degree in Accountancy, and worked for BNA Bank and the Tax Assessor Office. She worked until her health no longer allowed her to. Sheila was a member of Hillcrest Baptist Church. She was very loved and will be greatly missed.

There will be a private family service held for Ms. Sheila with Bro. Jeff Lawrence officiating. United Funeral Service is honored to be entrusted with these arrangements.

Sheila is survived by a brother, Gary Bailey (Delaine), and a sister Daphnia Bailey McMillen.

She is preceded in death by her parents Loise Bailey, and Ruby Clayton Bailey.

In lieu of flowers the family request that memorials be made to St. Jude’s Children Hospital

For online condolences please visit

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