John Willard (Bill) Stowers, Jr. was born on March 28, 1932 to John Willard Stowers, Sr. and Willie Hamilton Stowers in Itta Bena, Mississippi. He passed away on Friday, February 14, 2020 of natural causes.

Services were Monday, February 17, 2020 at Inverness United Methodist Church. Burial was at Hickory Grove Cemetery. Burton Funeral Home of Indianola has been entrusted with arrangements.

Please make donations to the Inverness Lions Club, PO Box 77, Inverness, MS 38753.

Bill was an accomplished farmer who moved to Inverness in 1947 with his parents and younger brother, James Hamilton Stowers, where they farmed J.W. Stowers and Company. The 1950 Inverness High School graduate spent two years at Mississippi State University before joining the United States Army serving in the 7th Army Honor Guard.

After his service, Bill returned to the family farm, and married the late Mollie Frances Herring in 1956. They had four children, John Willard Stowers III (Margaret), Mollie Elizabeth  BETH Stowers Callahan (Dodge), William Paul Stowers (Sandra) and Mark Herring Stowers (Laura). He leaves eight grandchildren , Jennifer Stowers and John Willard (JW) Stowers IV (Angelena), Amanda Stowers Williams (Patrick), William Paul Stowers Jr. (Erin), Tiffany Mitchell Martin ( Kevin), Morgan Callahan (Lena) and Alexandra Grace Stowers and Anna Faith Hamilton Stowers. He also leaves a multitude of great grandchildren who can quickly yell, “Calf rope!”  when needed.

Over the years, Bill successfully farmed cotton, soybeans, corn, wheat, milo and catfish but it was his love of the outdoors that framed his life in the Mississippi Delta. The avid fisherman and hunter was a co-founder of Cordy Brake Hunting Club. He enjoyed every aspect of hunting and fishing from reloading ammunition to tying crappie jigs.

A dedicated Lions Club Member for 65 years, Bill was a mainstay at fundraising events over the years. He also was a profound blood donor as he donated more than 21 gallons over the years where records were kept. Bill helped cook the Inverness First United Methodist Church’s annual Brunswick Stew  for years.

A disciplined man of few words, a practical joker, expert marksman, hunter, fisherman, husband, father and dad and grandad – Bill Stowers.




Billy Joe Kilpatrick, 85, of Belzoni, MS went home to be with the Lord on February 13, 2020.  He was born on September 23, 1934 in Gooden Lake, a country community just outside Belzoni.  As a youth and teenager, he farmed with his father while also helping his mother manage a country general store.  During this time, he attended and graduated from Belzoni High School in 1953 excelling as a catcher on the baseball team and a guard on the basketball team.  After Billy Joe’s graduation, his father developed an idea after seeing a magazine photograph of a diner in Hollywood.  In 1954, at nineteen years old, Billy Joe helped his father build and operate the Dairy Treat, which many teenagers called the Dairy Bar as it became their local hangout while dancing to the music on the juke box.

While sitting atop a floor freezer, he saw the love of his life walk up to place an order for a fountain drink and ice cream.  Billy Joe and Charlene were married on June 13, 1955 in Cheyenne, Wyoming just after he enlisted in the Air Force.  Returning from his service to America, Billy Joe opened his first restaurant, The Varsity, in Cleveland, MS.  Within four years he and Charlene purchased the Dairy Treat in 1964 from his father and mother, eventually changing the name to The Varsity, of which they operated for the most part until May of 2015 when he retired due to a diagnosis of dementia at eighty years old.  During his time at The Varsity he also worked as a rural mail carrier mostly serving his beloved Gooden Lake community for over twenty-five years.

Once when asked how he could work seven days a week for so many years, he simply responded, “I love the people.”

Billy Joe was a member of the First Baptist Church of Belzoni for over fifty years, where he enjoyed doing handy-man projects from time to time and eventually became a Deacon during the latter years of his life.  Billy Joe and Charlene enjoyed almost sixty-five years of marriage together.

He was preceded in death by his father, William Hansford Kilpatrick, his mother, Edna Wooten Kilpatrick, his brother, Earl Kilpatrick, and his sister Bonnie Freund.  He was survived by his five children, Diane LaNell Jones (Freddie) of Hollandale, Danny Joe Kilpatrick of Dallas, Texas, Deborah Alisa Domino (Anthony) of Indianola, Delinda Ray Russell (David) of Trussville, Alabama and Douglas Hansford Kilpatrick (Shawn) of Southaven.  Billy Joe is also survived by twelve grandchildren, being Mandy (Ramey), Kacey, Daniel, Dane, Tony (Sarah Grace), Alex (Parker), Tyler, Brandon (Callie), Brian (Brooke), Brent, Abbie and Austin, as well as eight great-grandchildren, being Madison, Mari Mason, Riley, Reese, Grace, Henry, Rowland and Kacen James along with many extended family members.

Family and friends will celebrate his life with visitation on Monday, February 17, 2020 from 12:30 to 2:00 at First Baptist Church of Belzoni, followed by his funeral services at 2:00.  The burial ceremony will take place at the Belzoni Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.




Lorayne Rodgers Upchurch, 97, went to be with the Lord on Monday, February 3, 2020. Lorayne was born on December 31, 1922 in Josephine, Texas to Longino and Zelma Eubank Rodgers and moved to the Mississippi Delta when she was 2 years old.

When she was in the second grade she memorized John 14: 1-3.  1Let not your hearts be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me.  2 In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also.  She believed that it is important to teach children the Bible at an early age, so they will remember it.  This is the reason why she taught Sunday School for so many years.

Lorayne graduated from Belzoni High School in 1940 and started her cosmetology career which spanned 62 years.  She never met a stranger.  Everywhere she went she would open up her heart and pour God’s love on them.  One of her many awards was her “Angel Among Us” recognition given by the local radio and TV stations. She also loved flowers and especially day lilies.

She wrote a book called “MEMORIES – The Story of My Life,” in which she shared her memories of growing up in the Mississippi Delta.  One of her closing paragraphs reads: “I pray that the circle will be unbroken and we’ll all be together in heaven someday.  I can truly say, I don’t regret a mile I’ve traveled for the Lord and the longer I serve Him the sweeter He grows, the more that I love him, more love he bestows.  Each day is like heaven.  My heart overflows.  My motto is “If I can help somebody as I travel along, then my living will not have been in vain.”

Lorayne is survived by her sister, Marion Durr; son, Elmer Wayne Upchurch (Janie); daughter, Wanda Diane Bagley (Vesper). She is also survived by her four grandchildren, Ken Bagley, Laurie Champion (Todd), Jeff Upchurch (Elizabeth), Wendy Farmer (Jeff); six great grandchildren, Mary Kendal Alias (Taz), Bonnie Champion, Clayton Upchurch, Charlotte Upchurch, Jack Farmer and Atley Farmer; and one great, great granddaughter, Laura Ellis Alias.  In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Elmer Atley Upchurch, and five siblings.

Pallbearers are Carey Champion, Jeff Upchurch, Todd Champion, Jeff Farmer, Mike Sims and Taz Alias.  Honorary Pallbearers are Charlie Morrow, Jimmy Hollingsworth, Dalton Ducrest, Paul Holland, Robert Earl Bagley and Jerry Hyer.

Visitation with family will be from 12:30-2:00 p.m. Friday, February 7 at Hollandale Baptist Church with the funeral services to follow at 2:00 p.m.   Burial will be in Hollandale Cemetery.  Arrangements are under the direction of Boone Funeral Home, Greenville.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to her church, Hollandale Church of God, 412 Treadway Drive, Hollandale, MS  38748, which she dearly loved.



Mary Alice Upchurch, 92, went to her Heavenly Home on Wednesday, January 21, 2020. She passed away quietly, the same way she lived her life, at Humphreys County Nursing Center in Belzoni, Mississippi.

Mary Alice was born on November 16, 1927 in Midnight, Mississippi, to D.M. and Martha A, Hodges Upchurch. She was employed by Twin County Power Company 30 plus years. She was a dedicated employee who loved working with customers and her fellow employees. It was said that she would watch over and care for the employee's children when they got out of school, caring for them as if they were her own. She remembered each one of their names and after they were grown would often asked their parent how they were doing. She was a faithful member of the First Methodist Church in Belzoni. Her love for her Heavenly Father and her church showed through her devotion to both. She also was fond of animals, especially cats. Words cannot express how special Mary Alice Upchurch was to Belzoni and the surrounding community. She will be missed by all.

Mary Alice was preceded in death by her parents, D.M. and Martha Upchurch, sisters, Helen Turk, Betty Jo Sanders, Mildred Worley, brothers, William Upchurch and, Howard Upchurch. She is survived by 3 nieces and several cousins.

Services were held at Mortimer Funeral Home in Belzoni on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. with a private interment following at Belzoni City Cemetery. Reverend Billy Ray Stonestreet officiated.




Frances Pauline Snyder Roland, 56, of Isola, passed away peacefully at home after a hard-fought battle with cancer. She is now completely healed resting in the arms of her Heavenly Father.

Frances was the youngest of 14 children born to W.D. and Flora Mae Donald Snyder. She was born on July 20, 1963 in Isola. She was a lifelong resident of Humphreys County. Frances worked at the Varsity for a period of time. She worked at Reed’s Netting for 19 years. She had a smile on her face most of the time and made friends easily. Her faith in God carried her to the end.

Frances was preceded in death by her parents. W.D. And Flora Mae, sisters, Billie Jean Nelson, Nancy Donald, Bernice Snyder, Annice Chouccoli, Virginia Ann Robinson, and brothers, Danny Snyder and Gary Dale (Butch) Snyder.

Frances leaves to cherish their memories of her, her children, Jonathan Snyder (Stephaine) of Belzoni, Danielle Carter (William) of Senatobia, Andrew Roland of Lawrence, Kansas, and Skylar Snyder of Belzoni and 6 grandchildren. She also leaves behind sisters, Paulette Pickell of Belzoni, Brenda Kenee of Yazoo City, Shelia Taylor of Grenada, brother, Larry Snyder (Pam) of Branson, Missouri, her estranged husband, Jerry Wayne Roland and special friend Curtis Gilmer, as well as a host of nieces and nephews.

Services were held Monday, January 27, 2020 at the First Presbyterian Church in Belzoni, Mississippi at 3:00 p.m. Interment was at the Caile Cemetery in Caile, Mississippi. Reverend Richard Wiman officiated. Pallbearers were Jason Pickell, Glenn Tharp, Heath Pickell, Randy Rainey, Wayne Snyder, and Anthony Snyder.

Mortimer Funeral Home of Belzoni was entrusted with the arrangements.




Helen “Peggy” Tolbert Hammond, 91, formerly of Itta Bena and Greenwood, graduated into the presence of the Lord on January 25, 2019.  Services for Mrs. Hammond will be 12:00 pm on Saturday, February 1, 2020 at Wilson and Knight Funeral Home in Greenwood. Visitation will be from 11:00 am till 12:00 pm at the funeral Home. Interment will follow in Itta Bena Cemetery.

She was born February 12, 1928 to Walter Hickman Tolbert and Helen Rowell Tolbert of Laurel, MS, and was a graduate of Belzoni High School. She was married to Charles Jackson Hammond for 49 years and was a member of First Baptist Church of Itta Bena.  She is preceded in death by her beloved husband, and son, Charles Jackson Hammond, Jr.

 She is survived by her daughter, Jackie Hammond Kuykendall of Collierville, TN; granddaughters, Elisabeth Hogue (Chris), Elaine Boyd (John), and Susan Solomon (Steven); brother, Walter H. Tolbert of Cleveland, MS; sister, Diane Tolbert McKee of Madison, MS; seven great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

Pallbearers will be Chris Hogue, Jackson Hogue, Davis Hogue, Steven Soloman, John Boyd, and Reggie Sims.

The family is very thankful for the kind staff at Spring House Village and Baptist Reynolds Hospice House.  In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to French Camp Academy, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Samaritan’s Purse, or Baptist Reynolds Hospice House in Collierville, TN.

Wilson and Knight Funeral Home is in charge. Online guest book may be signed at




Althea Martin Partridge of Midnight, Mississippi passed away at the age of 97 January 18, 2020. She was a resident of Humphreys County for 89 years.

Graveside services were held at the Belzoni Cemetery in Belzoni, Mississippi January 20,  2020.

Mrs. Partridge is survived by two daughters, Penny Partridge of Edwards, Mississippi and Willie Lou Benson (Larry) of Midnight, Mississippi; a Granddaughter,  Robyn Evans (Dan) of Arlington, Tennessee, Great granddaughter, Ashley Evans,  of Arlington, Tennessee; a niece, Carolyn Switzer, (Dennis) of Starkville, Mississippi, and a nephew, Terry Boesen, (Deb) of Saraland, Alabama, and a host of family and  friends.



Samuel "Sam" Lee Roberts, 85, passed away Sunday, January 5, 2020 at the Long term Care Facility at Bolivar Medical Center in Cleveland, Mississippi. Sam was born on August 14, 1934 near Caile, Mississippi to Eugene Lee and Elma Pearl Jefcoat Roberts. He was the second oldest of 11 children.

Sam graduated from Belzoni Consolidated School in 1952 and received his Associate of Arts from Sunflower Junior College, now known as Mississippi Delta Community College, in May, 1954. After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force as a Survival Training and Personal Equipment Officer and was awarded the Good Conduct Medal. Sam was Honorably Discharged in January, 1961 so that he could run the family farm for his mother, after his father passed away suddenly.

While serving in the Air Force, Sam was stationed in Etain, France, where he played middle linebacker and right guard on the Etain Pioneers football team, and where he met and married "a French woman"... the love of his life, Michelle “Micky” Marie Dumarche'. They married twice in one day; in a French civil ceremony at 11:00 a.m. and in a military wedding at 2:00 p.m. in Etain, France on November 23, 1957. Despite their love for arguing with one another, picking on each other, and driving each other crazy, they were happily married for 62 years.

After returning to Isola, Mississippi in 1961, Sam took over the family farm and continued to farm until his retirement in 2009. During the off-season of farming, he worked for Yokley and Lundy Auction Company of Belzoni, Mississippi as a sales and collections associate. His hobbies included fishing, hunting wild game, spending time at the Pig Stand with the hunting crew, locating former Etain servicemen and Pioneer Football team members, and writing a book, titled "Sam's Stories and Tall Tales" that details many of his adventures in life. Sam loved the Lord, was a true servant of God, and was a devoted, faithful, and lifelong member of Liberty Baptist Church in Isola. Sam loved his family (including church family) and his many friends, and he was always there for them in their time of need. He never met a stranger, was a jokester, and loved to entertain everyone with stories and tall tales of his life.

Sam was preceded in death by his father, Eugene Lee Roberts; mother, Elma Jefcoat Roberts; and brothers, Paul Jackson Roberts, James Eugene Roberts, and Bill Kenneth Roberts. He is survived by his wife, Micky, of Isola, Mississippi; son, Samuel "Bo" Roberts of Corinth, Mississippi; his daughter, Michelle Roberts of Cleveland, Mississippi; five sisters, Bobbye Byrd of Vicksburg, Mississippi, Carolyn (Ray) Kent of Clinton, Mississippi, Bonnie (Donnie) Brown of Laurel, Mississippi, Connie Paxton of Inverness, Mississippi, Mona Wise of Bouge Chitto, Mississippi; two brothers, Walter (Nolene) Roberts of Sidon, Mississippi and Edward (Linda) Roberts of Collins, Mississippi; and, a host of nieces and nephews. Sam had three wonderful grandchildren who adored their "Pops" and were capable of making him smile like none other; Luke Roberts, Anna Roberts, and Landry Roberts.

Visitation was from 10:00 until 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 at Liberty Baptist Church in Isola, Mississippi. Funeral services followed at 11:00 a.m. with Reverends Doug Wilson and Richard Wiman officiating. Interment followed at Belzoni City Cemetery. Pallbearers were, Joey Cunningham, Bubba Hale, Brian Hill, Wayne Hill, and nephews, Chuck Byrd, Randy Kent, Lee Paxton, Ken Roberts, and Tom Wise. Honorary pallbearers were Bay Gammons, Herbert Hill, Pete Hood, and Art Lampkin.

Visitation was from 10:00 until 11:00 am Tuesday, January 7, 2020 at Liberty Baptist Church in Isola, MS.  Funeral services followed at 11:00 a.m. with Reverends Doug Wilson and Richard Wiman officiating.  Interment followed at Belzoni City Cemetery. Pallbearers included: Joey Cunningham, Bubba Hale, Brian Hill, Wayne Hill, and nephews Chuck Byrd, Randy Kent, Lee Paxton, Ken Roberts, and Tom Wise. Honorary Pallbearers included: Bay Gammons, Herbert Hill, Pete Hood, and Art Lampkin.

In lieu of flowers, please consider the needs of the family. Memorial contributions may be mailed to the following:  Sam Roberts Memorial Fund, c/o Liberty Baptist Church, P.O. Box 675, Belzoni, MS 39038.

The family thanks Dr. Steven Clark, and his staff at Cleveland Medical Clinic, for the great care they provided Sam for many years. They also thank the staff of the Long Term Care Facility at Bolivar Medical Center, as well as Sam’s dedicated caregivers, Tina Clayton and Linda Fairs, for their care and support during his last year.

Mortimer Funeral Home of Belzoni, Mississippi was entrusted with the arrangements.