Forever Maroon

Charles James Bell Jr. (B.S., M.S. mechanical engineering ’49; retired faculty) 95, Madison — A native of Greenwood, he took time out of his Mississippi State education to join the Army Air Corp in 1945 as a navigator. He later joined the Army National Guard and earned a doctoral degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was a longtime member of the MSU engineering faculty and periodically did engineering research and consulting at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida on the early stages of what is now known as MOAB, “the mother of all bombs.” — Aug. 28, 2020

James Patterson Bryant (B.S. business, ’58) 85, Houston, Texas — Raised in Grenada, he served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He worked in retail in Louisiana before settling in Houston where he opened Mr. B, a men’s store in Bellaire, Texas. After closing the store, he sold real estate until his retirement. He was active in the Bellaire/Southwest Rotary for more than 30 years and was named Mr. Bellaire. — Feb. 11, 2020

Edwinna Currie Edwards (B.S. business administration, ’43) 96, Indianola — Born in Burns, she was a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority at Mississippi State. She later moved to the Delta and began teaching first grade. She taught at Linn Elementary, Lockard Elementary and Indianola Academy, where she served as principal for 21 years and established the first secondary-school computer lab in the state. After leaving the academy, she joined IBM as an educational consultant before teaching at Mississippi Delta Community College for 19 years. Through its Capps Technology Center, she taught employee training, employee certification and management techniques for businesses and industries throughout the region. She then taught computer skills to senior citizens through the Sunflower County Library System before retiring at 91. During her career in education, she served as president of the Mississippi Private School Education Association, president of the Mississippi Delta Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, president of the MPSEA Elementary Principals and president of the Alpha Epsilon Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, which named her Woman of Distinction in 1989. She was a charter member and board member of the Mississippi Educational Computing Association and a certified accreditor for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. She served as president of the Indianola Twentieth Century Club, the Indianola Pilot Club, the Indianola Teen Club advisory board and the American Lung Association of Mississippi. She was also a 4-H sponsor and Girl Scout leader. — July 20, 2020

Dr. John Pascal Elliott Jr. (B.S. pre-medicine, ’55) 86, Tupelo — He served as president of SAE fraternity at Mississippi State. He earned his medical degree from Tulane University in 1958, interning at Touro Infirmary in New Orleans where he was Intern of the Year and chief resident as he completed his training in urology. A member of the U.S. Army National Guard, he established the first urology practice in Northeast Mississippi, which ultimately grew to include six physicians. He retired after 39 years and began making medical mission trips around the world. An athlete at heart, he completed the Boston Marathon and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. He was a member of the American and Mississippi Medical Associations, serving as president of the urology division and as a diplomat to the American Board of Urologists. He served on the executive board of the North Mississippi Medical Center and its foundation. He helped pioneer the Good Samaritan Clinic, served on the Salvation Army and Sanctuary Hospice boards where he and his wife were among the founders. With Mississippi State, he served on the MSU Foundation and College of Arts and Sciences boards and was named the College of Arts and Sciences Alumnus of the Year in 1996. — June 24, 2020

Lloyd Lee “Coach” Johnson (B.S education, ’57) 85, Sugar Land, Texas — A retired teacher and coach, he spent 39 years with the Houston Independent School District. — July 8, 2020

Emory Gene Morrison (B.S. animal science, ’49; retired staff) 92, Jackson — He attended Hinds Community College before being drafted into the U.S. Army. He was honorably discharged after serving 15 months. Following his graduation from MSU, he earned a master’s from the University of Tennessee. In 1952, he began a 40-year career with Mississippi State’s Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. In 1956, he was appointed superintendent of the Brown Loam Branch Experiment Station near Learned where he remained until his retirement in 1992. Following his retirement, he served three years as head of the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center headquartered in Raymond. His work in beef cattle production and grazing research was well-respected by cattlemen across the southeast. He was inducted into the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association Hall of Fame and was recognized by Mississippi State in 2015 with the research station he served for so many years renamed in his honor. — July 2, 2020


Joseph N. Kisner (B.A. social studies education, ’63) 79, Clearwater, Florida — A native of Indianola, he was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. He retired as an elementary school principal with 31 years of experience serving the students of Kentucky and Arkansas. — May 11, 2020

Jimmie Lee Oglesby (B.S. electrical engineering, ’49) 93, Jackson — Following service in WWII with the Army Air Corps, he enrolled at Mississippi State and joined Kappa Sigma fraternity. He spent 30 years with Graybar Electric Co., and upon his retirement, he returned to Mississippi where he established three companies serving the telephone and cable industry. He also designed and patented several cable-related devices. He was a member of Elk, Rotary, Fraternal Order of Masons, Shriners, Jesters, Patrick Henry Memorial and the Order of First Families of Mississippi. — June 22, 2020

Harvey B. Ray (B.S. management, ’54) 87, Meridian — A member of Pi Kappa Alpha, he served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force. Following his military service, he enrolled in law school, later beginning his practice in Cleveland. He then moved to Meridian, practicing with Dan Self before teaming with Judge George Warner to start Warner & Ray Attorneys at Law, which later became Warner, Ray & Cobb. He served as president of the Meridian Jaycees and was selected Jaycee Man of the Year. He was also a member of the Bulldog Club and one of the key developers in Poplar Spring Estates and Briarwood Country Estates subdivisions. — June 24, 2020

Roy Delbert Ross (retired faculty) 91, Ozark, Missouri — After serving in the U.S. Army, he earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri, a master’s degree from the University of Georgia and a doctoral degree from Syracuse University. He then became an associate professor of forestry at Mississippi State University, which he served for 36 years. — July 27, 2020

Laurel Presnell “Lolly” Upshaw (M.S. geology, ’54) 91, Tulsa — Born in the Panama Canal Zone, she grew up in Iowa attending Cornell College before enrolling at Mississippi State. She worked as a petroleum geologist in Oklahoma. She was a member of the Garden Club and the Tulsa Audubon Society, serving for many years as historian. She occasionally prepared geological reports in support of local environmental defense initiatives or to address community concerns. She also supported early efforts to establish the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. — June 30, 2020