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Obituaries 12/02/2023

James Samuel Anthony

WATER VALLEY – James Samuel Anthony, a devoted husband, beloved father figure and respected member of the community, passed away on November 29, 2023, at the age of 77. Affectionately known as Sammy, he was born on December 19, 1945, in Water Valley, where he lived for the entirety of his life.

Sammy was a man of many passions, but none held a place in his heart quite like his love for horses. From a young age, Sammy dedicated himself to understanding these noble creatures, gaining a wealth of knowledge about their behavior and care. He truly found solace amidst the graceful presence of the horses on his farm, where he would spend countless hours tending to their needs and riding through the meadows. Sammy’s expertise and genuine love for horses earned him admiration and respect from those who knew him.

Sammy had a successful career as a supervisor at Borg Warner. He was known for his strong work ethic, attention to detail, and ability to bring out the best in his team. Through his dedication and leadership, Sammy made a lasting impact on his colleagues. Sammy also enjoyed spending time with his friends for breakfast each morning at Dunn’s Grocery, where they would catch up on the activities in the community. He leaves behind scores of friends and loving family to cherish his memories.

Sammy is survived by the love of his life and wife, Ruth Blount Anthony; one son, Heath (Nickie) Anthony of Dayton, Texas; two daughters, Missy (Andy) Hall, of Water Valley and Christy (Lavon) Dempsey of Pensacola, Fla.; one step-son, Scott (Lisa) Gray of Bruce ; one step-daughter Angela Denley of Bruce; eight grandchildren, Courtney (Chuckie) Spradling, Chasity (Gavin) Darby, Heather (Bradley) Berryhill, Landin Anthony, Gregory Mansfield, Haley Anthony, Haley (Johnathon) Huffman and Grayson (Sierra) Denley; and ten great grandchildren. He is also survived his riding companion, Buddy, who he took for several rides in the truck throughout the day.

Sammy was preceded in death by his parents, Alvis and Sadie Snider Anthony.

Visitation was held Saturday, December 2, 2023, in the Gardiner Room at Seven Oaks Funeral Home from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. with services immediately following at 1 p.m. in the Henry Chapel of Seven Oaks. Bro. Terry Champion officiated. Burial was in Pinecrest Cemetery with Camron Johnson, Landin Anthony, Brad Hillhouse, Chris Hillhouse, Bradley Berryhill and Gary Bratton serving as pallbearers. In his memory, the family kindly requests that donations be made in Sammy’s memory to Woodland Hills Baptist Church.

Martha Camille Carothers

OXFORD – Martha Camille Carothers left this earthly life and went to be with the Lord entering into eternal rest on Saturday, November 25, 2023. She passed away in her home with her loving daughter, Candi, and son, Patrick by her side.

The daughter of the late Webster and Carrie (Redmond) Gater, Martha was born May 30, 1940, in Lafayette County. She accepted Christ and was a member of Cypress Grove M.B. Church in Oxford.
Martha received her early childhood education at Cypress Grove School, which is now the Cypress Grove M.B. Church in Oxford. Martha was united in matrimony to William Carothers and was a wife, a homemaker, and the mother of seven children. Her husband, William, preceded her in death. Martha was a hard worker. She was employed at Motts until an arm injury rendered her unable to work, so she retired.

Martha enjoyed cooking, gardening, watching old westerns, listening to music, and being social with friend. But by far, her favorite past time was fishing. She was known to many as “The Fishing Lady.” You could find her most days on the bank fishing with her friends, the late Lorine Campbell and the late Deola Johnson.

Martha will be lovingly missed by her children, Joanne Coffey of Coffeeville, Candi (Lee) Hutchins, Paul Carothers, and Patrick Carothers, all of Water Valley; four grandchildren whom she raised, Kim Carothers of Coffeeville, Milaila Dowsing of Abbeville, Rodchadro (Desiree) Carothers of Oxford and Brittney Dowsing of Shreveport La; her siblings, Mary Carothers of Storm Lake Iowa, Lottie Baker of St. Louis Mo., Ruth Bates of Kansas City, Mo., Moses Gater, Jethero (Lenora) Gater and Jerry Gater, all of Sikeston Mo.; 20 grandchildren; five great grandchildren; two great-great grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends. She also leaves her caretaker: Emma Lou Benson, who will miss her deeply.

Along with her parents and her husband, Martha was preceded in death by four brothers., John Robert Gater, B.B. Gater, Willie Gater, and Webster Gater, Jr.; three children, Rosie Carothers, William Lynn Carothers and Donald L. Carothers; and two grandchildren, Taruno Carothers and Joshua Hutchins.

Frances Smith Gandy

COLLIERVILLE – With heartfelt sorrow and immense love, we announce the passing of Frances S. Gandy (1923 – 2023), a cherished resident of Story Point Retirement Community in Collierville, Tenn. Frances, who reached the venerable age of 100, passed away surrounded by family on November 25 at the residence of her nephew, Mark Patrick, in Byhalia.

Born on March 30, 1923, in Searcy, Ark., to Iona and Jessie Smith, Frances’ life was rich with memories of her childhood during the Great Depression. She was raised on a farm with no running water or electricity and had vivid memories of riding to town in a horse and wagon and washing clothes in the creek. She often spoke of picking cotton on her family’s farm and neighboring fields, and cherished the walks to church with her aunt and cousin, who instilled in her a lifelong faith in Jesus Christ.

Frances’ professional journey was marked by significant contributions across various roles. In her late teens, she moved to Memphis and supported the World War II effort at Firestone, manufacturing lifeboats. She then served as a receptionist at Mills Morris, an auto parts company. Following this, Frances worked as a telephone switchboard operator in the early days of The Peabody, and finally, as a receptionist at C&I Bank in Memphis, where her joyful demeanor made a lasting impression.

Her beloved husband, Daniel Lamar Gandy, preceded her in death by 17 years. Together, they shared 59 years of marriage, filled with unwavering dedication and love. Frances often reminisced about their life together with fondness, especially highlighting the care she provided for him through sickness and health.

The loss of her sisters, Dorothy Patrick and Ann Bowen, in 2016 deeply affected her, as they held a cherished daily connection that left an indelible mark on her heart. A long-time resident of both Water Valley and Memphis, Frances’ retirement years were a testament to her love for simple living and her dedication to serving her community, especially in times of need. Her life in retirement was characterized by an unwavering commitment to helping others, reflecting the compassionate spirit she shared with her late husband.

Leaving behind a profound legacy of love, service, and faith, Frances is survived by her brother, William E. “Bill” Smith; her beloved niece and nephews: Sheridan (Danny) E. Stracener, Mark H. (Julie) Patrick, Jeff L. (Tammy) Patrick, and Anthony E. “Tony” Smith; and a host of great-nieces and nephews whom she helped nurture and raise. Frances’ influence on their lives was significant, and her role in their upbringing speaks volumes about her loving and nurturing nature.

Frances was a devoted member of several churches throughout her life, Temple Baptist in Memphis, First Baptist Church in Water Valley, and, later, Ridgeway Baptist in Memphis. Her faith was a cornerstone of her existence, guiding her actions and interactions with all. The family wishes to express profound gratitude for the additional love and care Frances received from Nancy Hartwigsen, a fellow resident at Story Point. This kindness greatly enriched Frances’ final years.

Frances’ life was an exemplar of humility, kindness, and steadfast faith, and it will continue to inspire and comfort those she touched. Her memory will be a guiding light to all who knew her, and she will be profoundly missed.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
– Psalm 116:15

Funeral Services were held on Saturday, December 2, at 2 p.m. in the Fireside Chapel at Memorial Park Funeral Home. Visitation was held prior to the service starting at 1 p.m. Burial followed in Memorial Park Cemetery.

Jeanna Alison Sossaman Mills

CORDOVA, Tenn. — Jeanna Alison Sossaman Mills, age 45, passed away Saturday, Dec. 2, at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis after a hard-fought battle against brain cancer.

She was born April 15, 1978 at Yalobusha General Hospital in Water Valley. She was a 1996 graduate of Coffeeville High School and was a graduate of Northwest Community College where she received her degree in nursing. She was a caring and devoted nurse, working in several different nursing and care homes during her career, and finally working as a private nurse to a very special little girl with a heart condition, Lily, who she adored and loved like her own.

Jeanna was known for her strong and vibrant personality. She fought cancer with grace and determination, trying any treatment her doctor suggested, with her motto being “faith over fear.” She loved life and was always up for an adventure. She was known for being outspoken and fiercely independent. She loved to laugh, loved to create and craft things, and loved to spoil her nieces and nephews. She was also known for being fiercely loyal to her family and friends, and will be missed by all those who loved her.

She is survived by her loving husband, Kelly Mills, of Cordova, Tenn.; her parents, John and Alice Sossaman of Coffeeville; her sister, Krista McFerrin and husband Clay of Charleston; brothers, Billy Sossaman of Water Valley, Johnny Sossaman of Coffeeville, Terry Sossaman and wife Theresa of New Albany; nieces, Kelsey Bright of Charleston, Addison Sossaman of Water Valley; nephews, Brandon McFerrin of Charleston and Ethan Sossaman of Water Valley; and great niece, Harper Bright, and great-nephews, Beckett and Baylor Bright.

A celebration of life service is planned and will be announced at a later date. Memorials be made in honor of Jeanna to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Richard Minor

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Richard Minor passed away on Saturday, November 11, 2023. He was born on October 12,1959, the first of six children to Lavorn Cook and John Dunlap. He professed his love for Christ at an early age and was a devoted Christian till his death.

A celebration of life was held Wednesday, November 29, at 1 p.m. at Greater Sanders Chapel with burial at Oak Ridge Cemetery. Pallbearers were Akeem Bailey, Jakyryn Cook and Demetric Cook. Walker Funeral Services had charge of arrangements.

Richard graduated from Water Valley High School in 1971. He graduated from Northwest Community College in 1979 and continued his education at Delta State University where he earned a degree in 1981.

He worked in the field and studied computers in Jackson, Birmingham, Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina. He made a home in Columbia, South Carolina and lived there until his death. Richard enjoyed talking on the phone with family and friends and cooking.

He leaves to mourn his mother, Lavorn Minor Cook; two brothers, Roderick Cook and Broderick (Audra) Cook, all of Water Valley; and two sisters, Ella Cook (Phil) Loggins of Water Valley and Vivian Cook of Hernando.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Jennifer Cook; and very special grandmother, Mary Ella Minor. He also leaves to mourn a host of nieces, nephews,cousins, family and friends.

Grace Evelyn Moody

WATER VALLEY – Grace Moody of Water Valley passed away on Dec 1, 2023.

A wake is planned for Friday, December 8, 2023, in the Henry Chapel of Seven Oaks Funeral Home from 9 until 11 a.m. Services will immediately follow at 11 a.m. with Rev. Michael Phillips officiating.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the cemetery maintenance fund at Oak Grove CME Church, P. O. Box 507, Water Valley, MS 38965.

Ronald Nolan

HOLLY SPRINGS – Ronald Nolan passed away on November 11, 2023 at the Holly Springs Rehabilitation Center. He was born June 22, 1966 in Batesville to the late Alvis Nolan and Bobbie Ruth.

Ronald was employed at the South Panola School district for 37 years as a bus driver. He enjoyed spending time with his kids and grandkids.

He leaves one son, Brandon (Sheridan) Nolan of Holly Springs; three brothers, Bobby Nolan of Georgia, Dale Nolan of Arkansas and Stacy Nolan of Columbus; three grandchildren, Nevaeh Holmes, Kynadi Holmes and Keegan Holmes, all of Holly Springs; and a host of family and friends.

A private service was held. Walker Funeral Services was in charge of arrangements.

Bailey Mae Reed

WATER VALLEY – Bailey Mae Reed, 21, entered her eternal home, November 23, 2023. She was born December 28, 2001, in Grand Rapids, Mich. She grew up in Zeeland, Mich., and graduated from Zeeland West High School in 2020, where she sang in the choir. Soon after, Bailey moved to Water Valley to live with her grandparents, Chuck and Mary Reed, to help out with her cousin Adrian.

A memorial service to honor Bailey’s memory and celebrate her life is scheduled Wednesday, December 6, at Sylva Rena Baptist Church.

Bailey had a huge heart and loved her parents, Kathryn and Jason Belin, and her siblings Brett, Colby, and Alexus. She was her grandpa Chuck’s best friend since birth (BFSB) and grandma Mary’s best friend since kindergarten (BFSK). Bailey especially loved sneaking out with Mary to eat breakfast before everyone else woke up and Mary won her over even more when breakfast turned into shopping for shoes

Bailey often flashed the brightest of smiles that matched perfectly with her gracious spirit. This combination displayed itself in full array in the way she treated others. She met few strangers, and was able to forge deep friendships easily because of her gentle personality. Bailey’s love extended to her pets Zukari, Payton, TenOne, and Bellbell, as well as other family pets Cupid and Zeus.

Bailey had many hobbies from kayaking, walking her dogs, painting, and dancing to making TikTok videos and family game nights. She was a member of Sylva Rena Baptist Church, where she loved singing and worshiping with her church family.

Left behind to cherish her memory are her parents, Jason and Kathryn Belin; brothers, Brett Reed and Colby (Hannah) Kernell; a sister, Alexus Vargas; grandparents, Chuck and Mary Reed; a step-grandfather, John Williams; a cousin, Adrian Reed; a special niece, Kendal Reed; and a special nephew, Grayson Reed; as well as several aunts, uncles, cousins, and a host of special friends.

Bailey was preceded in death by her maternal great-grandparents, Rayford and Hattie Mathis; her paternal grandmother, Bertha Belin; and her uncle, Josh Reed.

Mary Alice Person

‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day’ – 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

WATER VALLEY – Mary Alice Person, distinguishably called Mom, Momma, Mommy, Ma-Dear, Mother, Grandma, Granny, and Gan-Gan was born on December 27, 1934, in Water Valley to the late John Wesley and Clister Toliver. She peacefully departed this life on December 1, 2023 at the golden age of 88 in the comfort of her home in Water Valley surrounded by family and loved ones. Mary Alice’s bright smile, kind loving spirit, and servant’s heart will be greatly missed.

Mary Alice confessed her belief in Christ at an early age at Bayson Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, where she remained a faithful and dedicated member until her health failed. Mother Person served numerous years on various ministries including the usher ministry, mother’s ministry, prayer ministry, Sunday school teacher, and any other capacity in which she could lend a hand.

Mary Alice was an assembly technician for over 32 years at Borg Warner, receiving employee-of-the-month and working alongside some long-life friends. She retired in 2004, continuing to immerse herself in cooking for her family, traveling, gardening, canning, and serving in her church and community. Mary Alice prided herself in cooking large dinners for every holiday filled with love and laughter.

Mary Alice was a long-time member of the Heroines of Jericho, Worthy Matron of St. Joseph Chapter # 8 Order of Eastern Star for numerous years, frequently visited friends and community members in the nursing home, visited the sick, and used her savory cooking skills to lift others’ spirits.

Fond memories of Mary Alice include: baking holiday goodies, canning vegetables, sharing her recipes, organizing photo albums, collecting coins, working in her beautiful flower gardens, and most importantly spending time with all her children and grandchildren.

Mary Alice was united in holy matrimony on June 8, 1964, to Sam Herman Person, Sr. who preceded her in death. Mary Alice and Herman were proud parents of 15 children. One preceded her in death (Michael Bell). She leaves to cherish her memory and continue her legacy with five sons and nine daughters: Leon (Katherine) Buford of Abbeville, Sam Herman Person, Jr. (Judy) of Coffeeville, Wesley (Catherine) Kerr of Brookhaven, Mae Catherine Foxx of Coffeeville, Brenda Joiner of Water Valley; Charlene (Jerry) Bafford of Memphis, Cynthia Rowsey and Rose Mary Gee, both of Water Valley, Sandra Davis of Cleveland, Jacqueline Person of Water Valley, Milton Person of Memphis, Helen (Howard) Young of Brandon, Dr. Vickie Person of Water Valley and Mark (Sharon) Person of Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Mary Alice had five siblings who preceded her in death. She also leaves to cherish her memory three sisters and one brother, Bernice Daniels of Cleveland, Ohio, Anne Johnson of Alton, Ill., Bettye Nelson of Birmingham, Ala. and R.V. Toliver of Cleveland Ohio; a brother-in-law, Floyd Person of Memphis; 29 grandchildren, 31 great grandchildren, three great-great grandchildren, a very special goddaughter, (her honeybun) Machelle Harris; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and loved ones.

Although Mary Alice’s physical presence is gone, the beautiful memories, life-lessons, love for God and family will long continue. Our lives and countless others have been touched by her life.

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” – 1 Corinthians 5:8.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Seven Oaks Funeral Home. Visitation will be held on Friday, December 8, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Seven Oaks. A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Saturday, December 9, at 11 a.m. at Bayson Chapel M.B. Church in Water Valley.

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