Educator Buie recalled as stern, caring AHS leader

Published 6:20 pm Friday, May 14, 2010

Friends and past students Friday remembered former AlexanderHigh School Principal Jesse Buie as a man who loved his job, hisstudents and the community in which he lived.

Buie, 83, died Thursday evening at his residence.

Services, which are incomplete, are noon Monday, May 17, at BethelAME Church in Brookhaven, with burial in Hillcrest Cemetery inBrookhaven. R.E. Tyler Funeral Home is in charge ofarrangements.

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The 1947 graduate’s association with Alexander High School could bedescribed as a case of first and last.

He was the first graduate of the school to return and serve as itsprincipal and he was its last principal when it stopped being ahigh school as part of integration in 1970. He continued asAlexander’s leader after it became a junior high school, ultimatelyretiring in 1982.

Former students recalled Buie as a “strong disciplinarian” and a”father figure” to children in the community.

“He was stern, but he loved the school and wanted the best forevery student there,” said evangelist Maxine Dillon, a member ofthe AHS Class of 1968.

Brookhaven Police Chief Pap Henderson, an Alexander graduate in1965, echoed Dillon’s comments. He said Buie was an “outstandingman” but also a “bossy” man.

“As a principal he was very strict, but he was all for the best ofthe students,” Henderson said. “At that time I didn’t understand… now I do. Now as an adult and law enforcement officer, Iunderstood better what he was trying to do.”

In addition to his years in Brookhaven, Buie’s daughter Sylvia saidhe served as deputy superintendent of Clarksdale schools for fiveyears. He later served on the Brookhaven School District Board ofTrustees from 1986-90.

In addition to his strong belief in academic excellence, AssistantBrookhaven Superintendent James Tillman remembered Buie as a strongcommunity leader as well.

“He believed in speaking up for those who were too timid to speakup for themselves,” said Tillman, a member of Alexander Class of1965. “If he thought something was wrong, he’d question it.”

Buie was involved in civic and social clubs including Boys Scouts;Sons of Allen; the Lincoln County Forestry Association; the NAACP,serving as a member and an officer; Retired Teachers Association;AARP, and he was a lifetime member Alpha Phi AlphaFraternity.

“Brookhaven, as a whole, has lost a great statesman,” Tillmansaid.

Tillman, Henderson and Dillon joined Buie as part of the firstclass of inductees into the Alexander Hall of Fame in 2006. Buiewas instrumental in founding the hall as part of an AlexanderLegacy effort to keep the school’s history alive.

Buie is survived by his wife of 60 years Leatrice and six children:Jesse “Al” Buie, Sylvia Buie, Larry Buie, Frederick Buie, WildaBuie Holloway, and Vallerie Buie McArthur-Donald.