VFW wants to honor two WWII POWs in Wesson

Published 7:00 pm Monday, April 26, 2021

A group of local veterans wants to honor the memory of two World War II prisoners of war.

Major Gen. Luther R. Stevens and his wife, Lula Turnbow Stevens, are buried in Wesson Cemetery.

The Brookhaven VFW Cpt. Danny D. Entrican Post 2618 wants to honor their memory, said Post Commander Greg Marlow, and is searching for any of their family members who are still living. A POW plaque will be laid graveside, donated by the VFW.

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Family members can contact Marlow at greg@rbwall.com or gregorymarlow@yahoo.com.

The Stevenses died on Feb. 7, 1973, in a wreck in Saint Petersburg, Florida.

A Jackson newspaper reported the news.

“Relatives and friends in the Brookhaven and Wesson area learned over the weekend of the deaths of Major General Luther Rea Stevens, U.S. Army (Ret.) and his wife in a traffic accident in St. Petersburg, Fla. On Feb. 7 … General Stevens, born July 3, 1889, was the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. J.J. Stevens of Wesson, and his wife, the former Lula Turnbow, was the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. George W. Turnbow of Brookhaven. Mrs. Stevens was born July 10, 1895.”

Stevens served in the Philippines for 21 years prior to World War II, then returned home to enroll his three sos in Copiah-Lincoln Jr. College in Wesson.

Gen. Stevens returned to the Philippines with his wife and daughter, and all three were taken prisoner soon after the attacks at Pearl Harbor.

“Subsequently Gen. Stevens was on the Corregidor Death March as was another Brookhavenite, the late Rear. Admiral L. Bennett Sartin. Later, Gen. Stevens was an aide to Gen. Douglas McArthur,” the article continues.

“Freed at last, Gen. and Mrs. Stevens and their daughter returned to the States and lived in Brookhaven for a time, and it was here that Betty was married to Elbert Ross Lindsay on June 26, 1946. Mr. Lindsay had also been a prisoner of war along with the Stevens in the Philippines. Later, the Stevens made their home in West Palm Beach, Fla.”

“In addition to their daughter, Gen. and Mrs. Stevens are survived (by) three sons, Luther Rea Stevens, Kentucky, James Johnson Stevens, Colorado (and) Charles Frank Stevens, Mobile and Saudi Arabia.”

The article also listed as survivors a sister to Gen. Stevens, Fannie S. Boyd of Palo Alto, California; and three nieces, Mrs. Hobart Jarvis of Vicksburg, Mrs. James Spring of Memphis and Mrs. D.T. Worley of California. Listed as survivors of Lula Stevens were two sisters, Ethel Robin of Port Barre, Louisiana, and Lucille Painter of Baton Rouge, both now deceased; a brother, Guy Turnbow Sr. of Memphis; and “numerous nieces and nephews in Mississippi and elsewhere.”