Recent Posts noted many well known residents’ passing in 2017

(L-R) Seated: Ruby Caldwell Dunlap and daughter, Joyce Fitzgerald. Standing: Jennifer Wilder (holding Miles). Joey Wilder (holding Lorelai), Roy Roberts (behind), Sandy Dixon (holding Caleb Adams), Buddy Dixon, Amber Adams, Norman Dunlap (son), Thomas Dunlap (behind), Frances Dunlap, Elizabeth Boler-Joleigh & Joel (next to her), Izzie Edwards, Sue Fitzgerald John Michael Boler, Jerry Fitzgereald, Cade Nowlin, Stephen Fitzgerald, Randy Fitzgerald (holding Birdie Mae Kisor), Amanda Kisor, Ashley Dunlap, Tim Dunlap Hidden on Back row: Jana Edwards, Susan Roberts posts every obituary story we receive from local funeral homes and is generally the first local news medium to do so. Some receive more attention from our readers than others and, as with all stories, we track the numbers. The deaths that draw the most attention are those of people who have lived long, honorable lives; those who have been especially prominent in the community; and those who died too young. Here’s a sampling of the posted obituaries that were most read during 2017;

Ruby Lee Dunlap, age 100

Ruby Caldwell Dunlap is shown with her daughter Joyce Fitzgerald and her son Norman Dunlap during her 100th birthday celebration.

The very first obituary we posted on January 1, 2017, was that of Ruby Lee Dunlap, who was 100 years old. Mrs. Dunlap actually died Dec. 30, 2016, but we received her obituary from the funeral home New Year’s Day and posted it then. was invited to Ruby Dunlap’s 100th birthday party, and we attended along several hundred of her friends and relatives. (See link at end of article) The big event was held New Albany Health and Rehab. She enjoyed the party thoroughly. She was alert, vivacious, well-coiffed and well-dressed as she greeted her many admirers. She was born in Pontotoc County. She married Tommy Dunlap in 1933. and moved to Union County, where she lived the remainder of her life.

Mary Elizabeth Giles Cornelius, age 91
Mary Cornelius had been a Union County resident her entire life. She died at home on January 12, 2017. She was a 1947 graduate of Mississippi State College for women, now MUW. She taught elementary school for ten years and, with her husband Tom in 1947, founded Cornelius Equipment Company, the local John Deere and GMC dealership. She was an active, longtime member of First Baptist Church and was involved in many philanthropic works.

Randy Dunham, age 53
Randy Dunham, the County Collector/Assessor for Union County, died on January 30, after a long battle with cancer. He was serving his second term in the collector’s office. He graduated from the University of Mississippi and worked 23 years as a pharmaceutical sales representative before being elected to public office in 2011. He was an active member of First Baptist Church and was known for his participation in First Baptist’s music program.

Alexandria “Alee” Payton Thomas, age 18
Alee Thomas died February 25, of injuries suffered in an automobile accident. She was a senior at Myrtle Attendance Center, where she was a popular student, vibrant and full of life. She was an active member of Harmony Baptist Church and had intended to dedicate her life to working with children.

Beulah Katherine Rogers Hawthorne, age 93
A life-long resident of Union County, Beulah Hawthorne lived a long life, distinguished by service to her family, her church and the community. She died April 24, 2017. She was a graduate of Mississippi College for Women (now MUW) and worked 30 years for the United States Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service. She was a devout member of First United Methodist Church and very active in a wide variety of community charities and civic clubs.

Christina Lee Arnold Henderson, age 39
Christina Lee Arnold Henderson died May 11 after a lengthy illness. She was a graduate of West Union High School and a member of Harmony Baptist Church.

David S. Coleman, age 93
A life-long resident of the Union community of Wallerville, David Coleman died June 11. He was a veteran of U.S. Navy service during World War II. He was the long time owner/operator of Cotton Plant Gin and Elevator, a Farm Bureau board member, a farmer for 63 years, and a member of Hillcrest Baptist Church and of the Masonic Lodge. He was survived by a large family and innumerable friends. He enjoyed running beagles of rabbit hunting.

Dr. Joe A. Martin, Sr., age 77
Dr. Joe Martin, Sr. died July 1st. A native of Pinckneyville, IL, he founded Martin Chiropractic Clinic in New Albany and worked there for 51 years. He was a member of St Francis of Assisi Church.

Rev. Enoch J. Purvis, Age 98
Reverend Enoch J. Purvis died Sept. 9. He was a veteran of the U. S. Army Air Corp, a Master Sergeant, who served in North Africa and Italy during World War II. He served as pastor to churches in Union, Tippah and Calhoun Counties and had served as chaplain of Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County and the American Legion.

Hazel Childers Hall, Age 90
Hazel Childers Hall died September 13. A Union County native, she was a registered nurse and retired from Baptists Memorial Hospital-Union County. She continued volunteer work at the hospital for many years following her retirement. She was a member of Wallerville Baptist Church and the Eastern Star.

Wayne Lamar Roberts, Age 90
Wayne Lamar Roberts died Dec. 11 at his home. He was born in the Alpine community of eastern Union County. He was a graduate of Delta State University and began his life of public service as a teacher, coach and principal. He served as a Union County Justice Court Judge. He founded and operated Roberts Paving in New Albany. He was one of the founders of the Alpine Water and Fire Department. He was a member of Hillcrest Baptist Church and of the Ellistown Masonic Lodge.

James Wallace “Mose” Stokes, Age 87

James Wallace "Mose" Stokes obituary

James Wallace “Mose” Stokes

Mose Stokes died Saturday, Dec. 23rd. He was a Union County native and served in a U.S. Army artillery battalion during the Korean War. He was the owner of Stokes Supermarket. Mose took a special interest in helping the underdog and spent thousands of hours anonymously helping troubled people. His funeral service opened Thursday, December 28, with Allison Krauss singing the Southern Gospel classic, “I’ll Fly Away.” Brother Everett Childers spoke movingly about Mose’s kindly and generous nature. Brother Childers told how Mose developed a loyal base of Latino customers and would cash their checks for them when they could not cash them elsewhere. Mose Stokes was a friend of mine. We enjoyed a number of slow automobile drives around Union and nearby counties, during which Mose shared many rich memories of a well-lived life. During one of those drives several years ago I asked him how he had developed such a large number of Mexican customers. “‘I just treat them like people,” he said.

Ruby Dunlap 100th Birthday:

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