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Obituaries 02/25/21

Bobby Baker

PEORIA, ILL. – Mr. Bobby Baker, 58, transitioned on Saturday, February 13, 2021 at his residence in Peoria, Ill. He was former resident of Water Valley.
Graveside services were held on Monday, February 22, a 11 a.m., at Union Hill Cemetery in Water Valley. Serenity-Daniels Funeral Home of Water Valley was in charge of the arrangements.

Tommy Gavin Benefield

SCOBEY – Tommy Gavin Benefield, age 44, of Scobey died unexpectedly Sunday, February 21, 2021, in Grenada. He was born December 8, 1976, in Biloxi to the late Otis Benefield, I, and Maria (Winner) Benefield.
Known in some circles as the “Gentle Giant,” Tommy was known to have a huge heart. He was the kind of person who was always concerned about those he knew and loved. As such, he loved to reach out and help people in need. Tommy was also a very talented artist who loved to draw and paint. He had even customized shoes for people. One thing that appealed to him so was Marvel Comics and their characters. He also loved anything to do with Star Wars.
Visitation is planned for Friday, February 26, in the Gardiner Room of Seven Oaks Funeral Home from noon until 2 p.m. Services will follow at 2 p.m. in the Henry Chapel of Seven Oaks with Bro. Brenan Allen officiating. Burial will be in Elam Cemetery in Coffeeville.
Tommy is survived by one sister, Kristina Kendall (Roger) of Scobey; one brother, Otis Benefield, II; five nieces, Angel Kendall, Madison Benefield, Haley Kendall, Kymberlie Benefield, Memphis Benefield; two nephews, Mike Kendall, Otis Benefield; and one great niece, Ellie Kendall.
Tommy was preceded in death by both of his parents.

Ralph Jackson Byford

COFFEEVILLE – Mr. Ralph Jackson Byford, 75, of Coffeeville passed away Sunday, February 14, 2021, at his residence.  He was born June 11, 1945 in Coffeeville to Herman Billy and Martha Cordelia Brewer Byford.
Ralph honorably served our country in the United States Army and Mississippi Army National Guard.  He was a devoted member of the Water Valley VFW Post #4100 and also served as District Commander of District 10.  He was a member of New Hope Baptist Church near Coffeeville. Ralph always had a servant’s heart and served as a volunteer fireman in each community where he lived, totaling over 40 years of service.
Funeral services were held Sunday, February 21, at McKibben and Guinn Funeral Service in Grenada with Rev. Bobby R. Jones and Rev. Billy Hill officiating.  Family and friends gathered at the funeral home prior to the service. A private burial was held at the Dividing Ridge Cemetery in Yalobusha County.
Survivors include his longtime soulmate, Carol Conner of Coffeeville; three daughters, Kelly Walker, Bonnie Byford and Jessica Langham, all of Grenada; one sister, Inez Russell of Coffeeville; two stepsons, Jamie Brewer of Carrollton and Michael Brewer of North Carolina; seven grandchildren, Sissy Walker, Randy Walker, Jr., Devin Dunn, William Cole Langham, Teresa Dunn, Piper Langham and Michael Andrew Langham; four step-grandchildren, Riley Brewer, Annie Brewer, Ronnie, Mary and Sarah Brewer; and two great-grandchildren, Isaiah Latrell Langham and Waylon Joseph Brewer.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a wife, Betty Ann Fisk Byford; siblings, Billy, J.D. and Ralph Criss Byford, as well as an infant sister, Ruby Byford.
Arrangements have been entrusted to McKibben and Guinn Funeral Service in Grenada, (662-307-2694).

Betty Ann Staten Levy

OXFORD – Mrs. Betty Ann Staten Levy, 76, died Thursday, February 18, 2021, at her home in Oxford. The funeral service was held Monday, February 22, at 2 p.m. in the Chapel of Waller Funeral Home with Rev. Gerald Shook officiating. Burial followed in St. Peter’s Cemetery.
Mrs. Levy was born in Charleston to the late Henry and Ellie Staten and was the widow of Mr. David Levy. Together they found great joy in raising their boys in Oxford and escaping to their favorite beach as often as possible. Family vacations to Fort Walton Beach, Fla. held some of her most precious memories. Mrs. Levy was a longtime nurse and worked as the head nurse at Baptist Memorial Hospital North Mississippi for many years. She was an active member of Anchor Baptist Church and a loyal philanthropist to many organizations.
She is survived by her four sons, David Levy, III, of Oxford, Scott Lowery and his wife, Pam, of Oxford, John Levy and his wife, Janice, of Banner and Chris Lowery and his wife, Christie, of Water Valley; a brother, Doyle Staten of Charleston; nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Marvin Eugene Nelson

SYLVA RENA – Marvin Eugene Nelson, age 80, of Sylva Rena died unexpectedly Sunday, February 21, 2021, at his home. Better know as “Gene,” he was born October 26, 1940, in Arkansas.
Gene faithfully served our county during two tours in Vietnam in 1967-1968. After returning home, he worked a vast array of jobs, which included the Schlitz Beer factory, running Vic’s lounge in Memphis, as well as a mechanic for Caterpillar Equipment manufacturing. He was a man that pretty well kept to himself, which afforded him time to enjoy hunting and fishing.
The family will celebrate his life with a memorial service at a later date.
Gene is survived by his wife of 14 years, Debra Nelson; four children; four step-children; one brother; two sisters; as well as his grand children and great-grandchildren.
Gene was preceded in death by both of his parents.
Seven Oaks Funeral Home is honored to have served the Nelson family.

Kay Wilbourn Smith

BATESVILLE – Kay Wilbourn Smith, affectionately known as “Kay Kay”died Sunday evening, February 21, 2021, at Providence Assisted Living Home in Batesville. She was 77.
A celebration of her life will be Friday, February 26, at First United Methodist Church in Batesville. Visitation is from 9-11 a.m., followed by the funeral at 11 a.m. A private burial will be held afterwards at Oak Hill Cemetery in Water Valley.
Mrs. Smith was born August 1, 1943, in Water Valley, to James K. Wilbourn and Eva Sartain Wilbourn. She graduated from Water Valley High School in 1961, where she was a cheerleader and a state officer for Y-Teens. She was the 1961 “Lady of the Lake” for Sardis Reservoir.
She attended Mississippi State College for Women (now Mississippi University for Women), then transferred to the University of Mississippi, where she was a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority, graduating with a Bachelor of Education in 1964. Mrs. Smith married the love of her life, Ben Barrett Smith, on June 7, 1964.
She began her heartfelt teaching career that lasted decades, influencing a generation of children in northwest Mississippi. Mrs. Smith became well-known in Batesville and Panola County as a stellar kindergarten teacher, first at Little Red Schoolhouse and then at West Panola Academy (later North Delta School). She and her teaching partners were proud of their reputations for excellence in early childhood education, and for their elaborately-detailed Christmas programs and graduation ceremonies.
She was an active member of First United Methodist Church in Batesville. Mrs. Smith was a chairperson of the Council on Ministries, led the children’s music ministry for several decades, and had multiple leadership roles in Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and music ministries, where she used her gifts on piano and in song. She was a longtime participant in Explorer’s Bible Study. Mrs. Smith was a charter member of the Junior Auxiliary of Batesville, an officer of the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries, and 1981 Queen of the Junior Auxiliary Charity Ball.
She was preceded in death by her parents and husband. Survivors include her daughter, Stacy Smith Climer and husband, Tim, of Batesville; a son, Will B. Smith and wife, Anne Fairley, of Oxford; seven grandchildren, Barrett Climer, Abbey Climer, Alden Climer, Sydney Smith, John Graeber, IV, Leland Graeber and Duncan Graeber; and one brother-in-law, Pete Smith and wife Brenda of Newnan, Georgia.

Charles Benny Williams

MENA, Ark. – Charles Benny Williams, age 75, passed away February 15, 2021 in Mena, Ark. He was born on March 8, 1945 in Coffeeville to the late Benny and Bessie Williams.
Charles loved the Lord and was a devout Baptist. He enjoyed hunting and fishing when he was able. He enjoyed race cars and the dirt track. Everyone who knew Charles knew of his love for softball. In his professional life he worked as a lineman for the electric company.
He is survived by his wife, Marsha; sons, Hervie Williams and wife Crystal of Mena, Arkansas, and Markus Williams and wife Bridgette of Kansas City, Mo.; daughters, Ninner Nadean Williams of Dallas, Texas, Monica Leigh Ehrct of Mississippi, Aimmee Dawn Lee of Japan, and Dakota Lynn Williams of Mena, Ark.; nine grandchildren; three great grandchildren; sisters, Ethel, Maxine and Ninner; his faithful canine companion, BeeBee.
Charles is preceded in death by his parents; and brothers, George and Wilbour.
Charles will be sent for cremation under the direction of the Beasley-Wood Funeral Home. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

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