Hugh McGehee

Published 6:56 pm Saturday, September 24, 2016

Funeral services for Hugh McGehee are Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, at 11 a.m. at Laird Funeral Home Chapel with burial to follow at Greenlawn Memorial Park Cemetery. Rev. Robert Armstrong and Rev. Carl Smith will officiate.

Burial will follow at Greenlawn Memorial Park Cemetery under the direction of Laird Funeral Home.

Visitation will be from 2 to 5 p.m. today, Sept. 25, 2016, and from 10 a.m. until the time of service Monday at Laird Funeral Home Chapel. Laird Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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Pallbearers will be Casey McGehee, Wes McGehee, Justin Barnard, D Berry, Melvin Grantham, Morris Williams, Blake Barnard, and Hayden Wadsworth.

Honorary pallbearers will be Glenn Switzer, Bob Cain, Sonny Daniels, Members of Morgantown Mens’ Sunday school class, and the Easthaven Baptist Church Senior Adult Mens Sunday school class.

Mr. McGehee died Friday, Sept. 23, 2016. He was born May 9, 1922, in Little Springs, a son of a sharecropper where he learned early the value of hard work and family. He contributed to his family, which consisted of six boys and three girls, by chopping cotton in the fields, where he said it was so hot he had to first chop down in the dirt in order to find a cool place to stand. Although being in a poor country family with 11 mouths to feed, he believed in the power of education, going to school whenever he could with his brothers and learning to read and write quickly. He has school pictures of himself with his brothers, Bennie and Winfred, all in the same grade even though they were as much as six years apart. He said his daddy only had the money for one set of textbooks, so he and Bennie had to be held back until Winfred could catch up. His formal education ended in the sixth grade when he was old enough to date the teacher. Hugh loved spending time with his brothers and the family has heard for years the stories of their shenanigans growing up, non of which are appropriate for published writing.

As soon as he was old enough for a public job, he went to work chopping bushes on the country road crew for 50 cents a day. Then he got a good factory job at Armstrong Tire and Rubber Company with a huge increase in pay to 30 cents an hour. This good job wouldn’t long though, Uncle Sam came calling and Hugh answered, entering into service for his country by way of the U. S. Army on Dec. 31, 1942. After being trained in California, the first time he ever flew on a plane was to England to begin his service where he was in charge of German prisoners of war. He enjoyed his time in the army, making friends with his fellow soldiers and earning the Good Conduct Medal, but he was ready to get back home to his family. He always said the government was in a hurry to get you over there but they took their time getting you back home. His passage home was on a ship.

After his discharge from the Army, he returned home and married Mary Lou Hall on Sept. 15, 1946. They were married 56 years. They built a life together with their three sons and oh, what an adventure it was. McGehee spent the rest of his life dedicated to his family. Life was all about whatever his boys were playing, tractors he worked on for his farming his farming on the side, horses he had acquired to entertain his boys, too many family pets to name, and his stagecoaches and playhouse he built for them from scratch. He worked hard and he loved his family hard. He had high expectations for his boys and they rose to the occasion. He’d been known to tell them, “I didn’t give up three hours of overtime to watch you strike out. Hit the ball.” They obliged. When Mike, the oldest, announced that he wanted to go to college, his response was “Well that’s good, guess I’ll go get some more overtime in.” Every son after him graduated with college degrees. He believed education was the great equalizer and was instrumental in starting Adams County Christian School, where two of his boys and two of his grandchildren graduated. The McGehee home was one where all were welcome — extended family, cousins, friends — their door was always open and Hugh and Mary Lou poured into anyone all of the wisdom they had accrued throughout their life, always willing to lend a listening ear, a little bit of money, or whatever anybody needed.

If anybody was made to be a grandfather, it was McGehee. He loved spending time with his grandkids. He built them their own model A car to drive around the yard, made sure they had horses to ride and a pond to fish in. Just be sure to never tell him you were bored or you’d find yourself learning to change the oil in your car. He also loved to sit and tell stories of he and his brothers growing up, or how he met “Babe”, and how he had to straighten up to get her to marry him. If you ever asked him how he was doing, his token answer was “bout like a sharecropper, half n half.”

McGehee never met a tractor he couldn’t get running, a pile of old boards he couldn’t pull the nails out of and reuse, or a building he couldn’t add a side shed to. When he retired from his “real” job at Armstrong, he started a second career of building concrete tables, woodworking and tractor work. He began everyday by walking outside, tipping his hat to the sky, and saying to no one in particular except maybe the Lord, “Good Morning, World!” It was this attitude that carried him through life and he enjoyed it to the fullest.

He wrote one time to Bud that he’d lost his heart when Mary Lou died. Well, we lost the other half of hours today. We know they are rejoicing together and he is with his Savior and is heal and whole and knows how much we love him and miss him already.

Survivors include three sons, Mike McGehee and wife, Diane, of Natchez, Ronnie McGehee and wife, Jodie, of Madison, and Bill McGehee and wife, Lisa, of Brookhaven; one sister, Annabell Crapell, of Morgan City, Louisiana; six grandchildren, Tracie Barnard and husband, Justin, Casey “Bud” McGehee and wife, Sunny, all of Brandon, Bethany Berry and husband, David “D” Berry, of Madison, Wes McGehee and wife, Brett Ann,  of Sterrett, Alabama, Julia McGehee, of Lexington, Kentucky and Kerri Brooke McGehee, of Brookhaven; and eight great-grandchildren, Blake Barnard, Cambrie Barnard, Silas McGehee, Slade McGehee, Saylor McGehee, Bella Berry, Baylor Berry, and Collins McGee.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Veterans Outreach, 15 Pritchett Drive, Collins, MS or you your favorite charity.

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