Skip to content

Obituaries 12/07/2017

Billie Jean Babb

MEMPHIS—Mrs. Billie Jean Babb, 76, passed away Saturday, November 25, 2017, in Baptist East Hospital at Memphis.

Visitation was held Wednesday, November 29, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in Paris Baptist Church. The funeral service followed at one o’clock. Interment was in Paris Cemetery with Bro. Larry Wicker officiating. Coleman Funeral Home of Oxford was in charge of arrangements.

Mrs. Babb was born in Coffeeville. She was a homemaker who enjoyed sewing and collecting dolls. She loved being outdoors and in nature. She had a great love for rodeos, fishing, and working in her gardens. Mrs. Babb grew up and spent most of her life in Mississippi, but then moved to Louisiana for some time. She then found a home in Memphis, where she spent the rest of her days.

Survivors include her husband, Charles Babb of Millington, Tenn.; three sons, Darriell Babb of Memphis, Bryan Babb (Lisa) of Covington, Tenn., and Joe Babb of Millington; three daughters, Brenda Smith of Drummonds, Tenn., Lynda Rook (Mickey) of Memphis, and Lori Glessing of West Memphis, Ark.; two sisters, Margie Peters of Arkansas and Rachel Clark of Olive Branch; one brother, Mike Melton of Baton Rouge, La.; 14 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Mrs. Babb was preceded in death by her parents, Velma Cleo Melton and Carl Bilbo Melton; two brothers, Harry Melton and Henry Melton; and one sister, Martha Hollowell.

Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

Annie Rose Beeler

WATER VALLEY—Mrs. Annie Rose Beeler, 74, passed away Tuesday, November 21, 2017, in Baptist Memorial Hospital—North Mississippi at Oxford. 

A memorial service was held Saturday, December 2, at 5 p.m. in Yalobusha Primitive Baptist Church at Water Valley. Coleman Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Mrs. Beeler was born in Yalobusha County. She was described as a beyond-talented woman, who was extremely creative and excelled at things such s painting, sewing and anything to do with arts and crafts. She loved her Lord and Savior and reading the Bible. However, she loved nothing more than her family.

Survivors include one son, John Daniel Beeler of Water Valley; a granddaughter, Jonlyn Daniel Beeler of Bruce; two grandsons, Ryan Marrocola Beeler (Michelle) of Dallas,Texas and Frank Springer Beeler of Oxford; three great-grandchildren; five siblings; and a host of nieces and nephews. 

Mrs. Beeler was preceded in death by her husband, Claude Beeler; her parents, William Everett Pryor and Myrtle Irene Hyles Pryor; one daughter, Elizabeth Julanne Beeler; a brother, William Pryor, and her grandparents, Thomas and Gertrude Hyles.

Thomas Clinton Cox

COFFEEVILLE—Thomas Clinton Cox, age 79, of Coffeeville passed away on Friday, December 1, 2017, in Baptist Memorial  Hospital—North Mississippi at Oxford.

He was born March 30, 1938, in Water Valley, to the late Eva French Cox and Joe Thomas Cox. Tom was a Vietnam War veteran, first serving in the U.S. Army, then later retiring from the US Air Force. He had a passion for military and battlefield memorabilia and enjoyed learning and discussing wars and related history. Tom had compassion for animals and considered all animals his friends. He was Church of Christ by faith.

Visitation will be held Wednesday, December 6, from 9-10 a.m. in Seven Oaks Funeral Home, with services beginning at 11 a.m. in the Henry Chapel of the funeral home. Burial will be in Oak Hill Cemetery at Water Valley.

Survivors include a daughter, Kibby Powell of Middle Town, Md.; a son, Jason Cox (Malissa) of San Antonio,Texas; one sister, Bettie  (Ron) Morris of Snellville, Ga.; a brother, Bruce Edward Cox of Florence, Ala.; three grandchildren, Garrett Cox, Ian Cox, and Nicole Powell; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. In addition, Tom also is survived by Portia Bryars and Andy Fly, who adopted him into their family; and many other friends.

In addition to his parents, Tom was preceded in death by a sister, Margaret Faye Mitchell, and a brother, James Robert Cox.

Martha Costen Fortinberry

Thanksgiving Day, we Fortinberrys, husbands, children, and Martha’s son, John Haas from New York, met at W.  C. and Mary Lou Vaughn’s home in Lena to memorialize and celebrate the passing of our sister, Martha Costen (Marti or Mollie) Fortinberry.

She was born on March 17, 1941 in Memphis, Tenn. and died on Monday, November 20, 2017, in Jackson, Mississippi, just as my youngest sister, Mary Lou Vaughn, and I (Sylvia Lowe), were praying for her, committing her into the hands of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We shared memories of Marti, some wonderful and some traumatic. We cried and laughed and comforted one another. After Thanksgiving lunch, we walked down to the pond where her niece, Megan Vaughn, played Marti’s favorite song, “A Time to Say Goodbye,” sung by Andrea Bocelli, as we strewed her ashes and flowers over the water, according to her wishes.This pond was special to Marti, being the last place she had good times, swimming and fishing. Then on the banks of the pond we held hands and my (Sylvia’s) daughter, her niece, Martha Louise, led us in singing Amazing Grace twice.

We have all mourned the loss of our sister, who was the sweetest, most intelligent, kindest, most generous, loyal, fun, talented, gifted, beautiful, and a real Christian, who would later succumb to psychosis and drift in and out until her death. All the medical help all over the country, and all the love we gave her did not keep her well.

We now rejoice that she is set free, delivered, and all of her beauty is restored for all eternity in Heaven.

Sylvia Louise Fortinberry Lowe, “the eldest” writes: “Thou hast tuned “her”  mourning into dancing. Thou has put off “her” sackcloth; and girdeth “her” with gladness. To the end that “her” glory may sing praises to thee; and not be silent. Oh, Lord my  God, I will give thanks unto thee forever”.

Survivors include a son, John Haas; siblings, Sylvia Fortinberry Lowe (Joe), Irene Fortinberry Wine (Dennis), Toxie Anne Fortinberry Filberth, Marjoire Fortinberry Barnard (Rick), Sabrina Fortinberry Whelan, Tom Fortinberry, Mary Lou Fortinberry Vaughn (W.C.), and Luther Fortinberry.

Memorials may be sent to: R. W. Moffett (a kind and helpful pastor), Cornerstone Church, 212 CR 387, Water Valley, MS 38965 or National Alliance for Mental Illness, 2618 Southland St., Suite 100, Jackson, MS 38216 (an organization that was very helpful to Marti and the family).

Earl Kehoe, Jr.

WATER VALLEY—Earl Kehoe, Jr., age 87, of Water Valley died Wednesday, November 29, 2017, in Baptist Memorial Hospital—North Mississippi at Oxford.

Born March 3, 1930 in Batesville, Earl was a son of the late Curtis David Kehoe and Clyde Estelle Hollinger Kehoe. He was a U.S. Army veteran. Earl was a carpenter and was employed by US Steel. He enjoyed fishing in his boat and watching TV. He was a member of Camp Ground Baptist Church.

Visitation was held Friday, December 1, in Seven Oaks Funeral  Home at Water Valley from 12-2 p.m. The funeral service followed at two o’clock in the Henry Chapel of the funeral home with Bro. Jerry Vaughn officiating. Burial was in Delay Road Baptist Church Cemetery with Matthew Kehoe, Jake Ward, Braydon Craven, Shane Craven, Cameron Parson and Mike Craven as pallbearers.

Earl is survived by his wife, Ruby Miles Kehoe of Water Valley; four daughters, Betty Sue Cox of Georgetown, S.C., Shirley Ann Watts of Gore Springs, Dorothy Fay Denham of Water Valley, and Mary Katherine Bolaus (Richard) of Water Valley; one son, David Earl Kehoe of Water Valley; two brothers, Ben Horan and Dewitt Kehoe, both of Water Valley; 11 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.

In addition to his parents, Earl was preceded in death by five sisters, Betty Dee Melton, Hattie Mae Mathis, Mary Elizabeth Dunn, Wilma Sarton and Frances Vaughn; and three brothers, George Kehoe, James Curtis Kehoe, and Jack Curtis Kehoe.

Betty Lane Ross

WATER VALLEY—Betty Lane Ross, age 87, of Water Valley died November 30, 2017, in Yalobusha Nursing Home.

Born April 13, 1930, Mrs. Ross was a daughter of the late J. P. and Marguarette Williamson. She was a homemaker who loved her family and enjoyed working puzzles with them. She was of the Baptist faith.

The funeral service was held Monday, December 4, in Seven Oaks Funeral Home with Rev. R. W. Moffet officiating. Visitation was held two hours prior to service time. Interment was in Oak Hill Cemetery at Water Valley with Steve Ross, Steve King, David DuBard, Chad Wrenn, Matt Ross and Chris Dickey as pallbearers.

Betty is survived by two daughters, Kathy Dickey of Tupelo and Diane Edwards of Water Valley; a son, William Ross (Doddie) of Coffeeville; a sister, Bobbette Trobridge of Dermott, Ark.; nine grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

In addition to her parents, Betty was preceded death by her husband, Floyd J. Ross; a son, Randy Ross; and a  brother, Mike Jenkins.

Luella Daniels Turner

WATER VALLEY—Mrs. Luella Daniels Turner , 95, died November 21, 2017.

Born January 4, 1922, in Water Valley, she was a daughter of the late Hezzie and Irene Daniels. Luella accepted Christ as her  Lord and Savior at an early age and was baptized at House of Prayer Church of God in Christ. She remained a faithful member and served as an usher and mother of the church until her health began to fail. Afterwards, she lived in Belzoni with her daughter before returning to Water Valley where she resided in Yalobusha Nursing Home. Luella married CliftonTunrer, Sr. October 28, 1940 and to this union eight children were born. 

Survivors include three sons, Clifton Turner, Jr. (Barbara) of Flint, MI, Jerry Turner, Sr. (Dorothy) and William D. Turner, Sr., both of Water Valley; three daughters, Martha Lue Hart (James) of Belzoni, Diane Freeman (Clay) and Debra Armstrong of Water Valley; a daughter-in-law, Vivian Turner of Flint, MI; one sister, Bertha Judson of Water Valley; two sisters-in-law, Hattie Pearl Daniels and Ethel Mae Daniels of Chicago; 26 grandchildren; 53 great-grandchildren; a  special nephew, Chris Turner; and a host of nieces, nephews, and other relatives and friends.

In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by her husband, Clifton Turner, Sr., one daughter, Patricia; a son, Leroy Turner; a great-grandson, Jevont’a Turner; six sisters, Lena, Mattie Lou, Belle, Mary Lee, Evelyn, and Ruby; and seven brothers, Hezzie, Jr., Shadrick, James Robert, George, Wilson, and Willie B.

The funeral service was held Saturday, November 25, with Elder Eldridge Smith officiating. Sister Evelyn Willingham was Mistress of Ceremonies and Supt. Moses Wright is pastor.  Interment was in Oak Ridge Cemetery. with James Andre’ Hart, Marcus Hart, Jerry Turner, Jr., Shedlia Freeman, Johnathan Hauer, and Gregory Turner as pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers were Clifton Turner, Jr., Wiilliam D. Turner, James Hart, Jerry Turner, Sr., Chris Turner, and Clay V. Freeman. Funeral arraignments were entrusted to Skeeter Robinson Funeral Home, Grenada.

Samuel Vance

OAKLAND—Samuel Vance died November 27, 2017, at his home in Oakland, with his family by his side. 


Born in Orange, Calif. during World War II and named Sammy Ray by his oldest sister, Samuel Ray Vance was a son of Grace Osborn and Samuel Robert Vance. He grew up to be a very strong and caring young man. The third of four children, he was the oldest son and loved to play football in high school. He was the fullback and was nicknamed “Bull Dozer.” During his college years, he liked to surf at Newport Beach and Doheny. Then Uncle Sam knocked on the door and he said, “Here I am.” 

Sam went to the Army and after being stationed in Louisiana and Georgia, he went to Fort Campbell, Ky. While there, he visited the small town of Portland, Tenn. with a buddy and met his soulmate, Flora, who became his wife for over 50 years. His mom and dear Aunt Vestar warned him when he left for service, “Don’t get involved with any floozy, especially from the South!”

When he was discharged in May 1967, Sam, Flora, and their four-month-old son, Robert, flew to Los Angeles and moved back to Orange, Calif. He worked in the retail industry and advanced through management positions. During the next 10 years, he had two more sons,Tom and Bryan. His three sons were the pleasure of his life. He coached little league baseball for all three sons and never missed football practice or games for his sons. He was the best cheerleader any son could ever want. In the mid 90s, Sam had a massive heart attack and was plagued with a weak heart for the rest of his life. He and Flora moved to Tucson where Sam designed and supervised the building of their retirement home. He thoroughly enjoyed the desert and started gourmet cooking. In 1999, they moved to Boston. There he supervised the restoration of a Victorian house, built in 1894. He enjoyed the neighborhood and neighbors, but didn’t adjust to the long winters with gray skies. After five years they moved back to Tucson where Sam maintained his membership in the Fountain of Life Lutheran Church. When Flora wanted to restore an old southern house, he was excited about another life adventure. They visited the Herron House in Oakland and he knew that would be the house. After moving to Mississippi, Sam and Flora opened a Bed and Breakfast at the Herron House. He was impressed with the hospitality and gracious people in Mississippi.

He loved his grandchildren very much and was always shopping for things he thought they would enjoy. He loved his siblings and nieces, nephews and cousins, as well as Flora’s siblings, nieces and nephews. Sam thoroughly enjoyed life. His entertaining and joking sense of humor contributed to many wonderful memories and stories with great friends and family. 

The funeral service was held Thursday, Nov. 30 in the Henry Chapel of Seven Oaks Funeral Home at Water Valley with Rev. Clay Baker and Rev. Catherine Camp officiating. Visitation was held prior to the service. Sam’s body was returned to Orange, Calif. for burial in Fairhaven Cemetery.

Sam is survived by his wife, Flora Vance of Oakland; three sons, Robert Vance (Daphne) of Tustin, Calif., Tom Vance of Casper, Wy., and Bryan Vance of Santa Ana, Calif.; a brother, Bill Vance of Phoenix, Ariz.; and seven grandchildren, Marinna Albaradei (Alex), Sam Vance, Savannah Vance, Sierra Vance, Silas Vance, Steven Vance and Samantha Vance.

Leave a Comment