Obituaries 01/02/20

Methel Wilma Bell

FLORA – Methel Wilma Bell, formerly of Water Valley, died Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019 at her residence. She was a homemaker.

Methel was born Sept. 27, 1934 in Arkansas. She was preceded in death by her husband, William Russell Bell; her parents; and eight siblings. She is survived by two daughters, Peggy Luther of Arkansas and Judy (Terry) Bowen of Mize; four grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and four great-great grandchildren.

Graveside services were held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21, at Oak Hill Cemetery in Water Valley. Mortimer-National Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.


William “Bill” Sidney Bell, Sr.

HUMBOLDT, TENN.—William “Bill” Sidney Bell, Sr. passed away December 19, 2019, in the Tennessee Veterans’ Home in Humboldt, Tenn.

Born in Nashville, Tenn. May 8, 1924, he was a son of the late Sidney R. and Lizzie Lou Cocke Bell, former residents of Route One, Oakland. He was reared in Memphis, Paducah and Little Rock, where he graduated from Catholic High in 1943. After graduation he joined the Amy Air Corps during World War II. He was a togglier on a B17 in the 8th Air Force. When he returned from the war, he was a student at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark. where he met Kathleen Strickland and they were married August 24, 1947. He began working for the Arkansas Power and Light Company in Wynne, Helena, and then transferred to Forrest City in 1959, where he retired in 1986 after 32 years with AP&L.

He enjoyed camping, buying and selling pistols and was a coin collector since childhood. He was also an avid Razorback fan. He was a member of the Plainview United Methodist Church.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Kathleen, of 70 years; and his son-in-law, Roger Hamilton, Jr. He is survived by his children, Sharon Hamilton of Conway, Ark., Bill Bell, Jr. of Lynwood, Wash., and Melissa Duncan of Jackson, Tenn. and her friend, Jimmy Floyd; grandchildren,David, Daniel (Jodi), and Drew Duncan; and three great-grandchildren.

The funeral service was held Friday, December 27, in Lemley Chapel, Atkins, Ark., with burial in Oakland Cemetery, north of Atkins. The services were under the direction of Lemley Funeral Service of Atkins.


Mary Lynn Bonner

OXFORD – Mary Lynn Bonner, age 71, of Oxford died peacefully Monday, December 23, 2019 at her home surrounded by family. 

Mary was born March 16, 1948 in Water Valley to the late Samuel and Faye (Jones) Wilbourn. She attended Delta State where she received a degree in education. Her joys were many, which included flowers, reading  and cooking. But her grandchildren were the greatest joy in her life. She was a member of the Master Gardeners, and attended First Baptist Church in Water Valley. 

Mary is survived by her husband of 52 years, James Bonner; three daughters, Heather Shankle (Mark) of Pontotoc, Melissa Breithaupt (Brian) of Oxford and Melanie Paige Smith (Daniel) of Brookhaven; two brothers, Albert Wilbourn (Janie) of Starkville and Billy Wilbourn (Ruth) of Water Valley; as well as 10 grandchildren. 

In addition to her parents, Mary was preceded in death by one brother, Sammy Wilbourn.

Visitation was held Monday, December 30, in the Gardiner Room at Seven Oaks Funeral Home from 3 to 4 p.m. A memorial service followed in Henry Chapel of Seven Oaks with Brad Burnett officiating. 


Ridgie Lee Hervey Fondon

WATER VALLEY – Ridgie Lee Hervey Fondon was born on July 20, 1936 to the union of Esley and Sinnie Booker Hervey. On Tuesday, December 24, 2019, God called her home. She grew up attending Pine Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Water Valley, where she accepted Christ at an early age. 

Ridgie married Richard “Dickey Boy” Fondon and to this union was born seven children. Ridgie later united with Everdale Missionary Baptist Church in Water Valley. Prior to her declining health, Ridgie enjoyed years of retirement from Holley Carburetor (Borg Warner). 

Visitation was held Monday, December 30, at Everdale M.B. Church in Water Valley from 9 to 11 a.m. The service followed at 11 a.m. with Rev. Phillip Brackett officiating. Burial was in Union Hill Cemetery. 

Ridgie leaves to cherish her memory, one daughter, Wanda (Woodrow) Daniels of Water Valley; five sons: James (Mary) Fondon of Marietta, Ga.; Leonard (Myra) Fondon of Oxford; Tommy (Janine) Fondon of Springfield, Ma.; Jerry Fondon of Columbus, Ga.; Charles (Ruth) Fondon of Tupelo; a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. 

Ridgie was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; a son, Michael Fondon; and siblings, Luella Palmer, Cora Woodard, Ned Hervey, Charles Hervey, Hattie Alexander, Nathaniel Hervey, Esley Hervey and Roosevelt Hervey.


Thomas David House

OXFORD—Thomas David House, age 78, of Oxford died peacefully Monday, December 23, 2019, in his home surrounded by family.

Born August 15, 1941, in Oxford, he was a son of the late Roy and Mary Harding House. He worked as a phone technician for the University of Mississippi. He enjoyed camping, fishing, hunting and all sorts of nature, but his greatest joy was found with his family. He was a founding member of Adonai Church.

Visitation was held Friday, December 27, from noon until 2 p.m. in the Gardiner Room at Seven Oaks Funeral  Home. The funeral began at 2 p.m. in the Henry Chapel of the funeral home with Bro. Roger Howell officiating. Burial was in Yocona Cemetery with Joe Varner, Darrell Varner, Jodey Varner, Clay Reeves, Johnathan Howell and David Howell as pallbearers.

Survivors include his wife of 55 years, Patricia House; one son, Jim House (Tammy) of Oxford; and five grandchildren, Cheyenne Baker, Dakota Montgomery, Justin Irvin, Laura Parker and Alan Collums.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Yocona Cemetery Fund at 324 CR 321, Oxford, MS 38655.


Jane Wright Johnson

WATER VALLEY—Jane Wright Johnson, age 79, of Water Valley died Thursday, December 28, 2019, in Yalobusha County Nursing Home.

Born August 21, 1940, in Water Valley, Jane was a daughter of the late Buford and Dessie Jackson Wright. She spent her 30-year career as an administrative assistant at Holley Carburetor and then at BorgWarner. She enjoyed reading and taking trips with the “Senior Saints” from Anchor Baptist Church, where she was a member. But Jane had no greater passion in her life than for her children and grandchildren.

Visitation was held Saturday, December 28, from 5-7 p.m. in the Gardiner Room at Seven Oaks Funeral Home. The funeral service began at 2 p.m. Sunday, December 29, in the Henry Chapel of the funeral home with Bro. Gerald Shook officiating. Burial was in Anchor Church Cemetery with Cameron Johnson, Brandon Johnson, Skyler Flowers, Clinton Mooney, Robert Doolin and Tommy Latham as pallbearers.

Jane is survived by two sons, Chris Johnson (Martha) and Brian Johnson (Andrea), all of Collierville, Tenn.; and four grandchildren, Brianna, Melody, Cameron and Brandon.

In addition to her parents, Jane was preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, Billy Johnson.


Wendell V. Johnson

OLIVE BRANCH – Surrounded by friends and family, Wendell V. Johnson passed away in his home on Dec. 8, 2019, after a long battle with SCA.

Wendell was born Sept. 11, 1949, in Paris, Miss. to Verlin and Dorothy Louise Johnson. He graduated from Water Valley High School in 1967 and later moved to Memphis where he met his wife and went on to graduate from Methodist Hospital School of Nursing. He worked in the Methodist Healthcare system for over 25 years as an ICU nurse and nursing home supervisor.

Wendell was a true outdoorsman who loved to hunt, fish and spend time with his children. He is survived by his loving wife of 41 years, Duyen Thi; their two daughters, Kristina Porter (Willis) of Memphis and Jennifer Johnson of Olive Branch; two sisters, Anita Martin Hesler (Melvin) of Water Valley and Reba Bedoya (Ed) of Shalimar, Fla.; and a brother-in-law, My-Kim Nguyen (Oanh) of Collierville, Tenn. He also leaves behind three grandchildren, Damen Pullen, Elle Porter and Owen Porter; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Visitation was held on Dec. 13 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Memorial Park Funeral Home in Memphis. Services were held the following day, Dec. 14, at 10 a.m. with Bro. Melvin Hesler, Sr. officiating. Pallbearers were Willis Porter, Damen Pullen, David Peppel, Tony Nguyen, Trusty Martin and Thi Nguyen.


James Don Murphree

ENID—James Don Murphree, age 82, passed away Friday, Decemer 27, 2019, at his residence.

The family received friends Sunday, December 29, from 5-8 p.m. in the Chapel of Newsom Funeral Home at Charleston. A second visitation was held Monday, December 30, from 10 a.m. until service time, beginning at 11 a.m. in Bethel United Methodist Church. Interment followed in Bethel Cemetery, Teasdale Community.

Mr. Murphree was a faithful Christian man and a member of Bethel United Methodist Church at Enid all of his life. He was loved by his family, grands and great-grands. He enjoyed his tractor, plowing, cutting grass and was a retired foreman for Sprinkler Fitter after 52 years of employment.

Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Virginia Hodges Murphree of Enid; three daughters, Lynn Miller (Justin) of Florence, Brenda Brasher of Oakland, and Vickie Oates (Stacy Barbee) of Oakland; his brother, Rae Murphree (Carol) of Smithville; seven grandchildren, Brett Brasher (Chelsi) of Starkville, Brigg and Blaye Brahser of Oakland, Dalton Murphee of Memphis, Adam Oates (Anna) of Pope, Josh Faulkner (Sarah) and Amanda Wilkinson (Ryan) of Madison; seven great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces and nephews.

Don is preceded in death by his parents, Amon and Eva Murphree, and his granddaughter, Ariel Brasher.


Ronald Joe Nicholas

OXFORD – Ronald Joe Nicholas, age 82, of Oxford, died peacefully Friday, December 20, 2019 at his home with family by his side. He was born April 30, 1937, on the same property where he passed. He is loved by his wife, his children, and grandchildren. 

The service was held Saturday, December 28, 2019 at Union West Baptist Church at 10 a.m. followed by a celebration of life at his home for family and friends. 


Anna Jeanette Simpson

WATER VALLEY – Anna Jeanette Simpson, age 88, of Water Valley died Wednesday, December 25, 2019 at Yalobusha General Nursing Home in Water Valley. She was born January 25, 1931, in Tennessee to the late Lester and Annabel (Hardy) Key and worked as a background painter for Lowe Studios. She enjoyed and was a member of the Country Club, Rook Club and the Garden Club. Jeanette was also a member of First Baptist Church. 

Visitation was held Saturday, December 28, in the Gardiner Room at Seven Oaks Funeral Home from noon until 2 p.m. Services followed in the Henry Chapel of Seven Oaks with Dr. Randy Bain officiating. Burial was  in Pinecrest Cemetery with Larry Hardy, Wayne Hardy, Steve Hardy, Carey Hardy, Brent King, and Craig King serving as pallbearers. 

Jeanette is survived by her husband of 40 years, Gene Simpson; one son, Gordon Simpson (Pam) of Oxford; one daughter, Cindy Wright of Batesville; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. 

Along with her parents, Jeanette was preceded in death by one granddaughter, Amanda Floyd.

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