John Wesley Youngblood

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Rev. J. Wesley Youngblood, retired United Methodist minister, died on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, at the Highland Home in Ridgeland. He was 92. Born on Sept. 2, 1920 in Jefferson County, he was the fifth of 10 children of W. Frank and Alice Cammack Youngblood. He graduated from Jefferson County High School and farmed with his family until becoming a Hospital Corpsman in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He served as a pharmacist mate and operating room assistant onboard ships in the Pacific Theatre, thus beginning a long career of caring for others. He and five of his brothers were deployed simultaneously during the war, four in the Pacific and two in Europe. All returned home; four of them then entered the ministry in the United Methodist Church.

     Wesley attended Millsaps College in Jackson, where he met Louise Havard from Lucedale. They graduated and were married in 1949 and moved to Georgia where he enrolled in Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta. While a student, he served churches in Macon, Ga. The family moved back to Mississippi in 1952 and served churches in Duck Hill, Carrollton, Grenada, Moorhead, Eupora, Olive Branch and Sardis, as a member of the former North Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church. In 1972, Wesley joined the chaplain’s staff at Methodist Hospitals in Memphis, where he remained until his retirement in 1985. His ministry continued even then; he served as minister of visitation for First UMC in Senatobia and St. Matthew’s UMC in Madison. Those to whom he offered guidance and comfort over the years, including many colleagues in ministry, remember him to this day with gratitude and great fondness.

     Wesley was a much beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother and brother-in-law, and uncle. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Louise, and his son, Bill Youngblood; and six of his siblings and five of their spouses. He is survived by his daughters, Rebecca Youngblood of Jackson, and Judy Youngblood of Byhalia; daughter-in-law, Marla Y. Voyles of Olive Branch; grandsons, John and Brian Rodgers of Byhalia; granddaughter, Casey Y. Tuminello of Brandon; four great-grandsons and two great-granddaughters. He also leaves his brothers and sisters-in-law, Claude and Ollie Mae Youngblood and Ed and Betty Youngblood of Union Church; sister and brother-in-law Edith and Robert Dennard of Macon, Ga.; and several generations of nieces and nephews in great number.

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     His family cherished him for his sense of humor, his loving, teasing manner, his attentive curiosity about each individual, his giftedness as a gardener, his fudge and his depth of faith. His life bore witness to the firm foundation established in Jesus Christ and his Church. Those who love him and the church he served so faithfully now commend him into God’s eternal care.

     A service of Death and Resurrection was at 11 a.m. at the church, with the Rev. Carole Cotton Winn, longtime family friend from Slidell, La. and, and Randy Youngblood, Wesley’s nephew and pastor of the Roxie Charge, officiating, assisted by the Rev. David Carroll, pastor of St. Matthew’s. Burial is at 3 p.m. at the Union Church Cemetery in Jefferson County. Hernando Funeral Home of Hernando is in charge of arrangements.

     Memorials may be given to Lake Stephens United Methodist Camp at Oxford, the Center for Ministry at Millsaps College in Jackson or a United Methodist congregation of choice.