Union City Cemetery

Newton Co, MS

The cemetery is located on the East side of Old Decatur Road in the Town of Union, MS.

Why I was ever afraid of this cemetery is a hard concept to understand.  When I was a child and a teenager I wanted to be nowhere close.  I was horrified when a new neighborhood was built, backing up to the cemetery.  Would those residents ever be able to spend a non fearful moment?  "Spend the night" parties at my friend Judy's house always held a sense of dread, considering her close proximity to Union Cemetery.   That childhood terror has now become a welcome site to visit.  So many of the wonderful individuals who roamed the streets of Union from its inception now lie peacefully under its green grass, awaiting remembrance from our generation.  Cemetery Photographed March 3, 2004.

John Winfield McBeath

December 28, 1916

December 24, 1962

John Winfield McBeath was the only son of John Harris McBeath & his wife Ruby May Winfield.  He is pictured right as he served in the U S Army in World War II.

It was a horrible morning that I will never forget.  I awoke to the sound of my Mother's painful cries of agony.  Something was very wrong on that Christmas Eve morning.  Rapidly jumping out of bed to learn what dreaded thing had so pained my mother, I was told that Uncle John had died at age 46 from a sudden heart attack.  It must have been the most horrible Christmas ever for my Mother.  Her father, my beloved grandfather, had just died at the beginning of the month.  Now one of her two brothers was also gone, and at way too early an age.  Uncle John was always full of laughter.  He never failed to bring fireworks to the family holiday celebrations.  And though childless himself, he competed strongly with my other Uncle in the child teasing department.  Rest peacefully Uncle John.  You are sorely missed.

Willie D. Sistrunk

July 26, 1919 - March 13, 1958

Willie D. Sistrunk was a son of Jonathon Ira Sistrunk and his wife Fannie Joe Williams.  He married Katherine Winfield.  Photo courtesy of Jerri Winfield


Katherine Winfield Sistrunk

Photo courtesy of Jerri Winfield

September 5, 1919 - December 30, 1991

The daughter of John Presley Winfield and his wife Inda Mae Gunter, Katherine Winfield married Willie D. Sistrunk.  She was born during the period of time that her family lived in Van Zandt Co, TX.



Frank Winfield Jr.

July 31, 1925 - July 7, 1998

Frank "Junior" Winfield was the son of Frank Winfield and his wife "Aunt" Minnie Lee Jones.  Frank will be well remembered by those who grew up in Union in the 60's.  His family ran the Bus Station Cafe for many years.  He also served the Town of Union as a policeman.

Bill R. Winfield

October 9, 1920 - August 30, 1998

Bill Winfield was a son of Frank Winfield and his wife Minnie Lee Jones. 

The Union Appeal, March 30, 1944:  Union boys meet in San Diego: Sailor Billy R. Winfield, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Winfield of Route 2, Union and Marine Woodrow L. Holley, son of Mr. and Mrs. Sim Holley of Route 4, Union, told of how nice it was to meet each other in California. Winfield has been in the Navy for about two years and Holley has been in the service for about 18 months.


James Donald Majure

August 2, 1869 - November 23, 1942

Mittie Thomas Majure

July 1, 1876 - June 6, 1918



James Edward Majure

March 13, 1927

April 20, 1972


James A. Walton

October 29, 1878 - March 5, 1956

Ella Louvenia Herrington Walton

January 25, 1882 - June 27, 1973

James Austin Walton was a son of John C. Walton and his wife Elizabeth E. Wayne.  He married Ella Louvenia Herrington December 2, 1900 in Neshoba Co, MS.  She was a daughter of John Dennis Herrington and his wife Pernecia Parisade Fox.

1910 Neshoba Co, MS Census, Beat 4, #80-80
1920 Neshoba Co, MS Census, Beat 4 Dixon/Waldo, #40-42



J. H. Herrington

January 14, 1825 - March 23, 1902

John Henry Herrington was born in South Carolina, the son of James Herrington and his 1st Wife Rebecca Hart.  He married Susan Coughran.

1870 Neshoba Co, MS Census, Beat 3, p 335B, #690-690, Farmer
1880 Newton Co, MS Census, Supv Dist 2, ED 86, p 596, Beat 2, T8, Farmer
1900 Newton Co, MS Census, Beat 2 Northern Division, Supv Dist 5, ED 50, Sheet 5b, #84-84, Farmer




Susan C. Herrington

August 21, 1837 - May 5, 1917

Every (?ay) to us is dead since Mother is not here.

Susan Coughran was born in Georgia.  She married John Henry Herrington.

Edna Bledsoe Gordon

Wife of Eli Gordon

Feb. 1836 - July 1899

Gone but not forgotten.

Eli Gordon is buried at Greenland Cemetery in Newton Co, MS.

1860 Newton Co, MS Census, Decatur PO, #743-758, p 802
1870 Newton Co, MS Census, p. 508, Township 8, Range 12, Newton PO #8-8
1880 Newton Co, MS Census, Beat 2, Township 8, #229-299


Son of Mr. & Mrs. W. E. Gordon

At Rest

October 23, 1893

April 6, 1898



Edna, Infant Daughter

of Mr. & Mrs. W. E. Gordon




Infant Son

Mr. & Mrs. W. E. Gordon





Ida Gordon Sansing

September 24, 1885

December 21, 1960




W. R. "Bob" Sansing

September 22, 1881

October 14, 1955


Ludy May Gordon

February 19, 1890

November 20, 1900

Who were the parents of these Gordon children who died so young?  They are buried near Edna Bledsoe, wife of Eli Gordon, who might be their grandmother.


Angie Pearl Gordon

May 31, 1905

September 18, 1909


Marcus Owen Gordon

June 10, 1900

June 11, 1900


Ellis Ethel Gordon

April 18, 1893

October 5, 1895



Earl Edward Gordon

May 25, 1919 - April 23, 1966

Is this the same Earl Gordon who was a son of William Perry Gordon and his 2nd wife Clady?



John M. Bassett

Born October 28, 1841

Died February 15, 1898

John Mitchell Bassett was the son of Eliza W, who appeared to have been a widow at the time of the 1860 Neshoba Co, MS Census Enumeration.  He married Mary Frances Pace.

Enumerated in 1870 as a single man in the Neshoba Co, MS household of William L. Bassett
1880 Neshoba Co, MS Census, Beat 3, p. 480C



To Our Mother

Mary F. Bassett

May 24, 1845

July 19, 1912

Momma has gone home to stay.

Mary Frances Pace was born in Lauderdale Co, MS, the daughter of Burrell Holland Pace and his wife Sarah Rainey.  She married John Mitchell Bassett.

1900 Neshoba Co, MS Census, Beat 4, Supv. District 5, ED 44, Sheet 12 #192-192


Rev. John C. Portis

Born February 3, 1837

Died October 31, 1909

Rev. John C. Portis was a son of Elijah G. Portis and his wife Martha.  He married Margaret Maria Boyd.

1870 Neshoba Co, MS Census, Beat 3, #799-799

The Union Appeal, Thursday, April 12, 1934, "Wells, Cleveland families contribute to Union's grown" by Adeline Cleveland Crosby: Mail delivery at that time was important and Rev. Portis, a Methodist minister, carried the mail on horseback to Decatur. It was dangerous, as he found out, after he was robbed by a masked man at gunpoint near Butts' Bottom. His daughter Maria Portis married William Wells.



Margaret Maria

Daughter of Wm & Maria Boyd

Wife of Rev. John C. Portis

Born February 23, 1841

Died February 21, 1899

Margaret Maria Boyd was a daughter of William Boyd and his wife Maria Henderson.  She married Rev. John C. Portis.


Kathleen Baker Portis

December 6, 1854 - July 3, 1933

Kathleen Baker married Rev. John C. Portis (as his 2nd wife) on July 19, 1903 in Newton Co, MSs.  She married (1) Unknown Tingle.

1900 Newton Co, MS Census, Beat 2, p 54, Supv Dist 5, ED 87, #12-12
1920 Newton Co, MS Census, Beat 2, Twnship 8, #6-6


William E. Portis

August 17, 1861 - January 12, 1946

William E. Portis was a son of Rev. John C. Portis and his wife Margaret Maria Boyd.  At the time of the 1910 Census he was unmarried and living in the household of his Step-Mother Kathleen.

Henry Clay Staton

June 10, 1864 - November 7, 1947

Alma Germany Staton

September 1, 1873 - May 31, 1964

Henry Clay Staton was a son of Norfleet Staton and his wife Elizabeth Boler.  He married Mary Alma Germany December 26, 1890 in Neshoba Co, MS.  

1900 Newton Co, MS Census, Beat 3, #98-98, p. 222A, Supv Dist 5, ED 51, Sheet 6A
1910 Newton Co, MS Census, Beat 3, #268-276
1920 Newton Co, MS Census, Beat 3, #180-188
1930 Newton Co, MS Census, Beat 3, ED 51-11Supv Dist 9, p. 94, Sheet 1A #21-22

George N. Staton Sr.

December 17, 1892 - May 28, 1977

Gussie Baucum Staton

January 25, 1902 - November 29, 1991

George Norfleet Staton was a son of Henry Clay Staton and his wife Mary Alma Germany.  He married Gussie Baucum July 8, 1923 in Newton Co, MS.  

Elizabeth Staton Barrick

January 6, 1924 - February 2, 2000

Frances Elizabeth Staton was a daughter of George Norfleet Staton and his wife Gussie Baucom.  She married Capt. Harry W. Barrick on November 21, 1945.

Engagement Announced - Miss Pollie Staton
Mr. And Mrs. George N. Staton of this city announce the engagement of their only daughter, Pollie, to Captain Harry W. Barrick, Jr., son of Colonel and Mrs. Harry W. Barrick of the United States Army.  Miss Staton is a graduate of Union High School and attended The Commercial Art School in Nashville, Tennessee, Mississippi Southern College, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and The Ringling Art School in Sarasota, Florida. At the present Miss Staton is employed in Sarasota.  Prior to entering the Service Captain Barrick attended Princeton. Since entering the Army Air Corps he has seen action in Italy, Sicily, India, and China; and is the wearer of the Purple Heart, The Distinguished Flying Cross, and The Air Medal.  The wedding will take place in Sarasota, Florida on the evening of Sunday November 18th. The couple will make their home in Victoria, Texas where the groom has recently been stationed after completing Command and General Staff School in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  Relatives and friends are invited through the press.

George Norfleet Staton, Jr.

Mississippi PVT 27 Marines 5 Marine Div World War II

September 9, 1925

March 7, 1945

Loses Life On Iwo Jima - Pvt. George N. Staton, Jr.    Pvt. George N. Staton, Jr., serving with the Fifth Marine Division, was reported missing in action in the Pacific, but on May 18th his parents received word that he had lost his life on March 7th, and had been buried in the Marine cemetery on Iwo Jima.  Private Staton was born in Union and graduated from Union High School at the end of the first semester of 43-44; and went directly into the service of his country.  After receiving a few months training in San Diego, he was shipped to the pacific where he saw action from the first day of the battle for Iwo Jima.

In Memory of George N. Staton, Jr.
Son of Mr. And Mrs. G. N. Staton of Union, Miss., who was killed in Action on Iwo Jima while serving with the 5th Division of the U. S. Marine on March 7th, 1945

He died in the line of duty,
The stars were still his goal,
And he took with him way up in Heaven -
My very heart and soul.
He fought with the faith that was taught him
Tyranny he'd help to destroy,
And he gave his life for his country-
A true Marine, and he was my boy.
He saw only the beauty around him,
His outlook, not like any other,
His life he lived purely and simple,
And I'm proud to say, "I was his mother."
I'll not grieve ‘cause I'll see him no longer,
I'll keep smiling no matter the cost,
For I'm happy in having the knowledge,
That Heaven has gained what I lost.

Hiram Billy Henry

April 9, 1893 - January 10, 1966

Bertie Staton Henry

May 6, 1895 - June 29, 1982

Bertie L. Staton was a daughter of Henry Clay Staton and his wife Mary Alma Germany.  she married Hiram Billy Henry December 22, 1912 in Newton Co, MS.  


Nona S. Taylor

February 6, 1893 - May 27, 1969

Nona L. Staton was a daughter of Henry Clay Staton and his wife Mary Alma Germany.  She married Hugh O. Taylor on March 14, 1923.  He was a son of Wiley W. Taylor and his wife Cora Staton.


E. J. "Bob" Staton

March 27, 1869

November 15, 1950

Emanuel Jefferson "Bob" Staton was a son of Norfleet Staton and his wife Elizabeth Boler.  He married Josephine Payne on December 18, 1890 in Newton Co, MS.

1900 Newton Co, MS Census, Beat 3, #100-100, p. 222B Supv Dist 5, ED 51, Sheet 6A
1910 Newton Co, MS Census, Beat 3, p. 140A, Supv Dist 5, #432-443
1920 Newton Co, MS Census, Beat 3, #178-186
1930 Newton Co, MS Census, Beat 3, ED 51-11Supv Dist 9, p. 94, Sheet 1A #1-1




Wife of E. J. Staton

July 9, 1870

April 24, 1939

Josephine Payne married Emanuel Jefferson Staton on December 18, 1890 in Neshoba Co, MS.


Elva Staton James

Jan 9, 1893 - Dec 11, 1978

Elva Staton was a daughter of Emmanuel Jefferson Staton and his wife Josephine Payne.  she married Samuel Nolan James December 24, 1911 in Newton Co, MS.



Samuel Nolan James

Mar 21, 1888 - Oct 29, 1948


Henry Grady James

January 7, 1890 - June 16, 1976

Maude Staton James

September 18, 1891 - March 16, 1978

Maude M. Staton was a daughter of Emmanuel Jefferson Staton and his wife Josephine Payne.  She married Henry Grady James.

Father, Andrew J. Staton

August 29, 1874 - June 23, 1946

Mother, Alma P. Staton

August 18, 1877 - February 19, 1939

Andrew Jackson Staton was a son of Norfleet Staton and his wife Elizabeth Boler.  He married Alma Pearl Jackson on February 3, 1898 in Newton Co, MS.  She was a daughter of David E. Jackson and his wife Winiford Leona Bailey.

1900 Newton Co, MS Census, Beat 3, #97-97, p. 222A, Supv Dist 5, ED 51, Sheet 6A
1910 Newton Co, MS Census, Beat 3 #267-273
1920 Newton Co, MS Census, Beat 3, #179-187
1930 Newton Co, MS Census, Beat 3, ED 51-11Supv Dist 9, p. 94, Sheet 1A #11-12

Clyde I. Staton

October 13, 1907 - May 7, 1994

Lillian E. Staton

March 8, 1909 - October 10, 1991

Clyde I Staton was a son of Andrew Jackson Staton and his wife Alma Pearl Jackson.  He married Lillian Ezell December 24, 1926 in Newton Co, MS.

1930 Newton Co, MS Census, Beat 3, ED 51-11Supv Dist 9, p. 94, Sheet 1A #7-7


Fred Donald

 Son of Clyde I & Lillian E Staton

December 10, 1934

January 21, 1945



William C

Son of Clyde & Lillian Staton

May 15, 1927

October 26, 1974

In loving memory of our son.

Alton J. Staton

May 10, 1905 - July 1, 1983

Iva E. Staton

September 25, 1903 - June 24, 1999

Alton Jackson Staton was a son of Andrew Jackson Staton and his wife Alma Pearl Jackson.  He married Iva Elizabeth Mason on May 4, 1924.  She was the daughter of Beckner D'Leon Mason and his wife Mary Elizabeth Crenshaw.


Infant of

Mr. & Mrs. Alton Staton

August 11, 1938


Shirley Staton Cook

February 8, 1933 - May 31, 2003

Shirley Staton was a daughter of Alton Jackson Staton and his wife Iva Elizabeth Mason.  She died in Hattiesburg, MS as a result of complications from an automobile accident.

The Union Appeal
Wednesday, June 4, 2003
Shirley Staton Cook
Services for Shirley Staton Cook were held Tuesday, June 3 at Moore Funeral Home Chapel in Hattiesburg with burial in the Union Cemetery. Mrs. Cook, 70, a retired customer service representative with Sunbeam Corp. died Saturday, May 31 at Forrest General Hospital. Survivors include her husband, two sons, one daughter; four sisters, four brothers, two grandchildren; and two step grandchildren. Moore Funeral Home of Hattiesburg was in charge of the arrangements.




Joe Edward Staton

August 11, 1935 - October 19, 2003





Mark Edward Staton

February 24, 1959 - June 28, 2003


Luther Staton

Dec 29, 1875

Oct 4, 1966

Loca Staton

Oct 30, 1879

Jan 13, 1961

Samuel Luther Staton was a son of Norfleet Staton and his wife Elizabeth Boler.  Can anyone identify Loca's maiden name and parentage?

S. L. Staton Jr.


TEC5 1850 SVC COMD Unit

 World War II

May 11 1909

Sept 16 1957

Samuel Luther Staton Jr. was a son of Samuel Luther Staton and his wife Loca.

Emmett S. Dollar

1881 - 1940

Ruby M. Dollar

1892 - 1982

Emmett S. Dollar was born August 18, 1881,  a son of Ambrose Warren Dollar and his wife Lora F. Miller.  He married Ruby Evans.

Walter J Boler

October 16, 1883 - October 27, 1971

Louie H Boler

September 15, 1886 - December 6, 1969

Walter J. Boler was a son of Henry Clay Boler and his wife Winifred Louisa Crenshaw.  He married Louie H. Burroughs.


Gordon Boler

US Army World War II

November 11, 1913 - January 7, 1994

Delma W. Boler

November 26, 1914 - June 23, 1996



Gordon Boler was a son of Aldeen Clay "Ned" Boler and his wife Winnie E. Gordon.  He married Delma Williamson.

The Union Appeal - December 9. 1943:  Pfc. Gordon Boler and Pfc. Buford Boler, sons of Mr. and Mrs. Ned Boler, of Union, are currently serving their country in the armed services.  Buford is with the engineers.  Gordon is with the armored infantry.


Henry Buford Boler

US Army World War II

March 13, 1916 - October 13, 1993

Buford Boler was a son of Aldeen Clay "Ned" Boler and his wife Winnie E. Gordon.



Rev. H. C. Taylor

July 3, 1848

October 14, 1919

By grace have ye been saved through faith.

Does anyone have information on Henry Clay Taylor's family?

1910 Newton Co, MS Census, Beat 2, Supv Dist 5, ED 87, p 57, #55-55, Farmer



Alive V.

Wife of H. C. Taylor

January 26, 1851

December 31, 1926

Her toils are past;
Her work is done.
She fought the fight,
the victory won.

Can anyone provide Alice's maiden name and parentage?

William L. Pilgrim

Born March 16, 1836

 Died Nov 2, 1896

PVT - Co I 40 Miss Inf  -  CSA

Father Pilgrim is gone but not forgotten.


What Pilgrim family is this man a part of?



Jane Pilgrim

June 16, 1860

April 5, 1956

Mother Pilgrim is gone but not forgotten.

Can anyone identify Jane's maiden name and parentage?



Martha J. Pilgrim

April 27, 1892

November 6, 1912

Blessed are they that die in the Lord.



Major Thomas Moody Felton

July 19, 1932 - July 14, 1969

In our hearts he will always be.

Mississippi - Major Armor

BSM & OLC - AM & 38 OLC




Mary Joan Felton

February 17, 1936

January 5, 1999

Jo was the wife of Major Thomas M. Felton.

Hull M. & Evelyn P. Davis

September 5, 1903 - January 8, 1991

November 1, 1909 - June 5, 1988

Hull M. Davis married Evelyn Pool on December 31, 1935 in Newton Co, MS.








Harry D. Lane

December 5, 1899 - May 11, 1954

Grace W. Lane

January 15, 1905 - December 16, 1996

Generations of Union Elementary School students owe their knowledge to 2nd Grade Teacher Mrs. Grace Lane.  She is pictured above in her UHS Class picture 1963-64.

Elbert P. & Helen B. Willis

December 15, 1910 - February 9, 1993

February 11, 1904 - December 23, 1980


Dr. John Stephen Laird, M. D.

Jan 24, 1882 - Feb 27, 1973

Isa Taylor Laird

Nov 24, 1883 - Jan 25, 1973


Dr. Earl Lee Laird Sr.

September 7, 1907 - March 29, 1987

Founder of Laird Hospital, Union Mississippi 1938

Dr. Earl L. Laird was a son of Herbert L. Laird and his wife Maud R.

Prisoner For Two Days - Major Earl L. Laird
According to a letter received here from Major Earl L. Laird by his parents, Mr. And Mrs. H. L. Laird, he was taken prisoner by the Germans in their big drive in December and was held prisoner for two days along with his hospital staff. Friends are glad to know that he is now back safely on the American side.

Dr. E. L. Laird Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel
Dr. Earl L. Laird, head of Laird Hospital, received confirmation notice Christmas Day that he had been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the u. S. Army Medical Corps. Colonel Laird recently retired from active duty in Europe where during the battle of the so-called bulge in Belgium, he with his entire field hospital unit was captured by the Germans. He led his unit back to the American lines after being prisoner for a short time. Colonel Laird saw much service as a surgeon right up on the front lines where he saved the lives of many of our soldiers by his skill. Colonel Laird is our of service at present on accumulated furlough. He will be discharged early in 1946 or transferred to the reserve. he will continue his practice in Union, where he has a good hospital and fine clientele. Union friends congratulate Colonel Laird on his promotion and are proud to know we have such a distinguished citizen who did so much during the recent war.



Grover Clayton "Coach" Kirksey

March 20, 1914

July 31, 1995




Juanita Hagan Luke

December 30, 1922

June 11, 2003



William P. Cassell

April 5, 1896

May 9, 1961

Eugene Nathan Matlock

September 1, 1900 - May 25, 1965

Ola Kate Wilson Matlock

March 1, 1897 - August 23, 1981

Ola Kate Matlock was my 3rd Grade Teacher.  She is remembered as having made a major contribution to my love of learning.  Thank you Mrs. Matlock!



Cornelia Barnett Peterson

February 11, 1950 - February 21, 2002

Connie Barnett was a daughter of Cecil & Susie Barnett.




Conan F. Whitten

February 4, 1920 - July 19, 1999




Audrey Cleveland Hathorn

February 24, 1922 - May 25, 1979

Our Beloved Mother





W. C. "Bill" Hansford

February 27, 1924 - August 19, 1992

Bill Hansford was the son of Mr. & Mrs. Ezra Hansford.

Verner Dee Thomas

July 28, 1894 - December 3, 1959

Mildred Petty Thomas

December 27, 1903 - March 2, 1971


Wilmer J. James Sr.

February 21, 1911 - October 4, 1988

Lucille L. James

March 7, 1913 - May 23, 1968




L. M. "Mack" Shelton

August 30, 1907 - December 26, 1972


Daughter, M. Gwen Shelton

May 5, 1940 - October 13, 1999

Gwen Shelton was pretty, popular and young.  The whole world lay at her feet.  But a tragic auto accident ended the way her adult life would have been before it was even begun.  A wheelchair, rather than marriage and family, became her fate.  But she made the most of the life she had been granted.  She remained beautiful and popular.  The Town of Union continued to bestow its adoration on the woman who would become Miss Wheelchair Mississippi.  She was not to enjoy a long life and the opportunity to become a Senior Citizen.  But she lived a life of courage and strength that most would aspire to attain.  Gwen Shelton was the daughter of Mack & Mary Shelton.


The Union Appeal - November 19, 2003
The Gwen Shelton I Knew
by Scott Cassel

The first time I ever saw an image of Gwen Shelton in a standing position was when I recently viewed this photo. It seemed strange seeing her standing there, posing for the shot. The Gwen I knew had to live her entire adult life in a wheelchair. But, the Gwen I knew did not complain or dwell on her misfortune. Those that did not know her probably pitied her for her disability, but believe me, the Gwen Shelton I knew never considered herself handicapped. Oh sure, I imagine she had her moments when no one was around, or with her mother Mary, who patiently responded to Gwen's requests. But to the rest of us, she was always upbeat and positive. Cutting up, laughing and always being good company. This was the Gwen Shelton I came to know and love.

I first met Gwen when I was maybe twelve or thirteen years old. She was wheeling out of Marcus Gordon's office in the City Hall building and I was wheeling down the sidewalk, pedaling full speed on my bicycle. How I missed hitting her, I will never know. But I remember how she laughed off the incident, and in her own brand of dry humor, sarcastically suggested that I try to learn how to ride "that silly thing" on the street. Man, was I embarrassed, but I was also intrigued. There seemed to be some kind of mystery about her, this pretty young woman who had to push herself around in a wheel chair.

The car accident occurred a few months before she was to graduate from high school. On the night of February 13, 1958, Gwen and her best friend, Sylvia Nicholson (Smith) were returning to Union after playing in a basketball game at Conehatta. Someone forced them off the road, the vehicle flipped over and Gwen was thrown from the car, injuring her spinal cord. The person who ran them off the road didn't stop or come back to help. This was not supposed to happen to Gwen. Everything, which once seemed to be going her way, had suddenly taken a tragically different direction.

Both Gwen and Sylvia were pretty decent athletes. They played on the team that went 43 and 5 and had won the Choctaw Conference just two years earlier. Gwen was elected Homecoming Queen. She was voted cheerleader, Most Beautiful, Senior Favorite and Miss UHS. Then, this happened. Gwen however, didn't quit. Because Gwen worked hard to make good grades, she managed to graduate with her class the following May. She received her diploma wearing a cast and sitting in her "new" wheel chair.

As a young woman, Gwen was honored as the "Mississippi Handicapped Employee of the Year." In 1976, she won "Miss Wheelchair Mississippi," and was instrumental in leading the effort to have ramps installed for handicapped people at both the Mississippi Memorial Stadium and Smith-Wills Baseball Stadium in Jackson. Gwen also had a beautiful voice. In her first official duty as the reigning "Miss Wheelchair," she sang the "National Anthem" at the 1976 Egg Bowl between Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

Gwen and I became close friends after our little sidewalk encounter. During my high school years, I spent a lot of time at her house watching television. Her place was a great place to go, especially since there were so many entertaining things for a high school teenager to do here in Union. Going over to Gwen's house was a regular thing for a lot of people my age. Many times her bedroom was so crowded; you couldn't find a place to sit down. Everyone was drawn to Gwen's contagious personality and wit.

In this day of ridiculous court cases and the common mindset where people are convinced they are victims, I look back at Gwen's life and all the pain and suffering she had to endure. I think of the great injustice and all of the obstacles thrown in her way. The average person would have given up and quit. They would have poor mouthed everything and dwelt on the fact that the person who caused their suffering was probably walking around enjoying life. Gwen did not do this. Instead, she exhibited incredible character and a positive attitude despite all these things. I remember how she placed her faith in God and lived her life to the fullest. God had a plan for Gwen. He used her to bless the rest of us.

Many people have personal heroes who have shown great courage in the face of defeat and uncertainty; heroes who have kept on trying despite the overwhelming odds; heroes who have refused to fail; heroes who have motivated and encouraged others. Everyone would be blessed to have such heroes. She lives on in my heart, for Gwen Shelton was mine.

"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."



Willie Adelaide Nowell

November 15, 1917 - January 13, 1999




Gary Wayne Nowell

February 12, 1949 - March 14, 1993

Gary Nowell was my classmate from Elementary through High School.  His mother is listed immediately above.

William E. "Bill" Stribling

September 8, 1919 - February 11, 1988

Mary Stribling

November 29, 1922 - September 20, 1983

Mary Stribling was my co-worker at the T-W-L Store during the time that I was in High School.  She will always be remembered for her ever pleasant countenance.

Mr. And Mrs. O. A. Stribling are announcing the marriage of their daughter Mary Blanche, to P.F.C. William E. Stribling, son of Mr. And Mrs. L. E. Stribling of Mobile, Alabama. The ceremony was performed Friday afternoon, November 19, in the parlor of the St. Francis Street Methodist Church, Mobile, Ala., with the Rev. J. F. McLeod, pastor, officiating. The couple was attended by Mrs. J. F. Biggert, sister of the groom, and Mrs. J. G. Hindsman of Mobile.  P.F.C. Stribling is with the Army Air Forces stationed at Brookley Field, Alabama. 



07/25/2011 08:53:42 PM