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Obituaries for Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2003

By Staff
Former Meridian High School
vocal music programs director
HATTIESBURG Memorial services for Bill W. Porter will be held Wednesday at 10 a.m. at University Baptist Church. Graveside services will be conducted at 3 p.m. at Meridian Memorial Gardens. Moore Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Mr. Porter, 84, died Monday, Sept. 14, 2003. He was born in Jamestown, N.Y., to the late Harvey and Uphee Porter.
During World War II, he served in the Army Air Corps. He received a bachelor's degree in voice from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and a master's of music education degree from the University of Southern Mississippi.
He served more than 40 years as head of the vocal music programs at Meridian High School as well as serving as choir director for numerous churches in the Meridian area. He also served as musical director of the Meridian Little Theater for 23 years.
Bill moved to Hattiesburg in 1990, where he became active in University Baptist Church, the Oratorio Chorus at the University of Southern Mississippi, the Meistersingers, the Senior Questers Club and the Hattiesburg Civic Light Opera.
In retirement, he continued his interest in model railroading and musical composition. Bill became an avid amateur watercolorist as a result of his involvement with the Institute for Learning in Retirement.
Survivors include his wife, Jeannine Laughlin-Porter; a sister, Shelley Weissman; three brothers, Norman, Donald and Bob Porter; his children, Paul and Sherry Laughlin, Carl and Gina Laughlin, and Danny and Kay Behm; and four grandchildren, Emily, Elliott and his wife, Larissa, and David and Laura Laughlin.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Trulie; a brother, James; and a daughter, Charjean Graves.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to either the music ministry or the building fund of University Baptist Church.
Visitation will be Wednesday beginning at 8 a.m. at the church.
HATTIESBURG Services for Richard Spotswood Thomson will be held today at 2 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church with the Rev. Reed Freeman officiating. Burial will be in Roseland Park Cemetery. Hulett Winstead Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Mr. Thomson, 72, of Destin, Fla., formerly of Bay St. Louis., died Sunday, Sept. 14, 2003, at his farm in Bay St. Louis. He was a native of Hattiesburg, and a graduate of Baylor School in Chattanooga and Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He was a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Following his military service, Mr. Thomson returned to Hattiesburg and was employed by the Hattiesburg Coca-Cola Bottling Company, which had been managed for many years by his father, William Alexander Thomson. He served as president and chief executive officer for the business.
During his tenure with Hattiesburg Coca-Cola, he expanded the business adding a food vending company and ice producing company. He also built a new plant for the combined operations on U.S. 98, which opened in 1981. The Coke Plant, which included large public meeting facilities in its building, served as an unofficial convention center for the Hattiesburg area prior to the opening of the Lake Terrace Convention Center.
Hattiesburg Coca-Cola Bottling continued to expand under his leadership, serving much of south Mississippi and the Bahamas. Mr. Thomson received numerous soft drink industry and business awards on the local, state, regional and national levels before selling the business in 1992.
Mr. Thomson was active in banking with Bankcorp South Bank and First National Bank of Picayune. He was also involved in real estate development. He was a partner in opening University Mall Shopping Center in the late 1960's, played an integral part in locating the U.S. Post Office Main Facility on South 40th Avenue in 1986 and took an active role in moving Hattiesburg business and residential development west of Interstate 59 in the 1980's.
He was also a part owner of the Merchants Company of Hattiesburg and served as president of BIPEC, a Mississippi business and industry committee.
Mr. Thomson has long been a supporter and promoter for the Hattiesburg area, often working behind the scenes for efforts including work at the University of Southern Mississippi, William Carey College, the Hattiesburg Public Library and Hattiesburg Youth Soccer program.
He was active in the Republican Party politics since the 1960's, including serving as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1964, 1968 and 1980. He served on the boards of the United Way, The Boy Scouts of America, the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, the YMCA and the Hattiesburg Area Chamber of Commerce.
He was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Hattiesburg, where he was a former treasurer and served for many years as a vestry member.
Survivors include his wife, Merry Rea Thomson of Destin and Bay St. Louis; sons, Richard S. Thomson Jr. of Hattiesburg and John C. Thomson of New Smyrna Beach, Fla.; a daughter, Susan Heidelberg Thomson Rutland of Hattiesburg; eight grandchildren; and a sister, Freddy Thomson Welty of St. Petersburg, Fla.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Inez Christina Heidelberg Thomson; his parents, William Alexander Thomson and Monroe Joseph Tate Thomson; and his brother, William Alexander Thomson Jr.
Memorials may be made to Trinity Episcopal Church Memorial Fund or to Hospice of Memorial Hospital at Gulfport.
Pallbearers will be Bobby L. Chain, Dr. Richard H. Clark, Dr. J.P. Culpepper, Lawrence Y. Foote, George Robert Hall, Charles Hood Heidelberg, R. Webster Heidelberg, D. Max Huey, William P. Martin, Victor Marvar, James Moore, James Snowden, Ben M. Stevens, Joseph F. Tatum and Dr. Paul Welty.
Visitation will be today one hour prior to the service at the church.
Retired seamstress
UNION Services for Irene Cooksey will be held today at 3 p.m. at Milling Funeral Home Chapel with the Revs. Ed Dickerson and Bill Hall officiating. Burial will be in Union City Cemetery.
Ms. Cooksey, 95, of Union, died Sunday, Sept. 14, 2003, at Union. She was a member of Emanuel Baptist Church.
Survivors include her daughters, Margaret Anthony of Clinton and Mary Nell Cooksey of Union; a son, Jimmy Cooksey of Sebastopol; a sister, Fannie Shally of Vicksburg; four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren; and several nieces, nephews and friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Willie Cooksey; and a granddaughter, Charlotte Wilson.
Pallbearers will be Terry Cooksey, Jerry Cooksey, Charlie Cooksey, Tommy Bennett, Ben Bennett and Keith Hill.
PHILADELPHIA Services for Terry J. White will be held today at 4 p.m. at McClain-Hays Funeral Service Chapel with the Revs. Dennis Duvall and Dr. Carl Savell officiating. Burial will be in Eastlawn Cemetery in Philadelphia.
Mr. White, 44, of Brandon, died Sunday, Sept. 14, 2003, in his home.
Survivors include his wife, Shirley White of Brandon; his father and step-mother, Jerome and Edwina White of Philadelphia; a brother, David White; a step-sister, Amanda Murphy; and a step-brother, Wade Hancock, all of Philadelphia.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Martha White.
Retired Clarke County circuit clerk
QUITMAN Services for Evie Maurine Herrington Harris will be held Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Wright's Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. Grady Crowell officiating. Burial will be in Odd Fellows Cemetery.