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Obituaries 12/01/2022

Michael Ayers, Sr.

COFFEEVILLE – Michael Ayers, Sr., 72 passed away Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, in Oxford. Michael, or Mike as he was known to most, was born Jan. 31, 1950, to the late James Oscar Ayers and Robbie Dees Ayers.

A 1968 graduate of Coffeeville High School, Mike played baseball, basketball and ran track. He also sang tenor in the high school’s choir. A known socialite, he was elected Class President and recognized by his schoolmates as “Most Popular.” He was 100 percent a Coffeeville Pirate and spoke with fondness of his teachers, most notably Mr. Ed Lowe, Mrs. Doris Pace and Coach Aaron Burney; his administrators and classmates during his time at CHS.

Upon earning an Associates Degree and Certification in Radiologic Technology from the University of Tennessee-Memphis College of Health Sciences, he embarked on a 40-year career in Radiologic Technical Services, serving in various capacities within the Radiology Departments at Grenada County Hospital (later Grenada Lake Medical Center), Baptist Memorial Hospital and Yalobusha General Hospital. Mike was a hard worker who put in lengthy hours for many years to extend care to his patients and held a strong work ethic as an example to those who served alongside him.

Mike was a faithful member and deacon of First Baptist Church of Coffeeville, where he enjoyed singing in the choir and performing as a soloist. The annual Christmas Cantata was always a favorite and members spoke for many years of the joy his voice brought them over the years.
Beyond his work and church life, he loved and valued the Town of Coffeeville. Mike served as an Alderman beginning in 2006 under the leadership of Mayor Mack Burns and later Mayor William Shelton. He worked tirelessly with the board to improve and provide services to the citizenry while being a good steward of the town’s resources.

Mike’s personal drive, servants heart and empathy for people is the legacy best remembered by his children and grandchildren. He provided for his family, both immediate and extended in many ways, tangible and intangible, and gave of himself continually above and beyond the normal work day.

Other activities that brought him great joy were serving as President of the Yalobusha County Historical Society, The Grenada Lions Club, Friends of the Coffeeville Library and the Jaycees. In his spare time, Mike could be found working in his yard, cruising around town or through the countryside and of course passionately following his favorite sports teams, the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys and anything and everything involving the Ole Miss Rebels. His beloved pets, Jenna and Ivy, brought him much entertainment, companionship and joy and each enjoyed driving out to Grenada Lake for good views and spectacular sunsets and serenity. He was not an accomplished outdoorsman, but his proudest moment was landing a four-plus pound crappie out of the Grenada spillway (unofficially weighed by a park ranger) in 1986.

Visitation was held Saturday, Nov. 26, from 10 a.m. until noon at First Baptist Church of Coffeeville with the funeral service immediately following. Interment was at Coffeeville Cemetery. Bro. Truman Scarborough and Bro. Craig Baker officiated. Seven Oaks Funeral Home of Water Valley was in charge of arrangements.

Mike is survived by his children, Michael (Dawn) Ayers of Cordova, Tenn.; Jennifer (Matt) Reeves of Spring, Texas; Brad (Kelley) Ayers of Coffeeville; his grandchildren, Olivia Jane Ayers, Molly Jean Ayers, Mason Parker Ayers, Owen Michael Ayers, Jackson Taylor Reeves, Grace Elisabeth Reeves, Ella Rose Reeves, Anna Love Reeves, Anderson Lewis Reeves, Bradley Parker Ayers and Preston Asher Ayers; and his siblings, Mary Kimzey of Water Valley and Dwight Ayers of Coffeeville; and a host of nieces and nephews.

Mary Griggs

WATER VALLEY – Mary Dollahite Griggs, age 91, of Water Valley departed her earthly life Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022 at The Pinnacle in Oxford. She was born February 2, 1931 to the late James and Beatrice (Nichols) Dollahite. She was a tender, loving soul who will be greatly missed.
After graduating from Jeff Davis School where she played basketball, Mary started working at Rice-Stix (later to become Big Yank) where she spent the majority of her 40-plus year career. Afterwards she worked at the local Mississippi DHS office, and later as a receptionist at the hospital, where she finally retired. In her spare time she found solace quilting and working in her flower garden. But nothing meant more to her than spending time with family.

Visitation was held Sunday, Nov. 27, in the Gardiner Room at Seven Oaks Funeral Home from noon until 2 p.m. The service followed at 2 p.m. with Bro. Hal Clark officiating. Burial was in Oak Hill Cemetery.

Mary is survived by two sons, Michael (Kim) Scroggins and Thomas (Dee) Scroggins; three daughters, Patricia Boyte, Linda Barrett and Jeanie Atkins; 23 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; two sisters, Janice Dollahite and Martha Moore; and a host of other family and loved ones.

Along with her parents, Mary was preceded in death by her husband, Leonard Griggs; two brothers, Al Dollahite, Jimmy Dollahite; and two sisters, Juanita Stephens, and Barbara Stephens.

W.R. Newman

WATER VALLEY – William Russell (W.R.) Newman, age 76, of Water Valley went to his forever home Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford. He was born February 9, 1946, in Paris to the late Willie and Mary Newman.

As a small boy W.R. and his family moved to Water Valley where he played football for Water Valley High School. After finishing school, W.R. faithfully served his country in the Army National Guard. W.R. was a hardworking man who had a great sense for business. He began working for Pat Holloway at Holloway Homes and later became partner. W.R. never shied away from the fact that he was a recovering alcoholic and cherished every opportunity to share the testimony of his recovery. This was such an important season in his life that he became involved with the Branch of Hope recovery center in Water Valley and was proud to help the residents there. As a God-fearing man, W.R. was also a faithful member of First Baptist Church. When not helping the community, W.R. found great comfort in riding his tractor, cutting hay and tending to his cows, but nothing meant more to him than the family he adored.

Visitation is scheduled Wednesday, Nov. 30 in the Gardiner Room at Seven Oaks Funeral Home from 1 until 2:30 p.m. A graveside service at Oak Hill Cemetery will follow at 3 p.m. with Dr. Randy Bain officiating.

William is survived by three sons, Lance (Brandy) Newman, Chad (Anita) Newman and Tim (Marty) Bell; seven grandchildren; one great grandchild; one brother, Mark (Charlotte) Newman; and three sisters, Jane Shields (Carl), Jeannie Newman and Bonnie Basler (Randy). In addition to his parents, W.R. was preceded in death by his wife of 31 years, Barbara Newman; and one son, Jeff Bell.

Sarah Ellen Collins Saucier

COFFEEVILLE – Mrs. Sarah Ellen Collins Saucier, 95, of Coffeeville, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, in the home where she was born. Sarah was born Jan. 25, 1927 to Frank Erwin and Ellen Loch Collins. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi in vocal music and also played trombone in the Pride of the South Marching Band.

She was a member of the Coffeeville United Methodist Church, where she followed in her mother’s footsteps as an organist and pianist. She was also active in the United Methodist Women and had been honored with the Susannah Wesley Award on two occasions. A skilled seamstress, she enjoyed embroidery and writing poetry.

Funeral services were held at 3 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 25 at Coffeeville United Methodist Church with Rev. Stacy Douglas and Rev. Sara Miller officiating. Interment followed in the Coffeeville Cemetery. McKibben and Guinn Funeral Service in Grenada was in charge of arrangements.

Survivors include two daughters, Linda Boatwright of Santa Fe, N.M. and Diane Allen of Winslow, Ark; one son, Dr. Frank (Elayne) Saucier of Talking Rock, Ga.; 10 grandchildren, Clark Boatwright (Felicia), Brie Herrera(Roy), Collin Allen (Serina), Rachel Cobb (Tony), Nathan Allen (Holly), Sarah Perkins (Tyler), Stephen Saucier (Ashlyn), Christy Collins (Sam), Michelle Lewis (Taylor) and Zach Saucier (Avery); and 24 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Herschel Saucier; daughter, Ellen Saucier; and brother, Frank E. Collins, Jr.

Timothy Harden Taylor

WATER VALLEY – Timothy (Timmy) Harden Taylor, age 60, went to his heavenly home on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2023. He was born May 23, 1962, in Michigan to late Lester (Buddy) Harden Taylor of Ypsilanti, Mich. and Janet Denham Morgan of Water Valley.

Timmy was a loving father, brother and son. He enjoyed spending time with his family and his dog, Sheba. He loved to hunt, fish and shoot his guns. After school, he served six years in the Army National Guard.

Timmy is survived by his mother, Janet Morgan of Water Valley; his wife, Lisa Taylor of Clinton, Mich.; a son, Jonny Taylor, of Clinton, Mich.; two daughters, Cheryl (Matt) Blagg and Brittney (Jake) Taylor, all of Clinton, Mich.; four sisters, Tammy Taylor Maclin (Ricky) McCuan of Water Valley, Letha Taylor (Billy) Johnson of Paris, Vonda (Dave) Denham of Tecumseh, Mich. and Crystal McCollough of Germany; two brothers, Allen Morgan of Oxford and Shannon (Rachel) Taylor of Romulus, Mich.; and five grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held in the near future at New Hope Church of God in Batesville. Brother Raymond Aven will officiate.

Tolbert Lynn Williams

WATER VALLEY – Tolbert Lynn Williams, age 81, of Water Valley went to his forever home Saturday, Nov.26, 2022, at his residence in Oakland surrounded by family. He was born November 9, 1941, in Henning, Tenn. to Reece and Lucy (Sonderman) Williams.

Tolbert was a very unique and talented man who had a passion to serve and help others. That passion was obvious in the career path he made. After finishing school, Tolbert joined, and honorably served in the United States Navy as a corpsman. After returning home, he went to work for the Memphis fire department where he faithfully served the people of Memphis and Shelby county as a paramedic, A job he would retire from after 34-plus years. When not helping others, Tolbert enjoyed hunting, fishing and finding jobs to use his Kubota tractor. And with his talent for using his hands and woodworking, he enjoyed fixing anything that someone needed.

Visitation is planned for Thursday, Dec. 1 in the Gardiner Room at Seven Oaks Funeral Home from 11 a.m. until noon. The service will be at noon in the Henry Chapel with interment to follow in Oak Hill Cemetery.

Tolbert is survived by his wife, Sharon Williams; two daughters, Christine Herrman (John) and Sara Williams; three grandchildren, Rebekah (Steven) Herrman Menezes), Andrew Herrman and Thomas Herrman; one great-grandchild, Easton Herrman; and a niece, Lynette Smith. As well as his parents, Tolbert was preceded in death by one sister, Patricia Avent.

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