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In Memoriam

To our classmates who have preceded us in death, we remember
and honor you here.

Gary Taylor

Known as a "quiet riot" in high school and as a "mirthful man" later in life, Gary died a month after heart surgery in July of 1996. As graduate of Ole Miss, he served his country as a decorated pilot in Vietnam.

Gary was a realtor and builder for many years in the Madison area. He and his wife, Sylvia, have two children, Lisa and David. Lisa, a graphic artist, is married to Henry Agent. They have two beautiful little boys, Gary Griffin, 4, and Lucas (Luke) Evan, 2. Lisa and her family live in Madison. David is an Ole Miss graduate and works for Realty Mortgage. He and his wife, Lindsey, make their home in Madison also.

Gary's passions were his family, hunting, fishing, and golfing. He loved life and lived it to the fullest.  Anyone who spent much time around him was sure to have a "Gary story." A golf tournament is held every year in his honor supporting different charities.
                                                       —Sylvia P. Taylor

When Gary Taylor died five years ago, the class of 1962 lost one of its most colorful classmates. He was a truly genuine person who loved his family and friends. Over the last 25 years he and I were neighbors, hunting partners and golfing buddies. I miss him every day. Every fall we have the Gary Taylor Memorial Golf Tournament in his memory. If you would like to participate, please contact me at 601-856-8686.

                                                           —Mike Dennis

John Turner


John Hozie Turner, Jr, graduated from Ole Miss, married me (Toni Brooks), had two children and worked as a Real Estate Appraiser (RM). He also had a few side businesses, among which were the Beer Barns. While driving home from the Coast, where he was building a Beer Barn, he fell asleep and died in a fiery car crash on July 15, 1977.

Johnny loved country people and country life, although he never lived in the country. He loved the music of Johnny Cash, which he sang totally off key. He told my mother, “Clara, we have a boy and his name is Sue!”  Hunting and fishing and roughing it were great to him. He bought some cows and land and had a ball bush-hogging. That’s a long way from Murrah and football.

He’s probably enjoying looking down and seeing that his son Tommy is living the country life he wanted so much. You would know Tommy Turner anywhere—he’s the spitting image of his dad. Kelly was two when Johnny died and always wondered about her dad. She would talk to anyone who could tell her what he was like. And as for me, I survived, stumbled a time or two, and am now thriving with sweet memories and a great family, especially my husband Jack.

Remember Johnny for his fun loving ways! I bet he made a few of you laugh. He always loved acting the clown. I almost had Kelly in the hospital elevator, because he wouldn’t let me get off until he finished telling a joke. As a deacon at First Christian Church, he was asked to pull a fund-raising stunt where he came down the aisle in cowboy dress and guns and said, “This is a hold up! I come to hold up before you the fund drive starting today!” Well, as real as he looked and sounded, some people ran for the door before they realized it was a stunt. The minister got in trouble along with Johnny—but he had fun! Wherever he is, I bet he is still making people laugh.

Thank you for letting me share a little of John Turner with you. It makes this reunion special for me.
                                   —Toni Brooks Turner Williams


Steve Westhafer

He was an extremely intelligent and capable person, with a great deal of athletic ability. All of this was exceeded only by his keen wit and sense of humor. He liked to have a good time, was fearless, and spread a great deal of joy and enjoyment.
                                                       —Rees Barksdale

Steve sent information to the 1972 reunion Hoofbeat which reported that he “served three years in the Army, attended Hinds Junior College and Mississippi State.”  He worked as an insurance sales representative. He married Virginia Gray and they had three daughters.

Doug Wills 1944 -1967

Ah, what a treat it would be to swap a few stories with Doug at the 40th Murrah class reunion. He would have offered some good ones and would offer them with appropriate zingers. No holds barred! Of course we would have loved to start sharing with him at the first reunion of the class of ’62. Doug left us a bit early, one-half year or so before the Mustangs that he so valiantly rallied, met for the first gathering of our post high school days.

Doug passed up a couple of college football scholarships to focus on premed studies at Ole Miss.  Those who faced him in vigorous intramural football and basketball games in Oxford probably wished that he had chosen to wear the green of Tulane or the black and gold of Georgia Tech rather than the blue of Phi Delta Theta.  After two years in Rebel-land, he finished his premed work at Millsaps and entered the University of Mississippi Medical School.  He worked hard to become a surgeon and in the spring of his third year was well on his way to accomplishing his dream.  It ended five days into Doug’s twenty-fourth year with us.  Too little time, but oh so well spent!

There are a few among us who will use all of our fruitful years so energetically or compassionately as Doug did his 23-plus! The special twinkle in his eye will surely dance with us in this new millennium.  He cared about things that matter in the energetic soul we shared those sunny years of the 1960s.  Never bashful, never really in doubt. A great friend and a great man.  Way more that this ole world usually is awarded in a lifetime . . . no matter what its length. Thank you, Doug . . .

                                                           —Jimmy Love

Doug and I were really great friends, and I loved him very much. He, Mike Dennis, and I made a trip to Atlanta in 1961 when we were being recruited by Georgia Tech for football.  We had a great time.  The future Mississippi State football coach, Jackie Sherrell, was on that trip with us. He was being recruited as well. Doug, Mike, and I flipped coins to see who would have to "bunk" with Jackie, and Doug lost!  He was so angry that he would have to bunk with Jackie.

I also remember a great duck hunting trip that Doug and I went on with Coach Charlie Rugg and Coach Johnny McDaniel. It was about 38°, and Doug and I were wading in hip-deep water. All of a sudden, Doug disappeared completely!  He had stepped off an underwater ledge and had gone down about 12 feet.  He came up gasping for air, and I could not stop laughing.  We had to go back to the car so he could get off his wet clothes, and I let him have my hunting coat to keep warm.  What a crazy day.
                                                         —Kermit Davis


Jeff Wilson

“When people ask me about Africa, I’m always tempted to say that we lived in the jungle and shot lions—I think they expect it,” said Jeff Wilson in the September 15, 1961, Hoofbeat. He and his family had just returned from three years in Tripoli, Libya. “Living only two blocks from the Mediterranean, Jeff often skin-dived and spear-fished,” the story, written by Suzy Moss, said.

In seventh grade, I had a crazy, mad crush on him from afar. He was new, and the first time I saw him was at a back-to-school party at the Riverside Park Clubhouse. He had on black pants and a pink button-down-collar dress shirt. Remember pink and black? I was smitten.

I may have met “the returned-from-Libya” Jeff sooner than many people in the class—my father and Jeff’s worked for Gulf Oil. My main memory was that I hoped he thought I was the cutest girl at Murrah—unfortunately, he didn’t! Dad remembers that he was on the record-breaking mile relay team composed of Mike Dennis, Jeff, Ben Brummett, and Floyd Emerson. According to the Hoofbeat (June 6, 1962; byline: Richard Ford), they  “knocked 1.7 seconds off the old mark, scoring a cool 3:25.1.” 

Jeff went to Tulane University and was studying premed. He joined SAE fraternity and played intramural sports. His senior year Jeff and his fiancée were killed in a car accident. I know he would’ve been a caring doctor and a fine man, but mostly I know he would still be handsome.
                                             —Kay Howard Burghard

A very good athlete (track). An exceptionally nice, easy going guy. He was also quite handsome and drew a lot of looks from the female crowd.
                                                         —Frank Thames

I most recall Jeff's track abilities, although his distinct British accent immediately told you that he wasn't from a long line of southern plantation owners. . . . His long, powerful strides on the backstretch of the 880-run never ceased to send chills up my neck. In relays, he could absolutely eat up almost any lead someone had on him. Man, the guy could run!
                                                         —Alan Johnston


Fae Carole Wroten McKeigney

Fae Carole was a real lady and a class act. Capitalize the Class. Had a real sweet heart—very kind disposition. She had what I thought of as a regal beauty. Beautiful hair and eyes. Fun to be with and never heard her say a bad word about anyone or anything. Really nice mother. She had a real trauma in high school when she backed out of their driveway and a policeman on a motorcycle driving on the wrong side of the road hit her station wagon and he was killed.
                                                         —David Pickett

Fae Carole Wroten—very, very sweet and beautiful with a gentle, kind manner.

The 1962 Résumé listed her as a member of the Murrah Singers (she held the office of Scribe), Girls’ Ensemble, and the Thespian Society.  She was a Beauty (EDITOR’S NOTE: As if anyone could forget that!).

The 1961 Résumé describer her with “calmness and composure. . . beaux cheveaux blondes. . . beautiful.”


Wilmuth York

I always liked Wilmuth. 

Wilmuth’s cousin Richard Elarton of Pearl, MS, said that Wilmuth died of cancer about two years ago. She was a “career housewife” in Osyka, MS and mother of four children. The '61 Résumé noted her “[b]reezy babble... freshness of imagination. . . independent air.”

Wilmuth was a member of the Theater Guild in her junior and senior years.

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