New Albany, MS- By any measure, Hugh White McLarty had a long and successful life. He founded two successful furniture manufacturing companies. He was a successful and effective civic leader. He succeeded in accumulating thousands of admiring friends — people who worked with him, people he knew in church, people who were his neighbors and social friends. He excluded no one from the wide circle people who admired and respected him.
Former Union County Chancery Clerk and former New Albany Mayor Tom Cooper knew Hugh McLarty well for several decades. “I worked with him at Mohasco before he started Benchcraft,” said Cooper. “He was our across-the-street neighbor. Our children are friends. He was one of the kindest, gentlest men we’ve ever known.”
McLarty founded two successful furniture manufacturing companies here. “He was the leader of the group that got Benchcraft started,” said BNA Bank Chairman Vance Witt. “They did well and sold the company. Then he founded Albany Industries and ran it successfully. He hired a lot of people and did many good things for our community. He was a kind of quiet fellow and a good man.”
James Stanford of New Albany worked with Hugh McLarty for over 30 years. Stanford was one of the original owners of Albany Industries and is still associated with the company. “He was a super nice fellow, a good honest man,” Stanford said of McLarty. “He was strictly business, strictly for his employees, and strictly truthful in all things.”
While he was successful in many ways, most of all Hugh McLarty was successful as a first-rate human being. He retired from business when he was 65 years old in 2000. He devoted much of the remaining years of his life to caring for his wife Shelby Long McLarty, who endured poor health for many years. He was her principal care-giver.
They had been married for 61 years when Shelby died last month, November 19th. He died Monday, December 26, having survived her by just over a month, 37 days.
Long-married couples whose deaths come close together is a phenomenon observed and documented by medical and social scientists. It has a name: “broken heart syndrome,” maybe appropriate, maybe not.
Heart-breaking though it may be, it also seems to us an occurrence with a kind of sweet, gentle, romantic aspect.
Hugh White McLarty: obituary and funeral arrangements