DR. E. LESLIE KNIGHT (Former Faculty)

Exercise Physiologist/College Professor
LAKELAND - Dr. Les Knight, 72, passed away on June 26, 2016 after a courageous battle with Congestive Heart Failure.
Les was born November 3, 1943 in Lakeland, Florida, the son of William Leslie and Wynelle Chapman Knight. As a youth, he earned the rank of Eagle Scout, and later encouraged his son to do the same. Dr. Knight received a bachelor's degree from Florida Southern College, where he was a member of the Theta Chi fraternity, his Master's degree from The University of Mississippi, and his Doctorate from The University of Southern Mississippi.
He attained full professor status and was a Biology Department chair by his mid-thirties at Blue Mountain College. He was also a pioneer in the field of exercise physiology, and his expertise was sought by Olympic programs around the world, which required him to travel to Egypt and China to work with their Olympic athletes. He is also credited with improving the performance of numerous world class athletes. He received the distinction of being a Fellow in the American College of Sports Medicine. In addition, for more than thirty-five years, he provided seminars certified by the American Medical Association for continuing education credit. Over the course of his career, Les published numerous books and scientific articles, many of which were adopted by universities and colleges. He also was one of three founders of The Tupelo Gumtree Race, now in its thirty-ninth year, and Mississippi's largest and most famous run. The race draws runners from around the world, and is recognized by Runner's World and Running Time magazines.
Dr. Knight's interests included jogging, snow skiing, cycling, fencing, and martial arts. He ran several marathons, including the 1976 Boston Marathon. In addition, he completed the Birkebeiner, the largest and longest cross country ski race in North America. Les also earned a black belt in two martial arts disciplines. Moreover, he enjoyed traveling on several European excursions with his wife, his favorite being a Porsche Treffen in Germany where they both earned the distinction of having driven The Autobahn at 140 mph. Finally, he was passionate about watching Ole Miss and Southern Miss football games with his son.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Barbara Sellers Knight, and his son Robb Leslie (Lisa Marie) Knight. In addition, he will be greatly missed by his two faithful Shih-tzus, Rendezvous and Savannah.
The family will receive friends at Memorial Service at Heath Funeral Chapel, 328 S. Ingraham Ave., Lakeland on Thursday, June 30 at 4:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, donations in his name may be made to the ASPCA.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.heathfuneralchapel.com.

Betty Jane Watts West (BMC 1946)

WEST, Betty Jane "Betsy" Watts, 89, of Richmond, Virginia, died on May 14, 2016. She was predeceased by her brothers, John and Reid Watts; and her daughter, Kathy Clarke West. She is survived by her husband of 68 years, Elmer Stone West Jr.; her three children, Martha West, Jennie West (Mary Turner) and John West (Karen); 11 grandchildren with seven spouses, and seven great-grandchildren. Born in Palestine in 1926 to parents who served as missionaries there, she grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana. She graduated from Blue Mountain College in Mississippi. She and Elmer, a Baptist minister, were married in 1947 and moved to Richmond. Throughout her life, she was a loving wife, a nurturing mother and grandmother, and a caregiver for many family members and close friends. She was also a wonderful cook whose meals were enjoyed by family members, as well as a multitude of friends and guests. Described by her husband as a "woman for all seasons," her life was richly widespread. She was a gifted pianist and soloist, and a teacher of church Sunday school for 59 years. She was a leader in Richmond area Parent Teachers Associations and wrote a monthly column for teens in a national mission’s publication. She was an active member in church and community organizations which strongly influenced the integration of public schools in Nashville, Tenn. She served as a leader of the Community Missions program at Richmond's First Baptist Church, and she served as a voting precinct captain. Over the years, she had an active presence on three continents outside the United States, serving as a Baptist Conference leader in Latin America, in an interim ministry at the American Church in Morocco, and as an English teacher at a Chinese university. While living at Imperial Plaza, she led two significant resident groups. The family expresses deep appreciation for the compassionate care provided by Chris Block, the staff at Imperial Plaza, and AseraCare Hospice. A memorial service will be held at First Baptist Church, Monument and the Boulevard, on Saturday, June 4, at 11 a.m. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to the West Global Ministries Fund at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, 8040 Villa Park Dr., Suite 250, Richmond, Va. 23228 or to Community Ministries - clothes closet/food bank, First Baptist Church, 2709 Monument Ave., Richmond, Va. 23220.

Michael Gene Morrow (BMC 1980)

Dr. Michael Gene Morrow, Age 67, of Marion, Kentucky, passed away Friday April 29, 2016 at the University of Kentucky Medical Center, Lexington, KY. He was the pastor of Union Baptist Church, a member of the Board of Directors of Heartcry Missionary Society, Professor at Mid-Continent University and Madisonville Community College, pastored churches in North Carolina, Mississippi and Kentucky and served in the mission field worldwide. Dr. Morrow earned his Doctor of Ministry degree at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, Memphis, TN; Masters Degree from Wesley Biblical Seminary, Jackson, MS; B.A. Degree from Blue Mountain College, Blue Mountain, MS; graduated from Fruitland Bible Institute, Hendersonville, NC. Dr. Morrow is survived by his wife, Susan English Morrow, Marion, Ky; sons, Benjamin (Beth) Morrow, Hendersonville, TN and Jason (Emily) Morrow, Paducah, KY; Daughter, Melissa (David) Bock, Russellville, KY; seven grandchildren; mother, Ann Rohm Morrow, Salem, KY. He was preceded in death by his father, Marion Morrow, Jr. Graveside funeral services will be held Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at 2 P.M. at Union Cemetery in Crittenden County. Visitation will be held at Union Baptist Church 178 Levias Church Road, Marion, KY on Tuesday between the hours of 12 noon and 2 P.M. Myers Funeral Home in Marion, KY is handling arrangements.

Deborah Sue Cole Foropoulos (BMC 1979, Eunomian)

Deborah Sue Cole Foropoulos May 9, 2016 Deborah Sue Cole Foropoulos, 59, of Drummonds, TN passed away May 8, 2016. She is survived by her husband, Cary Frank Foropoulos; daughter, Shea Foropoulos of Drummonds, TN; son, Samuel Foropoulos and his fiance', Jennifer Knight; brother, Tommy Cole of Jumpertown, MS. Services are being planned for Thursday. The family asks memorials be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.


Mary Jane Lyon76, wife of Roger Lyon Jr. passed away peacefully April 18th on her 52nd wedding anniversary surrounded by her family. Mary Jane was raised in Blytheville Arkansas but spent most of her adult life in Memphis. In 2014 she moved to Richmond Virginia to be closer to her family. While living in Memphis she attended Independent Presbyterian Church. Mary Jane loved being a part of the King's Daughters and Sons. Mary Jane got married 1964. She is preceded in death by her parents, a brother David Seymore, and her sister Susie Seymore. Mary Jane is survived by her Husband, and two daughters Natalie Horne (Chris) and Camille Majors (Jay), 4 grandchildren Audrey and Abigail Horne, and Robert "Bobby" and Evelyn "Evie" Majors. A gathering will be held Monday, April 25 from 5:00 pm til 7:00 pm at Memphis Funeral home. The service will be Tuesday, April 26 at 10:00 am at Memphis Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, gifts in memory of Mary may be offered to King's Daughters and Sons Nursing Home (3568 Appling Rd, Bartlett, TN 38133)

Catherine Morrison Ward (BMC 1953, Eunomian)

Catherine Ward born December 11, 1931 passed away peacefully on April 16, 2016 after a long battle with cancer. She is survived by her husband Cary Ward, her two daughters and husbands Karen and Paul Draper and Kemmie and Park Burrets, a granddaughter Katie Draper, and four grandsons Blake Burrets, Michael Draper, Brad Burrets, and Daniel Draper. She is also survived by her four sisters Mae Sanford, Patricia Grantham, Linda McConnell, and Cheryl Stone and 18 nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents Robert and Myrtle Morrison and her brother Robert "Sonny" Morrison. Catherine was an English teacher in the Memphis City School System for more than 30 years. She was a member of Meadow Brook Baptist Church in Byhalia, MS. Visitation will be held at Holly Springs Funeral Home in Holly Springs, MS on Monday April 18 from 5-8 p.m. Funeral services will be held at Holly Springs Funeral Home on Tuesday, April 19 at 11 a.m. There will not be graveside services. Interment will be in West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery in Memphis. In lieu of flowers please consider donations to Hospice.

Mae Bennett Paschal (BMC Class of 1955, Euzelian)

Mae Lavalle Bennett Paschal, age 82 of Birmingham and a native of Blue Mountain, MS passed away on April 17, 2016. Mae was a graduate of Blue Mountain High School and Blue Mountain College. She obtained a Masters Degree from UAB and a Masters plus 30 degree from Blue Mountain College. She taught in the City of Birmingham Board of Education Schools for 42 years. Mae was a founding member of Deerfoot Baptist Church and a Sunday School teacher for many years. She was a loving sister, wife, mother, grandmother and friend. She loved painting, gardening, reading, square dancing and being with her children, grandchildren and beloved family pets. She was preceded in death by her parents, Frank Eugene Bennett and Leone Wilson Bennett, husband, Edwin McGee Paschal, brother, Samuel Lee Bennett and nephew, Mark Paschal Lindsey. Services will be held on Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 12 PM at Deerfoot Baptist Church in Trussville. Visitation will be from 10 AM to 12 PM at the church. Graveside service will follow at Deerfoot Baptist Church Cemetery. Dr. Wayne Scott will be officiating over the services. Mae leaves behind daughters Lara Paschal Smith (Paul) and their children Ryan and Jared, Retta Paschal Johnson and her children Jenna and Caroline, and Elana Paschal Ingram (Jeff) and their children Xan and Jack, sister-in-laws, Amorette Paschal Lindsey (Max) and Sara Nell Paschal Williams, many nieces, nephews and a host of friends as well as her beloved dogs Buttons and Tag. The family wishes much love and many thanks to Beverly Baxter and Patsy Esco who served and cared for Edwin and Mae for many years. The family also expresses its sincere appreciation to Joan Wilson, Alison Wilson, Miranda Mason and Jan Black, who loved and cared for Mae. Comfort Care Hospice and Carroll Pharmacy provided much needed care and comfort to Mae. Memorials may be made to the Deerfoot Baptist Church.

Rosemary Butler Ward (BMC Class of 1968, Modenian)

Rosemary Butler Ward, 68, well-known resident of Ripley and a person active for many years in the educational ,religious and civic activities of her community, died peacefully at her residence Monday morning April 18, 2016. Services honoring the life of Mrs. Ward will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday April 20 in The Heritage Chapel of Ripley Funeral Home with burial in the Beech Hill Cemetery. A lifelong resident of Tippah County, Mrs. Ward was born Oct. 2, 1947, the daughter of the late Cleve and Doris LaBarreare Butler. She was a graduate of South Tippah High School, received her degree in education at Blue Mountain College and completed her Master's Degree at The University of Mississippi. A teacher for 38 years before her retirement, Mrs. Ward taught 30 years in the Ashland, Pine Grove and Ripley school systems and 8 years in Middleton, TN. She was married in 1966 to Stanley "Josh" Ward and would have celebrated their 50th anniversary on Aug. 13th of this year. A devoted member for many years of Beech Hill Church of Christ, Rosemary served her community and state in many ways including memberships in the Retired Education Personnel of MS where she was currently serving as secretary; member of Kappa Kappa Iota, serving as local president for multiple years and served as state president from 1999-2000. Mrs. Ward also served as a member of Tippah County Hospital Auxiliary and the Heritage Club. A visitation for Mrs. Ward will continue today at The Ripley Funeral Home until service time at 2 p.m. Rosemary will be remembered for many things; her faith in God, the love she had for her church, her gracious and welcoming nature, her involvement in her community and unwavering love and loyalty to her friends and family. In addition to her husband, she leaves her children, Stanley Mark Ward (Libby) and Melissa Ward Willingham (James) both of Ripley and Joshua Shane Ward (Jessica) of Hickory Flat, her brothers Walter Cleve Butler (Verna) of Middleton, TN and George Wayne Butler (Dianne) of Ripley, her grandchildren, Taylor Ward, Allie Ward, Caitlin Willingham, Reese Willingham all of Ripley, Trace Ward and Ayden Ward, both of Hickory Flat and a host of many loving family members. Her nephews, Chester Butler, Ken Butler, Clark Ward, Brian Ward, Paul Ward, Michael Ward, Cliff Ormon, Matt Ormon and Blake Ormon will serve as pallbearers. The Family request that memorials be directed to the Beech Hill Church of Christ Youth Program, 6077 Hwy 4 W Ripley, MS 38663. The Ripley Funeral Home is honored to serve the Ward Family and invites you to share memories at www.ripleyfuneralhome.com

Ruby Helen Garrison Tate (BMC 1983)

NEW ALBANY – Ruby Helen Garrison Tate, 83, died Tuesday, April 5, 2016, at Baptist Memorial Hospital Union County. She was born November 25, 1932, in New Albany to A. A. and Nettie Tidwell Garrison. She was a devoted Christian and member of Calvary United Methodist Church. She graduated from Blue Mountain College in the 1970s with a degree in music. She was a devoted church organist for 50 years, primarily at Calvary UMC but also a few years at First Presbyterian Church in Holly Springs. She taught piano for many years. She was a devoted member of Friends of the Library at Union County Library and served as an officer for several years. Hobbies that she loved and enjoyed include Bible study, reading, growing roses and bird-watching. She was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother.

Services will be at 11 a.m. today, April 7, 2016, at Calvary United Methodist Church with the Rev. Ricky Bishop and the Rev. Ronnie Goodwin officiating. Burial will be in Mt. Olivet Cemetery. United Funeral Service is in charge of arrangements.
She is survived by her husband, Richard E. Tate; a son, Arthur L. Tate (Virginia H.) of New Albany; and a grandson, Ben Tate.
She was preceded in death by her parents; a sister, Dr. Lena Harmon; and a brother, Rev. Coyette Garrison.
Pallbearers will be Jerry Tate, Curtis Tate, John Tate, Joe Tate, Tim Rowland and Terry Hill. Honorary pallbearers will be members of her Sunday School class.
The body will lie-in-repose from 10 a.m. until service time today at Calvary UMC.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to Calvary United Methodist Church.
For online condolences, visit www.unitedfuneralservice.com.
Published in Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal on Apr. 7, 2016 - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/djournal/obituary.aspx?n=ruby-tate&pid=179534501&fhid=26442#sthash.qZudHP4n.dpuf

Earlene Woodruff (BMC 1957)

Earlene Woodruff, 80, passed away Tuesday, March 29, 2016. Earlene's passions in life were serving the Lord with her Kirby Woods Baptist family and her Friendship SS Class sisters, and enjoying her family and extended family of friends. She graduated from Blue Mountain College where she felt called to a career in teaching. She spent 42 years of service ministering to elementary children in Laurel, MS schools and, later, in Memphis city schools and Briarcrest school system. Her love of teaching and her love for her students extended to Sunday School at APBC for many years and, after retirement, to several years tutoring many students in her home. Other things that gave her great pleasure were flying, painting, gardening and line dancing. She was preceded in death by her parents Hiram Earl and Lena Pearl Park Woodruff and a sister Colleen, of Houston, MS. She is survived by a sister Ruth Cook and a nephew Jeff Cook (Rae) of Rockwall, TX, a cousin Martha Pegram (Tom) of Memphis; a niece Jan Wilson of McComb, IL; great nieces and nephews, David, Rachel, Richie and Michelle and many friends whom she loved and adopted as family. A memorial praise celebration will be at Kirby Woods Baptist Church at 11 a.m. Saturday with one hour prior visitation. Pastor Jim Collier will be officiating. Hernando Funeral Home is entrusted with arrangements. Earlene's parents instilled in her heart at an early age a love for missions. So, her request is, in lieu of flowers, any expressions are sent to KWBC (missions) or St. Jude, Wings, or other ministry that testifies to someone that JESUS IS LORD.

Mary Denney Eads (BMC 1964), Euzelian

Born October 21, 1942; Died March 7, 2016

She is survived by her three daughters, Melissa Eads, Melanie Eads, and Cynthia (Greg) Craft, and three grandchildren, Harrison, Hudson, and Holland Craft.
A graduate of Blue Mountain College in Blue Mountain, Mississippi, she retired from Adanta Behavioral Health Services in 2002 after 16 years of service. Prior to Adanta she worked for 16 years at Monticello Independent School. She was a member of the Monticello Women's Club for 46 years serving 2 terms as president. She loved volunteering in the community and served as a Wayne County Hospital Volunteer for 13 years including 11 years as president. She also volunteered at the Hope Center in Monticello, was a Hospice volunteer, and was a former board member of the Wayne County Historical Society.
Raised attending First Baptist Church Monticello, she accepted Christ as her Savior at the age of 10. For the last 47 years she has been an active member of First Christian Church.
Visitation will be held Thursday, March 10, 2016 at Hickey & Son Funeral Home, 340 North Main Street Monticello from 5-9pm and Friday morning until 10am. The body will lie in state at First Christian Church, 108 E Michigan Avenue on Friday from 11am to 1pm. Funeral services will be held at the church at 1pm Friday with Brother Joe Tipton officiating. Burial will immediately follow at Elk Spring Cemetery. Hickey & Son Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Wayne County Hospital Volunteers or Gideon International.

Clarice Griffin Duff (BMC 1949), Euzelian

PONTOTOC – Clarice Griffin Duff was born in Pontotoc on March 1, 1927, to Marlin Kellon and Susie Stanford Griffin. She received her education from Pontotoc schools, and she rode the The Rebel up to Blue Mountain College until she earned a degree in home economics in 1949. She married George ""Hank"" Duff that summer of 1949, and they both taught school for three years before George decided to go to dental school. Clarice worked in the secretary pool at International Harvester while George earned his degree at the University of Tennessee. They then returned to Pontotoc. Clarice loved First Baptist Church and clung to her faith throughout her life, demonstrating her servant's heart. She worked in the preschool department for many years and was active in Women on Mission, serving as the president for two years. She also served as a church hostess for five years. Clarice was also active in the Mississippi and District Dental Auxiliaries serving as Dental Health Chairman, Treasurer, and President. Clarice was involved in and excited about everything her children did. She was a Cub Scout and Girl Scout Leader, RA's teacher, and an avid fan of high school baseball, football, track and cheerleading whenever her children were playing. She was always at the game to cheer them on and keep the officials in line. She loved attending Garden Club Meetings, playing bridge – anything her family was involved in. She always enjoyed family get-togethers with her children, grandchildren, and great-grands. Services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 8, 2016, at First Baptist Church in Pontotoc with Dr. Ken Hester officiating; burial will follow in the Pontotoc City Cemetery. Browning Funeral Home in Pontotoc is in charge of the arrangements. Clarice is survived by her five children, Suzanne Ray (Brian), Claire Sullivan (Dr. David), George Jr. (Kathy), Marlin (Heather), and Al (Venetta), and her sisters, Wilma Chittom and Marlene Michael. She is also survived by sixteen grandchildren, Georgia Anne Moore (Kyle), Mary Agnes Ellis (Timmy), Rob Ray (Angela), Duff Ray, Mark Sullivan (Corinna), Mallory Rosamond (Tyler), Gordon Sullivan, Griffin Sullivan (Becca), Grace Marie Sullivan, Jarrod Duff (Lacy), Amanda Taylor (Cody), Kasey Kidd (Caleb), Kellon Duff, Joshua Duff, Daynalee Duff, and Andrew Duff, fourteen great-grandchildren and beloved caretaker, Barbara Roye. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, four sisters: Elsie Griffin Blanke, Estelle Griffin Henry, Grace Griffin Dandridge, Velma Griffin Long and two brothers: Max K. Griffin, Jr. and Max Kerwin Griffin. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday and 10 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, all at First Baptist Church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Elevator Fund at First Baptist Church of Pontotoc, 31 Washington Street, Pontotoc, MS 38863.

Ruth Evangelina Garcia McElrath (BMC 1944), Eunomian

Ruth Evangelina Garcia McElrath (23 May 1920 - 29 February 2016) was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina to Manuel Garcia Reiriz, a Baptist pastor who had immigrated from Spain, and Ines Cibils Cavers, whose mother had come from Scotland. Ruth traveled to the United States in 1940 to attend Blue Mountain College in Mississippi. She went on to earn masters degrees from the Carver School of Missions and Social Work and the School of Church Music of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1948, she married Hugh Thomas McElrath, who was a professor at the seminary music school for some 50 years. They were married for 60 years until his death in 2008. They served together as ministers of music at Beechwood Baptist Church for 26 years. Gregarious and energetic, Ruth was active as a teacher, choirmaster, mother of three, and supporter of classical music performance in Louisville. She founded Friendship International, an educational and social organization serving expatriate spouses in Louisville. She and Hugh traveled extensively, including sabbatical years in Italy, England and Switzerland, visits to support Baptist missionaries, and leading international tours. They lived at Penney Retirement Community in Florida for some 20 years.

Ruth is survived by her sister Edith Moritz of Stone Mountain, Georgia: her brother Donaldo Garcia, of Ringwood, New Jersey; sons Hugh Donald and Douglas McElrath of Washington DC; daughter Margaret Partridge of Cary, North Carolina; and grandsons Hugh Dewitt and Jasper McElrath of Washington DC.

The funeral will be 3 PM Sunday March 6, 2016 at Broadway Baptist Church 4000 Brownsboro Road with burial at Cave Hill Cemetery 10 AM Monday. Visitation 4-7 PM Saturday at Pearson's 149 Breckenridge Lane.

Expressions of sympathy may be made to Broadway Baptist Church.

Dr. Mary Tom Berry (BMC 1946)

Mary Tom Berry, formerly of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, was transferred to The Church Triumphant in Ridgeland, Mississippi on Monday, February 15, 2016. She was born to Dr. & Mrs. Perrin L. and Eugenia Bryant Berry, Sr. in Water Valley, Mississippi, the younger sister of Perrin L. Berry, Jr., and was preceded in death by them.

Survivors include: niece Betty Berry Hindman (Michael) and great niece Kayla Truitt (JP); nephew Tom Berry (Betsy) and great nephew, T. Joel Berry, M.D. (Jenny); niece and caregiver, Mary Berry Dent (Tommy); great nephew, Thomas Dent (Christina) and great-grand nephews, Cole Tyson and Brandon; Lauren Dent Ammons (Clifford), great-grandnephew Cooper; and great niece Jillian Dent.

Miss Berry received the Artium Baccalaureus in English and Bible from the Berry/Lowery family college of Blue Mountain in Mississippi, where her beloved Aunt Linda Berry was a voice instructor. The University of Southern Mississippi awarded her the Master of Education and Specialist degrees in Health, Recreation, Physical Education and Elementary Education, respectively. She received the Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Alabama and was a lifelong, avid Bama fan.
Dr. Mary Tom Berry taught elementary school for several years before she became a professor of elementary education and reading at Middle Tennessee State University in the early 1960s. She was Chairman of the Elementary and Special Education Department for many years. She was asked to be Dean of the School of Education, but turned it down so a younger professor could gain that experience. She worked tirelessly to establish the first kindergarten programs in the state and initiated several Early Childhood programs at the university.

Dr. Berry’s honors and awards are numerous. At MTSU the library in Homer Pittard Campus School is named “The Mary Tom Berry Media Center” for her endeavors and tremendous impact on the laboratory school’s success and role in teacher training. She was instrumental in establishing MTSU’s Center for Dyslexic Studies and volunteered there before and after retirement. A room in the center is dedicated to her. The Mary Tom Berry Scholarship for Elementary Education was established in her honor. A local reading chapter was named The Mary Tom Berry Reading Council for her lifelong, untiring devotion to literacy in the state and the International Reading Association. She was active in Beta Epsilon, the local chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma International Society, an honor organization for women educators.

Dr. Berry had a host of published research related to literacy, teacher education, and early childhood curriculum and instruction. She chaired numerous committees while working with National Certification for Teachers.

She was an active member of First Baptist Church of Murfreesboro where she taught adult ladies in Sunday school for decades and served unselfishly on committees. She shared her joy in listening to each taped sermon after she moved to Mississippi.
After her father died at a young age, Mary Tom took her mother to live with her so her brother Perrin could marry, have children, and live a normal life as a physician. She always put others first, especially family.

God was foremost in her life and then she devoted herself to the family. She doted on the nieces and nephew as a "second mother". Being with her was like a visit to Disneyland with exciting activities created for their enjoyment.

Mary Tom was a world traveler and athletic person who loved to play tennis, swim, read, attend sports events, and walk. Entertaining, especially on her houseboat at Center Hill Lake, delighted her. As a patron of the Fine Arts, she enjoyed the symphony and theater.

Family members, colleagues, and friends describe Dr. Berry as: kind, gracious, nurturing, creative, insightful, professional, gentle advisor, delighted in the success of children and teachers, avoided the limelight herself, and communicated the value of others throughout her life.

A special memorial service for Dr. Mary Tom Berry is planned for Saturday, February 27th at 10:00 a.m. in the First Baptist Church of Murfreesboro, TN.

The family respectfully requests that in lieu of flowers, donations in Dr. Berry's memory be made to Blue Mountain College in Blue Mountain, Mississippi, the Mary Tom Berry Scholarship at MTSU, the First Baptist Church of Murfreesboro, or a charity of the donor's choice.


Norma Jean Hudson Cowan passed away on January 12, 2016, in Roseville, California. She was born on November 21, 1923, in Blue Mountain, Mississippi, to Dr. J. Manning Hudson and Norma Dunn Hudson and grew up in New Albany, Mississippi. She graduated from Blue Mountain College; after which she met and married Doc Cowan of Shelby, Mississippi. They had three children, Carolyn, Claire, and George. They lived for 8 years in Maracaibo, Venezuela, after which they returned to Houston, Texas, where she lived for the next 31 years, teaching junior high in the Spring Branch ISD for 21 years of those years. She was a congregant of the Chapelwood Methodist Church. Norma spent the years after 1998 in California, where she lived close to Claire and her family. Norma is survived by her sister Carolyn Hudson Harrison, of Milan, Tennessee; her children Carolyn Cowan, of Concrete, Washington, Claire Cowan Fredette (Gerry), of Granite Bay, California, and George Cowan (Lin), of Hong Kong; eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Norma loved to travel, garden, read, and play bridge, but mostly she loved her friends and family. Her sweet and happy nature touched the lives of those who knew her. Norma Jean will be deeply missed by her family and her friends mourning her loss.

Barbara Bray (BMC 1952, Euzelian)

Barbara Bray died peacefully Friday, January 15, 2016, at John Knox Village Care Center, Lee's Summit, Mo. Service will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 20, at Fellowship Greenwood, 1601 W. Main Street, Greenwood, Mo. The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19, at Speaks Suburban Chapel, 18020 E. 39th St., Independence, Mo., and at 9 a.m. Wednesday, prior to service at the church. Burial will follow service at Knob Noster, Mo., Cemetery. The family suggests memorial gifts to the MO WMU/Gilpin Fund to support Woman's Missionary Union and other mission efforts. Barbara was born May 17, 1931, in Hutchison, Kan., to Kenneth and Harriette Birt. She had one brother. She graduated from Blue Mountain College in 1952 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She was an accomplished singer, pianist, choir director, teacher, writer and speaker. Barbara married Tom Bray on June 2, 1953, and together they began a 50-year partnership of love and ministry serving in 13 full-time and interim pastorates in Missouri, Kentucky and Arkansas. From 1981-1986, she served as Missouri WMU President and lived a lifetime fulfilling her passion for missions by leading conferences, writing for WMU magazines and two books for WMU. She was a member of Fellowship Greenwood. Apart from being a model pastor's wife, she loved her family and was the epitome of hospitality. Barbara was preceded in death by husband, Tom and both of her parents. Barbara is survived by children, Martha and Dennis Green, Blue Springs, Mo., Sarah and Larry Jacobs, Nixa, Mo., Becky and BJ Moyer, Lee's Summit, Clark Bray, Bowling Green, Ky., and Dave Hitchcock, Independence; her grandchildren, Amy and David Jacoby, Adam and Kristi Hitchcock, Nathan and Kala Jacobs, Rachel and Matt Canady, Julia Moyer, Kathryn Moyer, Jason and Laura Bray, Jeremy and Amber Bray, Stephen and Sophy Bray; 13 great-grandchildren, Addie, Violet and Cooper Jacoby, Trey Dayaw, Ava and Noah Hitchcock, Peyton Lyons, Brinley Jacobs, Susan, Sarah and Joseph Bray, Mallory Bray, and Saylah Bray; her brother, Ken and Pat Birt and many "adopted" children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Her caring spirit will be missed by all who loved and admired her. She left her earthly body confident in the words of 2 Timothy 4:7-8, "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 - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing." Her family rests in the assurance that the Lord met Barbara at the entrance of her eternal rest saying, "Well done thy good and faithful servant.”

Cyreal Sneed Ford (Attended BMC 1968)

Ripley, MS - Cyreal Sneed Ford, 89, wife of the late Dr. Ralph D. Ford and a person active for many years in the church and community activities of Tippah County, peacefully departed this life Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, at MyKales Residential Living Center in New Albany. A service celebrating the life of Mrs. Ford will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, in the Heritage Chapel of Ripley Funeral Home with burial in Tippah Memorial Gardens Cemetery. A native of Union County, Mrs. Ford was born Feb. 16, 1926, the daughter of the late William Edward Sneed and Rebecca Dillard Sneed. She was a graduate of Ingomar High School and continued her education at Blue Mountain College. A devoted member of Ripley First United Methodist Church, Mrs. Ford served as secretary for the church for more than 20 years. She was married for more than 60 years to Dr. Ralph D. Ford, well known Ripley physician who died in 2010. An active person who enjoyed the friendships of many, Mrs. Ford found much pleasure in Bridge games with friends, participating in the Ripley Young At Heart Senior Group, and competing in the Senior Olympics of North Mississippi. A visitation for Mrs. Ford will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. today, Jan. 11, at Ripley Funeral Home and will continue on Tuesday two hours before services. She is survived by her son, Ralph ""David"" Ford (Amanda) of Ripley; two brothers, Dean Sneed of Olive Branch and Billy Sneed of Hurricane Community; and her grandson, Parker Manning Ford. She was also preceded in death by a son, Dwight Jay Ford; and two sisters, Imogene Mills and Sara Nolen. Memorials are requested to Ripley First United Methodist Church, 145 South Main St., Ripley, MS 38663.Psalms 121:8 ""The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even forever more.""


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