First Peter 4: 10 and 11 talks to the people about how to serve; and it reads: “If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength that God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. Each one should use whatever gift that he/she has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
The book of people’s lives brings about many toils and challenges that causes them to: “Do more than exist, it causes them to live. Do more than touch, it causes people to feel. Do more than look, it causes people to observe what they see. Do more than read, it causes people to absorb what was read. Do more than hear, they listen to the words that are spoken. Do more than listen, they understand what the speaker says. Do more than think, it allows people to ponder it carefully. Do more than talk, people should say and do something that is meaningful and beneficial.” As I have previously stated, there are so many ways that one can help others in this society to contribute to their welfare and their well-being to make history and leave legacies. Today, I will focus on several people who has contributed to our society in various different ways.
Kenneth Irvin Roberson was a son, brother, an uncle, cousin, friend, a leader, a church worker, a businessman and a mortician. On Aug. 28, 1963, God allowed a baby boy to be born to the late Irvin Roberson and the late Lucille Roberson. There was no way that they could have known that this little precious child would be a great inspiration to them and to society. He would definitely make a profound mark that many would see for years to come. Roberson was lovingly intertwined with the following people who touched his life or lives that he touched that will continue to carry out his legacies: his mother, Maude Robinson; his sister, Cora Y. (Allen) Barze; brother, Darrin G. (Angela) Roberson; nephews, Vernon (Dashickal) Fields, Terry (Tiffany) Gordon, Jeremy Young and Christopher Roberson; niece, LaSonga (Kenyon) Edwards; special aunt and uncle, Dolly and Milton Delane; aunt, Malinda Jones; Robert Tyler, the owner of R. E. Tyler Funeral Home, who allowed Kenneth and his staff to use his facility when he had a funeral in this area; Tony Christmas, a loyal friend, a licensed mortician and a part-time co-worker; Dr. Leroy Wadlington; Vickie Vaughn; his cousin, Rev. Eddie Alsworth, many other family and friends; and a special little dog that he loved to play with and spend time with named Precious.
Kenneth was introduced to the religious sector of life and was united with St. Paul Church in Fernwood, and later he was united with Damascus M. B. Church located in the Loyd Star community. His first pastor at Damascus Church was the late Rev. Samuel L. Brown, who inspired Kenneth in many ways. Rev. Brown and his wife, Sister Helen Brown, had interest in the young people as well as the other members of this church, and they took interest in their welfare and established things that would enhance the growth of the church and everyone within it. Kenneth was serious in his serving at Damascus church, and he began to do tremendous works faithfully and diligently in different capacities, including being a leader, being a member of the junior mission and serving as junior deacon. As an adult, Kenneth joined Second Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Dr. Leroy Wadlington and a previous member of Tobby Tubby M. B. Church under the leadership of Rev. Lee Earl Robinson of Oxford. He served devotedly and dutifully as a deacon and as the choir director until his demise. Kenneth believed in hard work and in persistency, so he excelled well in his studies and was a 1981 graduate of South Pike High School. He continued his studies and attended Northwest Community College, the School of Mortuary Science in 1984, Jackson State University and the University of Mississippi. Roberson was the proud owner of his own funeral home, and he offered services to many people around Mississippi including many people in Brookhaven. This funeral home was located in Pontotoc. Kenneth loved and cared for others, and he proved this in his mission to help and serve others to the best of his ability through his funeral home and in life.
Throughout Kenneth’s life, he has left everlasting impressions on others with his many services, including past president, past chairman and treasurer for Mississippi Funeral Directors and Mortician Association. He was active in the National Mississippi Funeral Directors and Mortician Association, and he was the governor’s elect for District IV for the state of Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas.
Today, we salute the many works, the services and the legacies of Kenneth Irvin Roberson, a person who cared about others.
The second focus is Mrs. Bernetta M. Johnson Character, who is married to Mr. Jesse Character Jr. She is the mother of five children, the grandmother of 18 grandchildren and the great-grandmother of 10 great-grandchildren. She is an active member of St. Mark M. B. Church in Brookhaven where she serves as one of the lead singers. She loves to sing and is currently a member of a singing group in Brookhaven. Bernetta has been recognized as being the first to make many accomplishments in and around Brookhaven. She was the first and the only African American to carry Times Picayune Newspaper in Brookhaven. She was also the first African American to work at Handy Mart as a cashier on Brookway Boulevard next to the unemployment office and also on Highway 51 North next to the old National Guard Armory. Character served as the first African American appointed Postmaster of Gallman. She retired from the U. S. Postal Service on Jan. 4, 2004 after 32 years of loyal service. Mrs. Bernetta currently serves as the president (being the first female president to serve) of the Brookhaven/Lincoln County NAACP Branch. She is a person who takes this title seriously and is willing to listen to your problems and to take on the challenges to work out a solution for your case. She also works with the young people to implement new projects to do.
Today, we salute Mrs. Bernetta Johnson Character for her loyal and dutiful works.
Last but not least, we will focus on the athletic side of life and speak of Thomas “Tiger” Strauthers, who was born in Wesson, in 1961 to Elaine Hatchett Rancifer, who is a longtime Brookhaven resident. Strauthers is a 1979 graduate of Brookhaven High School, and he attended Jackson State University in 1979 through 1982 on a football scholarship. This is where he won honors as a three time all SWAC and All American Defensive Tackle at Jackson State University that is referred to in short as JSU. Strauthers became one of the Brookhaven’s first black male athlete to play for the NFL. He played for the Philadelphia Eagles Football Club from 1983 to 1986. He also played for the Detroit Lions Football Club in 1988. He later played for the Minnesota Vikings Football Club from 1989 to 1991. Strauthers also received the keys to the City of Brookhaven as an honor in the 1980s.
Thomas “Tiger” Strauthers is married to the former Jennifer Byrd who is also a Brookhaven native, and she graduated from Brookhaven High School in 1980. She is the daughter of Carolyn Byrd Reed, who currently resides in Brookhaven and is very active in the church and the community. Strauthers and Jennifer have three children, two boys Bryan and Jayden and a daughter named Courtney. They reside in Atlanta, Georgia.
Today, we salute one who has made his mark in the sport of football and has left his legacy in the tracks of time.
It is always sad to lose a loved one in any situation and it is especially sad to lose one to a tragic accident: the communities join together to extend sincere and heartfelt sympathy to the families of 18-year-old Nealey Blair Brown of Bogue Chitto who died in a tragic wreck on Hwy. 583 on March 4. Also, another tragic wreck was reported on Hwy. 550 in Loyd Star that sent Deborah Kimble of Brookhaven to the hospital. This accident later claimed her life and the communities extend heartfelt sympathy to the families. The communities are praying for both of these families and their associates as you go through these trying times in your lives. May God Almighty be with each of you and keep you in his loving care.
If you have someone who has made accomplishment or left legacies to remember; that you would like for me to reflect on, please contact Carolyn Beard Humphries at 601-833-5753.