Denise Strub

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Arthur Lee Johnson, 56, of Byhalia, formerly of Cleveland

Arthur Lee Johnson, 56, of Byhalia, formerly of Cleveland, died May 12, 2017, at his home.

Funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 20, 2017, at Vernon Memorial in Cleveland with SPT. J.L. Hutton officiating. Burial will follow in Delta Heights Memorial Gardens in Cleveland.

Visitation will be from 2-6 p.m. Friday, May 19, 2017, Byas Funeral Home in Cleveland with family hour from 10-11 a.m. Saturday at the church.

Survivors include sons Lorenzo Dantzler of Starkville, Jakobe Johnson of Byhalia, Jonathon Fortt of Arizona and Davis Fortt of West Point; daughters Torjian Johnson of Flint, MI, Arlesha and Kaliyah Johnson of Byhalia; brothers W.C. Johnson of Midnight and Johnnie Johnson of Columbus; sisters Mattir Hutton of Columbus; and 11 grandchildren.

Willie T. Nelson, 87, of Cleveland

Willie T. Nelson, 87, of Cleveland died May 15, 2017, at Delta Rehab Health Care Center in Cleveland.

Funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 20, 2017, at Byas Funeral Home in Cleveland. Burial will follow in Delta Heights Memorial Gardens in Cleveland.

He is survived by his sister Betty Williams of California.

Thompson vies for position

  • Published in News

Lanell Jona Thompson is running for alderman of Mound Bayou on June 6, 2017.

Lanell was born and raised in Mound Bayou. After graduating from high school, he served two years in the U.S. Army. Upon his return, he worked at the Delta Health Center. He then drove trucks for the next 20 years. Lanell is now employed as a driver for the Bolivar County Road Department.

He is a long-life member of Greater Bethel A.M.E. Church, where he serves as Assistant Sunday School Superintendent, president of the local Lay Organization, and a member of the choir.

With so many running for alderman of Mound Bayou, Lanell remembered President Obama’s call for citizens to leave their comfort zone and take part in the election process. This made Lanell decide to run for public office. He will bring transparency and accountability as an alderman.

His platform is simple: jobs, clean water, wans better streets.

“A vote for me is a vote for progress,” Lanell declares.


Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Hurdle are pleased to announce the upcoming marriage of their daughter Emily Elizabeth Hurdle to Kenneth Wade Garrett, son of Mr. and Mrs. Kenny Garrett.

Ms. Hurdle is the granddaughter of Mrs. Peggy Hurdle of Olive Branch and Mr. Garrett is the grandson of Mrs. Sherry Jones and Mrs. Louise Garrett, both of Cleveland.

Ms. Hurdle received her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Mississippi University for Women and is currently working in the ER at the Oktibbeha County Hospital in Starkville.

She will be pursuing her Masters of Science in Nursing in August at MUW.

Mr. Garrett will complete his Mechanical Engineering degree from Mississippi State University in August and is currently interviewing for a position as a project engineer.

The wedding will be held in Starkville on May 27, 2017.

Tommy “Tom-Cat” Jorden, 74, of Ruleville

Tommy “Tom-Cat” Jorden, 74, of Ruleville died Tuesday, May 9, 2017, at North Sunflower Medical Center in Ruleville.

Funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 20, 2017, at Holmes Chapel Full Gospel Baptist Church in Drew with Pastor Carolyn Kidd officiating. Burial will follow in Drew Cemetery.

Visitation will be from 1-5 p.m. Friday, May 19, 2017, at T.L. Redmon Funeral Home in Cleveland and beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday at the church.

Survivors include wife Hattie Jorden or Ruleville; sons Tommy Jorden Jr. of Ruleville and Charles Jorden of Hattiesburg; daughters Rosemay Jorden Flowers, Virginia Jorden-Hodges and Isabell Jorden, all of Ruleville; sister Dorothy Louise Hampton of Starkville; 21 grandchildren; and 29 great-grandchildren.

Online guestbook may be viewed and signed at

Ruth Park Galloway, 68, of Cleveland

Ruth Park Galloway, 68, of Cleveland passed away on Saturday May 13, 2017, at Allegiance Specialty Hospital in Greenville.

Visitation was held Tuesday May 16, 2017, at 1 p.m. at Cleveland Funeral Home.

Graveside service was Tuesday, May 16, 2017, at 2 p.m. in the Delta Heights Memorial Gardens. Rev. John Thomas officiated the service.

Ruth was born on October 5, 1948, to Noble Park and Stacy King Park in Cleveland. She was a lineworker for Proctor & Gamble.

Ruth was preceded in death by her parents Noble and Stacy Park, as well as her husband Victor Galloway and one son.

Cleveland Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. Online guest register may be viewed and signed at

John Guthrie “Jay” Burrell Jr., 54

John Guthrie “Jay” Burrell Jr., 54, died on May 14, 2017, in Starkville.

He was born on January 15, 1963, to John Guthrie “Bud” Burrell Sr. and Betty Ratliff Burrell in Ruleville.

In his younger years, Jay enjoyed playing football for North Sunflower Academy in Drew. He spent many hours working on his family farm in Ruleville and was also known for his love of and skill photography. Jay attended Mississippi State University and earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in 1986 and 1989.

In 1984, Jay began working for Mississippi State University in the Agriculture Economics Department. He quickly discovered his love for computers and information technology. This eventually led him to Information Technology Services as the Manager for Systems Services and finally the Director of Information Technology Infrastructure. Jay was well known throughout campus as an expert in instructional and information technologies. Faculty and staff enjoyed his positive spirit, his jovial laughter, and his ability to solve any problem with his “McGyver” skills. One of Jay’s favorite sayings was “no one wants to know how the sausage is made, but that’s what we do.” Jay spent countless hours serving the faculty and staff at Mississippi State University.

Jay was an avid MSU Bulldog fan. He held season tickets for football and baseball for many years, never missing a game and never leaving a game early. Jay was looking forward to attending the Dudy Noble Field Celebration Series this weekend at MSU to commemorate the final game in the Left Field Lounge. The Bulldog Family will miss Jay at the sporting events where he was always cheering the team, ringing his cowbell, laughing, and telling stories about the good old days. 

Family was Jay’s priority. He loved spending time with his boys, Ben and Dawson. Jay devoted countless hours to the Starkville High School Baseball Team with Ben and refined his shooting skills at the range with Dawson. He ate lunch with his mother frequently and spent many weekends with his brother, Gary, and their famous barbeque cooking team, Bubba-Q Bros.

Jay was a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Starkville and the Prime-Timers Sunday school class. Jay was a 1st Lt. in the Civil Air Patrol (US Air Force Auxillary) Golden Triangle Composite Squadron. A member since 2002, he held several core squadron roles including Administration Officer, Personnel Officer, and Professional Development Officer. He also participated in numerous search and rescue missions, serving both as flight crew member and on the mission staff. Additionally, Jay was an instrumental member of CAP's response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

Recently, Jay had taken up bicycling, lacked one class from completing his SCUBA diving certification, and traveled extensively with his boys and friends

He was preceded in death by his father, John Guthrie “Bud” Burrell Sr. and his maternal and paternal grandparents.

Jay is survived by his sons Benjamin John Burrell and Dawson Scott Burrell and their mother Tamar Miller Burrell; mother Betty Ratliff Burrell; brother Gary Burrell (Barbara); nephews Brian Burrell, Alan Burrell and Jeremy Burrell (Sarah); great-nephew Jax Burrell; and great-niece Harper Burrell.

Visitation for Jay is scheduled for Thursday, May 18, 2017, 5-7 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church and Friday, May 19, 2017, from 10-11 a.m.

The funeral service will be held Friday, May 19, 2017, at 11 a.m. at Calvary Baptist Church in Starkville. Dr. Grant Arinder and Rev. Scott Cappleman will conduct the service. Burial will be in Memorial Gardens in Starkville.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Calvary Baptist Church in Starkville or the Starkville High School Baseball Booster Club, attn: Jay Burrell Fund. P.O. box 2160 Starkville, MS 39759

Pallbearers are Olen Booth, Brian Burrell, Jeremy Burrell, Alan Burrell, Scott Comish, Aaron Conner, Tim Griffin, Jerry Don Taylor.

Honorary Pallbearers are the members of the Prime-Timers Sunday school class at Calvary Baptist Church in Starkville.

You can leave the family a condolence at:

Evelyn Hays North

Evelyn Hays North, a devoted mother, grandmother and educator, passed away Monday, May 8, 2017, at St. Catherine’s Village in Madison.

She was the daughter of William Clarence Hays, MD, and Augusta McDougal Hays, two remarkable, loving, and supportive parents. She lived with a grateful heart because she knew her blessings to be manifestations of miracles.

Evelyn was born in Blue Springs, MS, December 5, 1926, and raised in Sherman where she graduated from high school, then graduated from Mississippi State College for Women in 1948 with a double major in library science and English. While teaching in Belzoni, she met her future husband, Linton Darden “Bar” North. They married in 1949. An English teacher of unparalleled dedication, she taught at Shaw High School and then for 10 years at Indianola Academy, completing her teaching career in the New Orleans area. With a gift for words, Evelyn wrote a popular column for The Bolivar Commercial while living in Cleveland, called “Have You Heard.”

When recognized for the first Distinguished Service Award by the Indianola Academy Alumni Association, it was noted that Evelyn had “a unique ability to relate to the entire spectrum of students — from the athlete to the academician. Her knowledge of English and American literature, her dedication to proper grammar and creative writing (including ‘thank you’ notes), and her diligence for the importance of good manners were all unique aspects of her teaching mode.”

Well known as an avid and serious bridge player, Evelyn was also a member and officer of the Daughters of the American Revolution and a visiting instructor at the Guangxi Foreign Language Center in Nanning, China.

Evelyn Hays North was preceded in death by her husband and her brothers, William Clarence Hays Jr., MD, and Freeman Cornelius Hays MD.

She is survived by her son, Darden Hays North, MD; daughter-in-law, Sally Fortenberry North; grandson, William Darden North, MD; granddaughter, Anderson Eleanor North, RN, BSN; and sister Marjorie Hays Livingston as well as several beloved nieces and nephews.

Visitation was Saturday, May 13, 2017, from 10 a.m. until noon at Parkway Funeral Home, Ridgeland, followed by a 3 p.m. graveside service at City Cemetery, Belzoni.

Memorials may be sent to Calvary Episcopal Church; 107 South Victoria Avenue; Cleveland, MS 38732 or the Susan G. Komen Foundation; P.O. Box 16451; Jackson, MS 39236.

Margaret Pearl Grimmett Sandroni Szot, 79, of Shaw

Mrs. Margaret Pearl Grimmett Sandroni Szot, 79, of Shaw passed away on May 13, 2017, at Joy Rehab Center in Cleveland.

Visitation will be held from 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, 2017, at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Shaw.

The Rosary will immediately follow beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, 2017, at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church.

A second visitation will be from 10-11a.m. Wednesday, May 17, 2017, at St. Francis of Assisi with a Mass of Christian Burial beginning at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 17, 2017, at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church with Father Tom Mullally and Father Peter Nguyen officiating. Interment will be held in Shaw Cemetery.

Margaret was born on March 8, 1938, to Joseph Grimmett and Annie Branch Carver Grimmett in Skene. On August 3, 2002, she married Ralph Joseph Szot in Shaw. Margaret worked at Kroger in the Seafood Department for seven years then went home to enjoy time in the kitchen making for her church, friends, and beloved family. She always enjoyed cooking meatballs for the spaghetti supper held by her church, St. Francis of Assissi Catholic Church in Shaw but her best and most well known dish was her Mexican cornbread. Margaret would set aside time in her schedule to always enjoy a meal out on the town every Friday night with her friends and family. Margaret was a senior regent at the Moose Lodge and also owned Christine’s Dress Shop for many years. She was a dedicated mother to all of her children; she set the example of an unconditional love and drive she had for her children when she worked tirelessly to help her son survive the aftermath of a tragic car accident. Jeffery came home from the hospital, still in coma with the doctor’s words to expect the worst, but to Margaret that did not dampen her spirit. She refused to give up on her son. She stimulated his mind by playing his favorite artist, Elvis Presley daily, stood by his side through it all, took care of his personal needs above hers, and whatever she needed to do to help her son. After sleepless nights and busy days loving and serving her him, he woke up from the coma and has been able to live a happy life thanks to the hard work of his mother. She enjoyed basketball and was also a Golden State Warrior. Margaret was a wonderful woman that loved her friends and family dearly.

She is preceded in death by her parents; Joseph and Annie Grimmett; first husband, Orlando “Dolly” Sandroni of Shaw; son, Derek Roger Sandroni of Shaw; two brothers; and five sisters.

Margaret is survived by her husband, Ralph Joseph Szot of Shaw; son, Jeffery Ryan Sandroni of Shaw; brother, Mac Grimmett of Cleveland; stepdaughter, Anna Szot Roberson of Blue Springs; stepson, Raph Szot Jr. of Bastrop, TX; three grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and a host of nieces and nephews.

To view and sign the online guestbook, go to

Joel Scott Spradling, 58

   Joel Scott Spradling, 58, retired COO of Infolab, Inc., died May 13, 2017 at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis, TN.

   Visitation is Thursday, May 18, 2017, 5-7 p.m. at Gumbo Flats, 5400 Caffey Road, Lambert. Visitation will also be held Friday, May 19, 2017, 2-3 p.m. with the funeral service at 3 p.m. at Oakhurst Baptist Church in Clarksdale and with burial in the Memorial Gardens.

   Meredith-Nowell Funeral Home in Clarksdale is handling the arrangements.

   Scott was an avid hunter, fisherman and most of all a practical joker. He was a Baptist.

   Survivors include wife of 25 years Nita Tyler Spradling; son Colby Spradling (Kelsey) of Cleveland; daughter Ivy Spradling of Cleveland and brother Sumner Spradling of Browns Summit, NC.

   He was preceded in death by his parents Ivy Dean Spradling Sr. and Taylor Sumner Spradling and brother Ivy Dean Spradling Jr.

   In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Flowers Manor, 1251 W. Lee Drive, Clarksdale, MS 38614.