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Obituaries 07/13/2023

Frances Oswalt Duke

WATER VALLEY – Frances Oswalt Duke, 93, passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by family on July 10, 2023.

She is survived by her devoted daughter, Sharon Duke; granddaughters Betsy Chapman and Bekah Chapman; great-granddaughter Lilly Gray; grandsons-in-law Louis Bourgeois and Matthew Bay; step great grandchildren Mason, Logan, Neil Bay and Simone Bourgeois; and dearest niece Barbara Shepherd Duke, many other nieces and nephews; and her closest lifelong friend, Peck Meeks. She is preceded in death by her parents Mr. and Mrs. Brown and Avis Oswalt of Tchula and her loving husband of 62 years, Mr. Guy Duke of Carroll County.

Mrs. Duke was born in Bellefontaine, Miss., on May 29, 1930. After making her home for 45 years in Tchula with her beloved husband, Mrs. Duke resided in North Carrollton for many years before relocating to Water Valley in 2019 with her daughter to spend her final joyous years near granddaughters and beloved great-granddaughter, Lilly, who she helped support through college at the University of Mississippi. Throughout her life, she was a gifted piano player, school teacher, and a meticulous homemaker. Mrs. Duke was a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church, where she played piano for Sunday school every week, a diehard Mississippi State football fan, and a graduate of Wood Junior College. She was a doting “Nan” to her adoring grandchildren, a loving caregiver to her husband and parents in their later years, and known to all as a strong and gracious lady who always offered coffee and refreshments to any visitor who dropped by. She maintained her sharp wit and sense of humor throughout her lifetime. Even in her later years, she loved staying informed on current events, watching the news, and reading several newspapers daily.

A memorial service to celebrate Mrs. Duke’s long life will be held Saturday, July 15, 2023, at North Carrollton Methodist Church in North Carrollton with the Reverend Keith Ramage presiding. Visitation will be from noon to p.m. at the church, followed by services starting at 1 p.m, and then fellowship with the family will follow at the North Carrollton Methodist Church Family Life Center.

George William Stewart

WATER VALLEY – George William Stewart, 69, of Water Valley departed from this life July 4, 2023 surrounded by loved ones. He was born February 27, 1954 in Clarksdale to the late George and Shirley (Jenkins) Stewart.

George worked at Borg-Warner in Water Valley for many years as a mechanic. He could also be found working on all different machines, riding his tractor, and staying busy with other small projects. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and spending time with his family, especially his grandkids. His family always knew he was only a call away if they ever needed anything. His reply was always “be there in a minute!”

Family received friends and family on Sunday, July 9 in Pittsboro for a celebration of his life. Seven Oaks Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

He leaves behind his wife Hazel; his children Eric (Tasha) Stewart, Rebecca Stewart, Courtney (Joshua) Bryant and Samantha Stewart, all from Bruce; five grandchildren, Makenna, Kelcee, Stabler, Paxton and Tatum; as well as two sisters, three brothers and dear friend, Lori.

He is preceded in death by his parents, George and Shirley Stewart; one sister, Georgia Anne Stewart; and two brothers, Carl Stewart and Wade Stewart.

LaVonda Athelma Marlin Velez

WATER VALLEY – LaVonde Athelma Marlin Velez of Water Valley went to her forever home Saturday, July 8, 2023, at the Yalobusha County Nursing Home. She was 90. One of 15 children, she was born April 30, 1933 in Traverse City, Mich. to Orin and Dena Marlin. After marrying the love of her life, Carmelo Velez, on January 16, 1952, they opened and ran a small restaurant. They offered many dishes, but focused on Spanish food. She later went to work for Simplicity Pattern Co. as a folder and then on to Industrial Coils doing line work, where she would ultimately retire.

Whenever she could find time from working and raising her own family, she loved the art of crocheting, a past time she graciously taught others. With the patience for teaching, she also taught ceramics classes in the basement of her home to small numbers of friends and family. Word searches and cooking were other endeavors she found great joy in doing, especially making her family favorite, Puerto Rican Turkey. As if all of those hobbies weren’t enough, she found time to learn to play the Hawaiian guitar. What brought her the greatest pleasure in her life was spending time with her grandchildren whom she loved.

Visitation will be held in the Gardiner Room of Seven Oaks Funeral Home at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 12. A memorial service will be held in Niles, Mich. at a later date.

LaVonde is survived by one daughter, Diana Laird; one son, Carlos Antonio (Rose) Velez; four grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; and four brothers, Bob Marlin, Jack Marlin, Jerry Marlin, Jim Marlin. Along with her parents, LaVonde is predeceased by her husband of 67 years, Carmelo Velez; one sister; and six brothers.

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