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Obituaries 07/16/20

Lily Ruth Champion

ATHENS, ALA.—Lily Ruth Champion, 78, passed away on July 11, 2020, at her home in Athens, Ala.

A daughter of S. C. and Bessie Shoemake, Lily was born in Bruce and grew up in Water Valley. She graduated from the University of Mississippi with a degree in Elementary Education. Lily married her high school sweetheart, Dan Champion. She taught school in Saint Bernard Parish and later in Baton Rouge, La., before relocating to east Tennessee. There she invested her self in her family, her church, and her art-passions, which she continued through subsequent moves to South Carolina, Memphis and Alabama.

Lily was a devoted mother and grandmother, a woman of strong faith, and a talented painter. Her watercolor landscapes and portraits were featured in a number of exhibits, as well as North Light magazine. Many of her works grace the walls of family members and friends, tangible memories of how she viewed the world.

Survivors include her husband Dan Champion; daughters, Tara DuBose-Schmitt (Heinrich), and Lori Kerns (Joshua); grandchildren, Michaela, Evelyn, Julia, and Corinna DuBose-Schmitt, and Iris, Autumn, and Eli Kerns; brothers, Sam Shoemake (Elizabeth), and Tommy Shoemake (Becky); a sister, Mary Helms (Bill); and a cousin, Randy Bounds (Brenda).

Due to COVID concerns, a memorial service will be held at a later time.


Llanda Bowles Geiger 

ENID–Mrs. Llanda Bowles Geiger, age 51, passed away at her home on Monday, July 6, 2020. She was a homemaker.

Born July 3, 1969, in Mississippi, she was the daughter of Priscilla Sue Nelson Pittman of Enid and the late James Bowles. Her deceased spouse was Bryan Geiger.

In addition to her mother, survivors include two daughters, Melissa Dunn of Charleston, and Felicia Dunn of Grenada; one sister, Regina Hood of Enid; three brothers, Dickey Bowles of Charleston, Charles Gazaway of Oakland and Allen Lancaster of Arlington, Tenn.; four grandchildren, Aiden Scallions, Landon Scallions, Caleb Cole, and Paisley Cole.

The family will have a private service at a later date.

Herbert Eugene Green

WATER VALLEY—Herbert Eugene Green, age 61, of Water Valley died unexpectedly Monday, July 6, 2020, at his home.

Born December 10, 1958, in Memphis, he was a son of the late Henry and Marjorie Barton Green. Herbert moved to Water Valley with his parents in 1969, when they bought and ran the “Red Barn.” Before becoming disabled, Herbert spent  his working career in Water Valley at Holley Carburetor and later BorgWarner. Those who knew him knew of his knack for conversation. He could talk about anything, but loved to discuss history. He enjoyed tending his cows and collecting various things of interest. Herbert had, at one time, attended Bethel Baptist Church.

Visitation was held Saturday, July 11, from 10-11 a.m.  in the Gardiner Room of Seven Oaks Funeral Home. The funeral service followed at 11 a.m. in the Henry Chapel of the funeral  home with Bro. Hal Clark officiating. Burial was in Oak Hill Cemetery.

Herbert is survived by one son, Eric Green (Stephanie); three grandchildren, Brandon Green, Madison Green, and Katelin LaCook; two great-grandchildren, Kayden McPhail and Mila Funchess, all of Water Valley.


Gloria Willene King

BIRMINGHAM. ALA. – Gloria Willene King went home on July 9, 2020, to reside in spirit with the Lord Jesus Christ until His second advent, when she will receive an immortal body and reside on the Creator’s new and eternal earth.

She was born November 13, 1936, in Bassfield to Homer and Virsie Lea (Matheny) Quick. After the death of her father, when Gloria was a toddler, Gloria’s mother married S. L. Bell, Jr. of Water Valley. His work with the Tennessee Valley Authority carried the family to Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, New York and Texas. When Gloria was 11 years old, the family moved to Water Valley. 

After attending the fifth grade at Camp Ground School, Gloria entered the Water Valley School System for the remainder her elementary and high school years. She and Ersel were childhood sweethearts, considered by classmates to be a pair going all the way back to the sixth grade. She attended Mississippi State College for Women (MSCW) for two years and then transferred to Ole Miss. After her junior year, she and Ersel were married. 

Upon Ersel’s graduation from Ole Miss and during his subsequent work with International Paper Company, Gloria and Ersel and their daughters lived in Arkansas, Alabama and Louisiana. Gloria and her family moved back to Water Valley in 1978, where Ersel assumed ownership of King’s Furniture shortly after his father retired from the business. Gloria and Ersel operated the business until they retired in 2002.

A talented seamstress, Gloria made her own wedding dress after seeing a picture of it in a magazine. Gloria was a long-time member of the Town and Country Garden Club. She loved making flower arrangements for her home and for display at garden club meetings. An avid bridge player, she enjoyed her membership in two local bridge clubs.

Gloria was a faithful and active member of First Presbyterian Church in Water Valley, where she served on numerous committees, as well as the president of the Women in the Church. Gloria made Birmingham, Ala. her home for the past two and one-half years, where she attended Altadena Valley Presbyterian Church with her daughter, Lea Anne. Gloria continued to play bridge, joined a community book club and led a very active and happy social life.

She is survived by two daughters, Lea Anne Parker (Barry) of Birmingham and Laura Kay Burbank (Steve) of Franklin, Tenn.; and three grandsons, Nathan Burbank, Andrew Burbank, and Preston Burbank.

In addition to her parents and step-father, she was preceded in death by her husband of 57 years, Carmon “Ersel” King, Jr.; and an infant son, Steven Ersel King.

Interment was in Oak Hill Cemetery at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, July 14. Visitation followed from 11 until noon in First Presbyterian Church of Water Valley. Services followed at noon with Bro. Harold Spraberry officiating. Seven Oaks Funeral Home had charge of arrangements.

Memorials may be sent to Graceworks Ministries https.// (Franklin, TN) and Lifeline Children’s Services https//iifelinechildorg/ (Birmingham, AL) for the furtherance of the gospel.


Betty Jane Toole Mathews

BATESVILLE—Betty Jane Toole Mathews, age 77, passed away peacefully early Sunday morning, July 12, 2020, after battling metastatic breast cancer.

Graveside services were held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 14, in Enid Oak Hill Cemetery at Enid, with Pastor Jerry Long officiating. Pallbearers were Blake Toole, Charles Toole, Hunt Toole, John Toole, Lee Toole, Mark Toole, Raymond Toole and Shannon Vernon.

Born April 2, 1943, Betty Jane was a daughter of the late James A. Toole and Janie Lee McCullar Toole. She was a graduate of Oakland High School and received a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Delta State University. She was a lifelong educator, teaching for over 43 years. Her love for her students and education was evident when she was voted Teacher of the Year. She was an active member of Pine Hill Presbyterian Church until moving to Batesville to be closer to her daughter and family, when she  transferred her membership to Batesville Presbyterian Church. Betty Jane was also a member of the Explorers Bible Study Group. After moving to Batesville, she joined the Batesville Garden Club. Her creativity and love for flowers and gardening was reflected by her beautiful yard. She loved shopping and lunch dates with her special friends, grandchildren, and daughter.

She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Travis Mathews; and brothers, James Toole, Robert Toole, and Melvin Toole.

Survivors include her daughter, Meg Mathews Woods (Rusty) of Batesville; grandchildren, Carlee Woods White (Colton) of Marks, and Sulli and Mathew Woods of Batesville; a brother, Terry Toole (Lou) of Grenada; a sister, Carolyn Via of Enid; and a host of nieces, nephews, and friends.

Memorials may be made to Enid Oak Hill Cemetery, attention Missy Rogers, 1990 James Road, Enid, MS 38927, or Batesville Presbyterian Church, 121 Eureka St., Batesville, MS 38606.


Richard Earl Robbins

COFFEEVILLE—Richard Earl Robbins, age 73, of Coffeeville, died Saturday, July 4, 2020, in Baptist Memorial Hospital – North Mississippi at Oxford.

Born August 2, 1946, in Batesville, he was a son of the late Earl and Martha Creswell Robbins. Richard proudly and bravely served our country during the Vietnam War aboard the USS Higbee.

The family will hold a private ceremony at a later date.

Richard is survived by two brothers, James Howard Robbins of Coffeeville and William “Bill” Derrell Robbins (Bette) of Collierville, Tenn.; and one sister, Billie Gail Collins (Mike) of Water Valley.


Betty Jo White

WATER VALLEY—Betty Jo White, age 78, passed away peacefully Wednesday, July 8, 2020, in her home at Water Valley.

The funeral service will  held at 1 p.m. Friday, July 20, in the Martin Willingham Memorial Chapel of Wells Funeral Home with interment to follow in Longtown Cemetery. The family will receive friends at 11 a.m., prior to the service. Those honored to serve as pallbearers are Raymon White, Noah Brown, Stefan Barlow, Zack Holliday, Marty Holiday and Bryce Winters.

Betty was born April 13, 1942, to the late Nather Franklin and Jewel Hill Franklin in Birdie, Miss. She worked in a factory for  most of her life and was a member of the Crenshaw Baptist Church. Betty loved gardening and flowers. She also enjoyed sewing, talking with people about life, and adored her grandchildren.

She leaves her husband, Roy White of Water Valley; seven children, John Barlow (Machelle) of Sarah, Aaron Barlow of Crenshaw, Karen Joiner (Mark) of Water Valley, Michelle Cullen (Jon) of Oxford, Janice Holland (Cotton) of Winona, Raymon White (Melanie) of Dunlap, Ill., and Amy Salter of Peoria, Ill.; two sisters, Yvonne Nelson of Batesville and Carolyn White of Oxford; four grandchildren, Erica Barlow, Stefan Barlow, Madison Green, and Hayley Morris; two step-grandchildren; and 20 great-grandchildren.

Along with her parents, she was preceded in death by her first husband, Charles Barlow; three sisters, Martha Ann Winters, Margaret Franklin and Bernice Brewer; and five brothers, Jimmy, Larry, Steve, Johnny and Jerry Franklin.

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