Obituaries for Thursday, March 14, 2002

By Staff
MAJOR LEO H. HOWARD SR.
Retired U.S. military, Murphy Oil Co.
Graveside services for Major Leo H. Howard Sr. will be held Friday at 10 a.m. at Magnolia Cemetery with the Revs. Charles Miles and Terry Plummer officiating. James F. Webb Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Mr. Howard, 65, of Meridian, died Tuesday, March 12, 2002, at Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center. He was especially proud of his military career, having served 401/2 years.
Survivors include his wife, Bettie Howard, sons, Leo Howard Jr., Robert Howard and his wife, Becky, Stephen Howard and his wife, Melanie, daughters, Sharon Eakes and her husband, Ivy, Karen McPherson and her husband, Gary, and Marilyn Barnett, all of Meridian; brothers, Mike Howard, John Howard and Guy Howard; 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Mary Majors.
Visitation will be today 5 p.m.-8 p.m. at the funeral home.
RUBEN BRANCH
GMC employee
Services for Ruben Branch will be held Saturday at 3 p.m. at Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church with the Rev. Greg Williams officiating. Burial will be in Sunset Cemetery with Berry and Gardner Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.
Mr. Branch, 35, of Atlanta, died Saturday, March 9, 2002, in Atlanta.
Survivors include his wife, Lesia Williams Branch and two daughters, Jeasha Branch and Kiara Branch, all of Duluth, Ga.; his mother, Aleta Glover and a sister, Arlene Glover, both of Roxoboro, N.C.
SAM EMERSON
Emerson, Williams &Steverson CPA's
Services for Sam Emerson were to be held today at 10:30 a.m. at Central United Methodist Church with the Revs. Jimmy Harrison, Vickie Landrum, Tommy Gilbert and Rex Alman officiating. Burial was to be in Magnolia Cemetery with Stephens Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.
Mr. Emerson, 80, of Meridian, died Tuesday, March 12, 2002, at The Speciality Hospital of Meridian. He was a member of Central United Methodist Church, where he had served on the Administrative Board, and the Williams Sunday School Class. He was past president of the Meridian Rotary Club, a Paul Harris Fellow, Hamasa Temple Shrine and the Jesters.
Survivors include his wife, Frances Emerson of Meridian; a son, Sam Young Emerson and his wife, Sayuri, of Los Angeles; a daughter, Leslie Emerson of Lake; grandchildren, Derek Emerson of Jackson, Sho Emerson and Sakura Emerson of Los Angeles and Bryan Mamaliga of Arlington, Texas; great-grandchildren, Olivia Emerson of Jackson and Brianna Mamaliga of Arlington; and a brother-in-law, Roy Price of Meridian.
He was preceded in death by his parents, James and Julia Emerson; and a brother, James Y. Emerson Jr.
Pallbearers will be Scott Bailey Jr., Kerry Crudup, Richard James, Emmett Mitchum, Alfred Rosenbaum and Sonny Fisher.
Honorary pallbearers will be Edwin Downer, Fred Hulett, David Williams, Dr. Fred Duggan, Dr. Thomas Greer, Joe Sanders, Billy Fort and The Jesters.
JOHN EDWARD SPEED
Southern Natural Gas employee
QUITMAN Services for John Edward Speed will be held today at 3 p.m. at Wright's Funeral Home Chapel with the Revs. David Hampton and Arliss Nichols officiating. Burial will be in Pine Hill Cemetery in Enterprise.
Mr. Speed, 79, of Enterprise, died Tuesday, March 12, 2002, at Rush Foundation Hospital. he was a veteran of World War II, serving in the U.S. Army.
Survivors include his wife, Ruth Speed, sons, Johnnie Speed and his wife, Charlene, and Joe Hardy Speed and his wife, Penni, all of Enterprise; daughters, Diane Fleming and her husband, Larry, of Quitman and Denise Peebles and her husband, Clint, of Enterprise; brothers, Chester Thomas Speed of Englewood, Fla., and George Earl Speed of Enterprise; sisters, Opal Naomi Horton of Arlington, Texas, and Beulah Mae Smith of Poplar Bluff, Mo.; 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Pallbearers will be Jonathan Downs, Justin Creighton, Justin Howell, Teddy Peebles, Philip Speed and Glen Smith.
MALCOLM BROOX SLEDGE
Retired assistant postmaster, freelance writer
MACON Services for Malcolm Broox Sledge will be held Friday at 11 a.m. at Macon Presbyterian Church with the Revs. Jeff Lowman and Phillip Palmertree officiating. Burial will be in Oddfellows Cemetery with Cockrell Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.
Mr. Sledge, 83, of Macon, died Wednesday, March 13, 2002, in his home. He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy, serving in World War II in the Pacific War Zone.
Survivors include his wife, Hazel May Sledge and a daughter, Julia "Judy" Sledge Gaither, both of Macon; three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a brother, Lamar Sledge; and a sister, Marie Sledge.
The family requests memorials be made to Mitchell Memorial Library at MSU.
WILLIAM CLEO BOUTWELL
KOSCIUSKO Services for William Cleo Boutwell will be held Friday at 11 a.m. at Kosciusko First United Methodist Church. Graveside services will be held at Enterprise Cemetery in Clarke County at 3 :30 p.m. The Rev. Lou Knighton of Natchez will officiate. Jordan Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Mr. Boutwell was born April 28, 1913, in the Rose Hill Community of Jasper County. He died Wednesday, March 13, 2002, at Montfort Jones Memorial Hospital in Kosciusko.
He was a graduate of Enterprise High School and on Oct. 16, 1935, married Lula Mae Ivey of Stonewall. This October would have been their 67th wedding anniversary.
Mr. Boutwell was employed at Erwin Cotton Mills in Stonewall and later became cost accountant for Avondale Textile Mill in Pell City, Ala. After the birth of their first child, Kaye, and moving back to Mississippi, he and Lula Mae opened the first of their movie theaters, the Kaye Theater and later the Grand Theater, both in Stonewall, and the Ritz Theater in Enterprise.
In 1956, Cleo and his family moved to Kosciusko, where he became affiliated with the Max Connett Theaters and later the John Polk Theaters. In Kosciusko, he served as manager of the Strand Theater from 1956 until his retirement in the late 1980s.
Mr. Boutwell not only served as the manager of the Strand Theater, but also became the confidant and counselor of many young people. He was affectionately known as "Mr. B" by the young people who knew him, and many credit him with wise advice that positively affected the course of their lives. His office door was always open to those who needed him.
Mr. Boutwell was a lifelong Methodist and active in Enterprise Methodist Church and later, until his failing health, at Kosciusko First United Methodist Church. At various times, he had served on the church's administrative board, trustees and finance committees. He was a member of the Men's Bible Class.
In addition, Mr. Boutwell was active in civic organizations. He served as a member of the Enterprise School Board of Trustees and for many years was an active member of the Kosciusko Lions Club and Kosciusko Exchange Club. He was also a mason.
Mr. Boutwell had a deep love of music, especially jazz, that he loved to share with friends and family. His children recall gathering around the piano while his oldest daughter, Kaye, played and the children sang. That love of music is still a part of his children's lives today. In the Boutwell home, the children were lulled to sleep with the radio sounds of WGN Chicago or WWL New Orleans; they literally "cut their teeth" on jazz and big band music.

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