In Celebration of MHS Class of 1958

In Celebration of MHS Class of 1958

A Tribute and Celebration

We were the class of 1958, members of the Greatest Generation as well as children of the Greatest Generation. Born in 1940, we are also called members of the Traditional Generation.

Our childhood, post World War II, "was the best of times . . . it was the age of wisdom . . . it was the epoch of belief . . .it was the season of Light . . . it was the spring of hope . . . we had everything before us . . .we were all going direct to Heaven . . . ." (A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens.) At least, that's the way I felt about it. We were truly blessed.

- Ouida Tomlinson -

This blog is a place for 1958 graduates of Meridian, Mississippi, High School to stay in touch, post their news, items of interest and photographs.

CLASS OF 1958 MEMORIES (Click to read all posts relating to sports, honors, graduation and other memories of our class in 1957-58.)




Thursday, March 12, 2015


Homily of The Reverend David Elliott
March 11, 2011

As a priest, it is a privilege to be with people and families in their best and worst times—their times of joy and their times of sorrow—their times of birth and times of death.  It is an honor and privilege that many people do not get—to watch and be with people as they share the love they have as a family.

Joyce and Judy and Gay and I grew up in Meridian—doing things kids do in high school.  I can still see her in her majorette outfit, marching, strutting away with that wonderful smile on her face—throwing that baton up in the air!!!   I’m going to mention some things that only Meridian High friends may be able to remember:  Dusty lead outs…Walk-A-Way…Rebel Gully…Dunn’s Falls…slumber parties that boys knew about…lemon tops…Rufus…teenage canteen.

Girls who have become lifelong friends—friendships that have lasted to this very day—friendships that don’t need Facebook or Twitter—just high school friendships that never die---those who kept up with her and loved her these last few months.

As I sat and talked with Joyce and Jerry and Judy and Robert and Paul and Melissa, I found and felt a love that binds and holds families together.

Judy was able to stay here almost all the time and I saw a sisters’ love for each other—a closeness that is only known in families that share love and life together—that have been through the ups and downs of life and still can share—and laugh—and love.

They had some time to laugh together and cry together—a time many of us do not get—a time to cherish for a lifetime.

Paul and Melissa and Joyce shared times and a love that is only known between a mother and her children—a bond that is never broken.

And Joyce and Jerry’s relationship was the way God intended marriage to be—the commitment and love that Jerry had for her… it was utter and complete love and devotion—a love and devotion that spans eternity…I know he said when they first met—kind of a blind date at Nick’s, she was shy and nervous—not typical for Joyce, but typical for a girl in love—in love all over again.

He said when they were trying to get her to eat and get some strength back, he went and got her some chicken strips.  They sat there in that hospital room—not really saying any words—but sharing that time together like it was a picnic.  Theirs was a love that was special.

I have many people tell me—“David, I know I shouldn’t cry… I know they’re better off and I feel so guilty about crying.”   I say this morning—it’s good to cry—it’s okay to cry.  Something precious is gone and is going to be missed.  There’s a hole now that will never ever be filled in quite the same way—so cry and let God wipe your tears dry.

Those of us who knew and have known Joyce for these many years know she could be a little spunky and feisty—and had a smile that would enfold you, but had a little devilment in it also—especially when those eyebrows would go up.

When she got in rehab, she took a look at herself in the mirror and said, “I’ve got to fix my hair.” Judy helped her fix it and they took some selfies together—selfies that will be treasured for years to come.

That’s the kind of person she was… that was the Joyce we all loved and called a friend.

Her faith—her undying faith in God got her through these last two months.  She never really questioned why something like this had happened to her.  She fought with all her might to get better.  It was her faith and her determination that made her struggle with that therapy - hurting, but always trying to do the best she could.

It was a faith embodied in Psalm 121:  “My help comes from the Lord—the Maker of heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot be moved. . . . He who watches over Israel shall neither slumber or sleep.”  Hers was a faith in a God who loved her—who walked with her her whole life and stood with her and loved her and suffered with her as she lay there many times in silence.

I know when we had last rites together, there was peace in her eyes - a stillness and calm in her soul that filled the room - even when she couldn’t talk, you knew she knew you were there.

And listen to what St. Paul says in Corinthians that God will give us a new body - what I would call a heavenly body given by God - a recognizable body.  I may doubt.  I may search and question many things in my faith, but life after death is not one of them - a life with those we have known before.  I firmly believe I will know my father, my mother and my brother.

Nancy Roach asked me one time as she lay dying on her bed, “David, what’s heaven going to be like?”  And I said, “Nancy, I can’t say for sure, but I believe it will be the most wonderful surprise you have ever known.”  Joyce is now basking in that magnificent love of God.

And listen to the hymn we sang right before the Gospel.  “We read Thy power to bless and save, / E’en in the darkness of the grave;  / Still more in resurrection light, /  We read the fullness of thy might.”  This is a faith that says and believes.   Joyce is now in that dwelling place with God—that God’s heart was the first to break when she died—and she is now healed.  She is now at peace.

Let us pray.

Eternal God, beyond our understanding and desire to cherish every life, we bless you for the gift of life so abundantly present in your child Joyce.

We thank you for a life’s task so faithfully and honorably discharged—for good humor and gracious affection and kindly generosity.

Grant O Lord that your gifts in Joyce may be cherished from one generation to generation—her loyalty and love for her family—her friends—her heritage—and her church.

In your child Joyce—the laughter of the heavens became present in a gentle wit—the love that spans eternity revealed in a single smile.

Receiver her now into the joyous mansions of eternity where with countless angels and all your saints, she may sing your praise forever more….and grant to us who are still in our pilgrimage, the assurance of her peace and the wonderful memory of her love.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Class of 1958 Gathering

Class of 1958 Gathering
Saturday, April 25, 2015
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
MULLIGANS at Briarwood Country Club

Light Appetizers with Non-Alcoholic Beverages - $10 per guest
Cash Bar

Social Event * Picture Opportunities * Class Reflections

Individual classes will gather separately to socialize with their classmates.

The individual class events will not interfere with the Saturday Breakfast or the Saturday Banquet, planned gatherings that will be attended jointly by all classes.

RSVP: Jinny or Beth

Pay at door

Monday, March 9, 2015

Joyce Bailey Hinton Rider

Joyce Rider (1940 - 2015)

Joyce Bailey Hinton Rider, 75, of Madison, MS passed away on March 7. She was born on February 22, 1940, in Meridian, MS, the first child of Shirlie (Fortenberry) Bailey and Robert Preston Bailey, Jr. who predeceased her. She is survived by her sister, Judy Bailey Killebrew (Joe) of Orange Beach, AL and her brother Robert Walter Bailey (Missy) of Meridian, her niece Courtney Smith and nephews Bailey Koch and Bo Bailey.

Joyce married Willis Terry Hinton in 1962 and they had a son, Robert Paul Hinton and a daughter, Melissa Joyce Hinton. Melissa married John Miles Benton, III and their son Mason was Joyce's great joy. Her children and grandchild all reside in Birmingham.

Terry Hinton died in 2004.

In 2008, Joyce married Jerry D. Rider of North Little Rock, AR and easily became an important and loved member of the Rider family. Jerry's son, Todd Harrison Rider, his wife Lori, son Benjamin and daughter Sarah reside in Littleton, MA.

Joyce's great loves were her many dear friends, her family, her flowers, her sports teams, her devoted Lab Maggie and above all, her loving God.

Joyce was a longtime member of St James Episcopal Church and enjoyed the loving fellowship made available there for her family. Her visitation will be at St James on Wednesday morning, March 11 at 10:00 am, with the funeral service following at 11:00 am.

Memorials may be made to St James Episcopal Church or Hospice Ministries of Ridgeland.


O God our Father, Creator of all the living,
we entrust to Your gentle care
all those we love who have gone before us;
and have gone to their rest in the hope of rising again. . . .

Eternal rest, grant unto our friend, Joyce Bailey Hinton Rider,
and let perpetual light shine upon her.
May the souls of the faithful departed
through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Nancy Walker Ellis

Many may remember Nancy Walker Ellis as your gym teacher at Kate Griffin.  She passed away on February 7th.  The following is her obituary from Robert Barham Family Funeral Home:

Services for Nancy Walker Ellis will be held Tuesday, February 10, 2015, at 11:30 a.m. in the chapel of Robert Barham Family Funeral Home, with Reverend Wayne Smith officiating. Burial will be in Magnolia Cemetery, with Robert Barham Family Funeral Home in charge of the arrangements.

Mrs. Ellis, age 88, of Collinsville, passed away Saturday, February 7, 2015, at her home.  Mrs. Ellis taught school for 32 years in the Meridian Public School System. She was a longtime member of 15th Avenue Baptist Church. Nancy will be remembered as a loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend.

Survivors include her daughters, Nancy Dallas and her husband, Ronnie, and Hattye Drew and her husband, Bill; grandchildren, Jason Watson and his wife, Katie, Dee Dallas, Anna Theriault and her husband, Chad, and Allison Dallas; great-granddaughter, Maggie Watson; nieces, Martha Ann Harris and her husband, Richard, Debbie Baker and her husband, Frank; nephew, Grey Cobb and his wife, Becky.

She was preceded in death by her husband, W.D. Ellis; parents, Harris and Augusta Walker; and brother, Harris A. Walker.

The family requests memorials be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital and 15th Avenue Baptist Church Building Fund.

Pallbearers will be Grey Cobb, Richard Harris, Tommy Hitt, Ralph Severance, Mark McPhail, Jimmy Boatner, and Donald Belvin. Honorary pallbearers will be Bill Jones, Charles Alderman, Billy Harold Smith, Frank Baker, Phillip Price, Rusty Williams and Wade Shirley.

Family and friends may sign the guestbook at

Visitation will be held Monday, February 9, from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. at the funeral home and one hour prior to the service on Tuesday.

O God our Father, Creator of all the living,
we entrust to Your gentle care
all those we love who have gone before us;
and have gone to their rest in the hope of rising again. . . .

Eternal rest, grant unto Nancy Walker Ellis,
and let perpetual light shine upon her.
May the souls of the faithful departed
through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

In Loving Memory of Our Friend George Shannon

Balloonist’s Irish Blessing
May the winds welcome you with softness
May the sun bless you with it’s warm rays
May you fly so high and so well
That God will join you in laughter
And set you gently back again
Into the loving arms of Mother Earth.

Dr. George W. Shannon, III

August 16, 1940 - February 27, 2015

Please join the family in celebrating the life of Dr. George W. Shannon, III on Wednesday evening from 5-8 pm at Webb Funeral Home.

Dr. George W. Shannon, III, of Meridian, died Friday, February 27, 2015 at his residence. Fuzzy Shannon was a graduate of Meridian High School, Mississippi State University, as well as Auburn University where he received his DVM. Buddy Shannon opened his Veterinary Practice in Meridian in the late 1960's where he practiced until he retired. He was avid in Boy Scouts of America. He became a hot air balloon pilot in 1979 floating thru the skies of Meridian as well as nationwide. He was a beloved Harley Davidson rider often see around town with his beloved companion, Boss.

Buddy was preceded in death by his father, George Shannon II; his mother, Lattie Mae Shannon; his first wife, Mary Culpepper Shannon; a daughter in law, Tammy Shannon; and a granddaughter, Hagen Shannon.

He is survived by his current wife, Mary K. Shannon; his siblings, Jimmy Shannon, Gloria Casey, and Missi Steinreide; his children, Kip Shannon, Scott Shannon, Kerry Shannon Fohner, and Nicole Shannon; four grandchildren, Sara Shannon, Steeler Shannon, Will Fohner, and Shannon Fohner; and is brother and sister in laws, John and Gail Culpepper, Lindy and Liz Ray, and David and BJ Ray.
O God our Father, Creator of all the living, 
we entrust to Your gentle care
all those we love who have gone before us;
and have gone to their rest in the hope of rising again. . . .

Eternal rest, grant unto George Shannon,
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May the souls of the faithful departed
through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

Sunday, March 1, 2015



The class of 1958 has been invited to join the classes of 55, 56 and 57 for a big class reunion.
Come on down and see all your friends from the other classes.
April 24th and 25th, Meridian
If you have any questions, contact Jinny, Beth or Ouida, with first 2 being your best bet.
Reunion information, including hotel, schedule, and registration are below.
See you there.  No excuses.

Highland Elementary School, Fall 1946, Meridian, MS

First grade (bottom row, left to right)  Buddy Shannon, un ID’d girl, James Tice, two un ID’d girls, Joyce Bailey (in long coat) and un ID’d girl on the right end.

Second grade (up one row) Un ID’d girl, John Thompson, Sterling Ainsworth, Raleigh Wilson, Bob Chatham, and Leda Moon.

Source:  Bob Chatham