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Obituaries 01/27/2022

Larry W. Champion

CHARLESTON – Mr Larry W. Champion, age 73, passed away peacefully at his home on Jan. 19, 2022. The family received friends on Friday, Jan. 21 from 1 p.m. until service at 2 p.m. at Corinth Baptist Church. Interment to follow at the church cemetery.

Larry loved his family and was a friend to many. He was a member of Corinth Baptist Church, where friendships meant so much to him as his health declined. He was thankful for every opportunity given to worship his Savior.

Anyone that knew Larry knew his love of hunting and all things outdoors. He especially loved the sport of fox hunting and served as judge for fox trial field events in Mississippi in other states. He developed many life-long cherished friendships while participating in this sport. The family extends  special thanks to Alton Strider for being his dear friend and seeing that he was able to enjoy one last hunt in recent months. He also loved deer hunting and was a member of Asculmore Hunting Club.

In earlier years, he enjoyed the sport of golf and spent many hours on the course with his big brother, Charles Michael. Larry retired from both Grenada Farms Inc. and Tallahatchie General Hospital maintenance.

Those whom he leaves behind include his wife, Diane Champion of Charleston; two daughters, Amanda Champion of Como, and Stacey Robb (Chad) of Charleston; two sons, Richie Champion (Debbie) of Pope and Curtis Todd (Jill) of Water Valley; seven grandchildren, Kayla Champion of Walls, Kelsey Champion of Batesville, Jacob Champion of Pope, Justin Champion of Pope, Eli Robb of Charleston, Molly Todd of Water Valley and Parker Todd of Water Valley; three great-grandchildren, Mila Baker, Noelle Baker and Noah Baker all of Batesville; two sisters, Anita Sykes (Johnny) of Charleston and Melanie Whitten (Tandy Sr.) of Charleston; one brother, Bennie Champion (Shirley) of Charleston; his sister-in-law, Emily Champion of Charleston; and a host of nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles H. and Elaine Champion, and his beloved brother, Charles Michael Champion.

Nancy Ferguson

WATER VALLEY – Mrs. Nancy Ann Ferguson, 71, died Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, at Baptist Memorial Hospital – North Mississippi. The memorial service was Friday, Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. in the Chapel of Waller Funeral Home with Rev Fish Robinson officiating. Visitation was held prior to the service at noon.

Nancy was born in Oxford to the late J.C. and Melba Edwards Mize. She retired from Whirlpool,where she worked as a line supervisor for over 30 years. A member of the Whirlpool softball team, Nancy found great enjoyment in the sport and played on many teams throughout the years. Each year, her husband, Norman, would plant and tend to their vegetable garden.  Nancy canned and stored everything. They worked as a team to provide fresh and delicious meals for their family to enjoy throughout the year.  Nancy and Norman would travel around to different markets and festivals to sell t-shirts designed and produced by their son, Robby, at Oxford Printwear. These trips provided many special memories that her family will cherish.  Above all, Nancy was a devoted wife and loving mother, who leaves her family with enough love to last a lifetime. In addition to her parents, Nancy is preceded in death by her sister, Shelby Montgomery; and two brothers, Charles Mize and Dewitt Mize.

Nancy is survived by her husband, Norman C. Ferguson of Water Valley; two sons, James Robert “Robby” Ferguson and his wife, Leslie, of Water Valley, and Paul Ferguson of Water Valley; a nephew who was more like a son, James Allison “Peanut” Davis of Water Valley; a sister, Pam Mills of Oxford; and many nieces and nephews.

Expressions of sympathy or memorial contributions in Nancy’s memory may be made to LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, P.O. Box 41817, Memphis, Tenn. 38174.

David L. Gray

COFFEEVILLE – Mr. David L. Gray, 80, of Coffeeville, passed away Friday, Jan. 14, 2022 at the University of Mississippi Medical Center – Grenada. He was born April 20, 1941 in Coffeeville to Lewis Rufus, Sr. and Margaret Bessie Vickery Gray.

David was a faithful and devoted member of First Baptist Church – Coffeeville where he served in many capacities including deacon, Sunday school teacher and choir member.  David spent most of his working life as a certified master electrician, and retired as a rural Carrier with the United States Postal Service. David honorably served our country in the United States Army and Air Force. His passing leaves a tremendous void in the lives he touched during his time on earth, but we rejoice in knowing he held in his soul the cure to death, a relationship with Jesus Christ.

A service to celebrate his life was held at noon Friday, Jan. 21, 2022 at Coffeeville First Baptist Church with Rev. Truman Scarborough and Rev. Craig Baker officiating. Interment followed in the Pilgrim’s Rest Cemetery in Yalobusha County. Family and friends gathered one hour prior to the service Friday at the church.

Survivors include six daughters, Bonnie C. Nelson of Coffeeville, Betty Melton (John) of Coffeeville, Bobbie Gray (Randy) of Coffeeville, Brenda Ford (Richard) of Coffeeville, Bernita Carvan (Rickey) of Enid and Beverly Campbell (Dreva) of Coffeeville; three sisters, Rebecca McCullar (William), Carolyn Sue McCormack (Jack) and Ellen Harper (Paul), all of Coffeeville; three brothers, Larry Joe Gray (Barbara) of Water Valley, Rodney Gray (Cheryl) of Coffeeville, and Donald Gray (Sherry) of Water Valley; 23 grandchildren, 53 great-grandchildren, and 14 great-great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Lewis Rufus Gray, Jr.; two grandchildren, Earl Raymond Nelson, III and Brandy Ford Boyd; two great-grandchildren, Zach Boyd and Braylin Boyd, and a son-in-law, Raymond Nelson, Jr.

Pallbearers were Austin Gray, Barry Gray, Brad Gray, Conner Gray, Lee Gray and Alan McCullar. Honorary pallbearers were Rickey Lyle Carvan, Dustin Davis, Cody Ford, Marshall Gardner, Anthony Gray, Bill Gray, Paul Gray, Ricky Melton, Jr. and Jason Nelson.

Martin Guest Langston, Jr.

OAKLAND – Martin (Marty) Guest Langston Jr., age 68, of Oakland passed away Friday, Jan. 21, 2022 at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford.

Marty was born Nov. 4, 1953 to the late Martin Guest (M.G.) and Ruby Langston in Charleston. Marty attended Oakland School until the school closed. He graduated from Coffeeville High School in 1971. He continued his education at Northwest Junior College and graduated from Mississippi State University in 1976. After college, Marty returned home to Oakland to help his dad with the dairy farm, which later expanded to a row crop farm. He loved hunting, fishing, and anything outdoors. He was a grill master, especially known for his amazing steaks. He loved his family and loved spoiling his grandchildren. Later in life Marty became involved in the cattle industry. For decades, he was instrumental in promoting the Gelbvieh breed throughout Mississippi and the southwest region of the U.S. He was an active member of the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association, Mississippi Gelbvieh Association, and American Gelbvieh Association.

Visitation was held Monday, Jan. 24, 2022, in the Gardiner Room at Seven Oaks Funeral Home from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Services  immediately followed at 1 p.m. in the Henry Chapel of Seven Oaks. Burial was in Oakland Cemetery.

Marty is survived by his wife of 44 years, Hope Langston of Oakland; one son, Peyton Langston of Gallatin, Tenn.; one daughter, Amanda Robinson (Morgan) of Cleveland; one brother, Doug Langston of Oakland; and five grandchildren.

As well as his parents, Marty was preceded in death by one son, Martin (Tripp) Guest of Langston, III.

Donations in Marty’s memory can be made to the Ford’s Well Church of Christ or the Mississippi Gelbvieh Association.

Paul M. Shearer

Panacea, Fla. — Paul Milton Shearer, age 83, died peacefully in a Panama City, Fla. hospital Jan. 16, 2022, with family at his bedside. A Celebration of Life will be held for family and close friends at his home on Feb. 5.

Born Oct. 15, 1938 in Houston, Miss. Paul was the middle son of Edward B. and Dolly Ruth Dalton Shearer. The family moved to Water Valley, where his father assumed the position as Editor of the North Mississippi Herald, when Paul was a preschooler. He graduated from Water Valley High School with the Class of 1956. Following high school graduation, he went on to graduate from Northwest Mississippi Junior College in Senatobia. An avid musician, Paul was a member of the WVHS Blue Devil Band, the chorus, and smaller ensembles. At NWJC, he was a member of the Ranger Band and chorus. While living in Pascagoula, he was a member of the Singing River Choral, when they performed “Jesus Christ SuperStar.”

After graduating from NWJC, Paul moved to Pascagoula, where he accepted a  position in the nuclear power department with Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation. Early in this employment, as a member of the Mississippi National Guard, he was called to active duty and served a short stint during the Berlin Crisis, before returning to employment with Ingalls.

When the Nuclear Power Department was phased out at Ingalls in 1982, he went to work with Bechtel as a nuclear engineer at the Three-Mile Island Nuclear Plant in Harrisburg, Penn., where he and his wife, Helen Smith Shearer lived. He was involved with the clean-up following the accident there. Later he was transferred to the Savannah River Nuclear Power Plant near Savannah, Ga., where he was employed until his retirement. During this time he and his wife, Helen, lived in Aiken, S.C. After his retirement and the death of his wife, Helen, he moved to Panacea, where he built a retirement home on the bay, south of Tallahassee.

In addition to his parents and his wife, Helen, Paul was also preceded in death by his older brother, Edward Bradley Shearer, who had succeeded his father as Editor of the Herald. Survivors include his wife, Sarah Jo “Jogie” Shearer; four sons, Paul Stephen Shearer, William Edward “Bill” Shearer (Susan), Jeffery Scott Shearer and Michael  Glenn Shearer; one granddaughter, Allison Leigh Shearer; his younger brother, John Thomas Shearer (Judy); two step-sons, Louis and Perry Lockhart; the mother of his four sons, Faye Poindexter Shearer; and sister-in-law, Betty Kilgore Shearer.

Paul was a very warm and friendly man, who made friends easily and had many friends. A very intelligent and talented person, he could do most anything. He and his wife, Faye, both enjoyed flying and sailing and during their years in Pascagoula. They spent much time in the air, both having earned their private licenses. They owned a sailboat and spent many hours sailing the high seas. His sons stated, “Dad will be greatly missed by his friends, and his family, whom he loved deeply, will certainly miss him.”

Phil Tharpe

BATESVILLE – Phil Tharpe, age 58, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, at the Baptist Memorial Hospital of North Mississippi in Oxford.

Funeral services for Phil were held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 16, in the Martin Willingham Memorial Chapel of Wells Funeral Home, with the interment following at Forrest Memorial Park. The family received friends Saturday evening, Jan. 15, at Wells Funeral Home.

Phil was born on Dec. 22, 1963 to William Emmit Tharpe and Iva Ann Hope Tharpe in Coffeeville. He worked in the Maintenance Department at the University of Mississippi. Phil was certified in HVAC and honorably  in the United States Army for four years. When he was not working, Phil enjoyed hunting, fishing, and watching college football, especially the Ole Miss Rebels. Phil was a very humble man and lived a simple life. He cherished his family and they will all miss him deeply.

The loving family left behind to remember him include his wife of 27 years, Mandy Tharpe of Batesville; his three children, Amber Biggers (Robert) of Crowder, Jayson Gazaway (Summer) of Oxford, and Justin Tharpe (Addison) of Oxford; his parents, Mr and Mrs. Will Tharpe of Coffeeville; two sisters, Rene Shaw of Coffeeville and Tayna Tullis of Wichita, Kan.; two brothers, Steve Tharpe (Jean) of Las Vegas, Nev., and William “Willie” Tharpe, Jr. of Tupelo; and three grandchildren, Tyler Biggers, Cole Thelemann, and “Bump.”

He is preceded in death by one son, Jeremey Tharpe.

Albert Dwayne Woods

GRENADA – Rev. Albert Dwayne “Wayne” Woods, age 50, passed away Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022 at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Grenada.

Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 21 in the Martin Willingham Memorial Chapel of Wells Funeral Home. Interment  followed at Forrest Memorial Park in Batesville. The family received friends one hour prior to the service.

Wayne was born on Nov. 13, 1971 to Emma Lucille Lynchard Woods and the late Albert Lee Woods in Isola. He devoted his life to ministering. Wayne had a caring and compassionate heart, with so much love for others. He saw the good in everyone and touched many lives. Wayne would also drive patients to their doctor appointments if they were unable. He served as the associate pastor at Shield of Faith PCG in Grenada.

The family he leaves behind includes his wife, Teresa Holman Woods of Grenada; one daughter, Brittany Michelle Woods of Water Valley; his step-children, Tara Franklin of Grenada, Tori Morris (Jeffrey) of Water Valley, J.J. Porter of Charleston, Kailee Porter of Charleston, Michelle Thomas of Water Valley, Wendy Thomas of Grenada, and Michael Thomas of Grenada; his mother, Emma Woods of Oakland; two sisters, Paula Ezell (Randy) of Harmontown and Becky Howell (Larry) of Oakland; two brothers, Jimmie Smith (Vicki) of Crowder, and Jeff Woods (Lisa) of Harmontown; one grandson on the way, Hayden Justin Avant; and nine step grandchildren.

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