Leslie William Magee, Jr., passed away surrounded by his family on Tuesday, November 14, 2017, at the age of 86 following a lengthy illness.
Services will be held on Friday, November 17, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. at First Baptist Church in Mendenhall. Visitation will be at the church from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m., prior to the service. Interment will follow in Mendenhall City Cemetery. Tutor Funeral Home of Mendenhall is in charge of arrangements.
Leslie was one of seven children born to Leslie William, Sr. and Emma Brown Magee on January 14, 1931, in the Mt. Zion community in Simpson County. As a boy in 1941, he moved with his family to Mendenhall where his father worked in various offices in the Simpson County Courthouse. After graduating from Mendenhall High School in 1950, he attended Copiah Lincoln Jr. College in Wesson where he was a member of the football team. Leslie joined the U.S. Air Force in 1951. He was an Airman, First Class and Cryptographer stationed at the Strategic Air Command located at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska. After his honorable discharge from the Air Force in 1955, he took advantage of the GI Bill to attend the University of Southern Mississippi (then Mississippi Southern College), graduating in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.
In 1958, Leslie married Joyce Blackmon of Mendenhall. Leslie and Joyce made their first home in Brookhaven that same year and he began a 32-year career with the state of Mississippi when he joined the Mississippi Department of Employment Security as an employee counselor. He transferred to the MDES Jackson office in 1963 and they moved back to Mendenhall where they became parents to a daughter, Leslie Gaye in 1964, and he completed his Master’s Degree in Personnel Management at Mississippi State University in 1966. He worked with the Mississippi State Department of Health as Personnel Supervisor for a number of years and joined the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in 1980 where he served as Director of Personnel until his retirement in 1986.
Leslie was a faithful member of Mendenhall FBC for over 65 years. He was also a member of the Mendenhall Volunteer Fire Department for over 25 years and a longtime member of Mims Mitchell Hunting Club in Issaquena County. He was part of a group of citizens that organized and launched Simpson County Academy in the fall of 1970, serving on the school’s Board of Directors during the early years. Leslie was an active participant of the Mississippi Public Employee Retirement System and the Association of State Personnel Administration. Leslie was a member of various committees at church and civic organizations throughout the years. He most recently served on the board of the Mendenhall Cemeteries Association and held memberships in the Simpson County Historical and Genealogical Association, Veterans of Foreign War and the Society of the Strategic Air Command. He was honored to be named the Mendenhall Area Chamber of Commerce’s Outstanding Citizen in 2008.
Fondly referred to as "Fibber" by his childhood friends, Leslie was a loving husband and father who enjoyed family and friends. After retirement, he, Joyce and Gaye traveled to Great Britain and Europe several times as well to various locations throughout the U.S. He also reconnected with many of his Offutt Air Force Base friends helping plan and participate in several reunions across the country. He especially enjoyed hunting, fishing, and participating in lively debates at various coffee shop gatherings in Mendenhall. He and a group of lifelong Mendenhall friends formed “The Simpson County Frog Patrol” and explored a number of rivers in the southeastern United States by boat in the late 1980’s. Leslie had a keen interest in his family genealogy as well as the history of Mendenhall and Simpson County. These interests lead him to chronicle local historical information as well as his recollections of notable events, local citizens and his boyhood in various publications during his retirement years.
He is survived by his devoted wife of 59 years, Joyce, of Mendenhall; daughter, Leslie Gaye Magee Sullivan and son-in-law, Brooks Sullivan of Magee; brother, Marshall O. Magee and sister-in-law, Carolyn of Mendenhall; as well as a host of nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Willis F. Magee, Robert S. Magee and Truitt Magee; sisters, Evelyn Magee Smith and Eva Magee Ellzy Winningham and mother-in-law, Myrtle L. Blackmon.
Donations in his memory may be made to Mendenhall City Cemeteries Association, c/o Treasurer, Post Office Box 838, Mendenhall, Mississippi 39114