|Birth: ||Oct. 14, 1919|
|Death: ||Jun. 25, 2011|
AMORY - Billie Henry Fowlkes, 91, known as "Daddy Bill" to family and friends, died on Saturday, June 25, 2011, at Sanctuary Hospice. He was born on October 14, 1919, in the Becker community of Monroe County, Mississippi, the tenth of 11 children of the late John Thomas and Maggie Lou Templeton Fowlkes and the grandchild of the late Richard Henry and Sarah Jane Chism Fowlkes. He was the family's last surviving member of his generation. His early interest and documentation of his family genealogy greatly assisted later family researchers.
He graduated from Becker High School and then from Mississippi State University in 1941 with a degree in horticulture. A lifelong supporter of Mississippi State, Mr. Fowlkes was honored in 2005 by the renaming of the auditorium of The Colvard Student Union to "Fowlkes Auditorium."
With the outbreak of World War II, Mr. Fowlkes, in January of 1942, was sent to The US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD and then to the USS Prairie State in New York, NY where he completed the V-7 officer training program. His first assignment was the minesweeper USS Chenango patrolling the New York harbor. Mr. Fowlkes was soon promoted to command the transport ship USS APC-14, and for the duration of the war served in the South Pacific, where his primary duty was training and delivering, under cover of darkness, forward reconnaissance personnel to Japanese occupied islands. After the war, he was reassigned to the USS Prairie State as an instructor. Many Mississippians have heard Mr. Fowlkes' first hand accounts of his World War II experiences during his talks to schools, civic clubs, and historical groups.
On November 25, 1944, Mr. Fowlkes married Natalie Addison Traxler at her parent's home in McComb, MS. After their wedding they returned to New York where he continued serving as an instructor on the USS Prairie State. His wife preceded him in death in 1996 after 51 years of marriage.
Mr. Fowlkes returned to Mississippi in 1946, serving briefly as the groundskeeper for Mississippi State College for Women in Columbus. Soon, he was called back to Monroe County where he became the second executive director of the Amory Chamber of Commerce. In 1947, Mr. Fowlkes and his brother Tom bought the Pan Am (now BP) gasoline distribution business for the area, which he ran until his retirement in 2006 after 58 years and 1 day on the job. Well known as a businessman, Mr. Fowlkes through the years owned or was partner in Tupelo Farm Equipment, City Tire of Tupelo, and Fowlkes Ford of Amory.
Mr. Fowlkes served on the Tombigbee Valley Water Management District from 1965-1976 being chairman from 1973-1976 where his work in Washington with the Mississippi Congressional Delegation was instrumental in the approval and construction of the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway.
For more than 30 years, Mr. Fowlkes served as Monroe County's Juvenile Referee, where he guided many of the area's youth to becoming productive citizens. Additionally, he served as a mentor for many of the leaders in the area including US Senator Roger Wicker, MS Senator Hob Bryan, and Former Mayor Larry Otis of Tupelo.
For his untiring community service, Mr. Fowlkes was honored in 2006 by the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce as Community Service Citizen of the Year and was Amory's Citizen of the Year in 1995.
Mr. Fowlkes was inducted as a member of the Amory Rotary Club in 1941. He served as Rotary International District Governor in 1992-1993 and was honored as a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow. During his Rotary service, Mr. Fowlkes developed lasting friendships that continue to this day with other District Governors John Bennett and Dean Wingo.
Additionally, Mr. Fowlkes was a member of the J. A. Mayfield Lodge of the Masons and the Amory Chapter of the Eastern Star and was inducted as a Knight of the York Cross of Honor in 2000. A Master Mason, Mr. Fowlkes, having served as Master of J.A. Mayfield #165 Lodge and head of all the York Rite bodies, held the highest degree in York Rite Masonry, the KYCH degree. He attained distinction in the craft only achieved by exemplary Masons. He additionally served as Worthy Patron of Amory Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star.
In 2009 he was initiated into the Beta Tau Chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity at Mississippi State University, where his grandson Brad Garrison, also a fraternity member, performed the initiation ceremony.
A long-time member of the First Baptist Church of Amory, he served as a deacon, Sunday School director, and Building Committee chairman, being successful in the construction of a new sanctuary, Activities Building, and ABC Building during his tenure.
Survivors include three daughters, Peggy Holmes of Amory, Betty Sue Garrison (Jim) of Easley, SC, and Patsy Fowlkes (Steve Brandon) of Chattanooga, TN, five grandchildren and step-grandchildren, Brad Garrison (Lindsay) of Madison, WI, Hank Holmes (Britton) of Huntsville, AL, Brian Garrison of Cincinnati, OH, Warren Brandon (Kelly) of Chattanooga, TN, and Amy Waggoner (Neal) of Little Rock, AR, and three great granddaughters, Ella and Emory Brandon of Chattanooga, TN and Kate Waggoner of Little Rock, AR, plus friend John Hussey (Kay) of Corinth, MS, and caregivers Diane Hicks, and Faye Smith.
A Celebration of Life Service was held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, June 28, at First Baptist Church. A graveside service with Masonic Rites followed in Masonic Cemetery.
Pallbearers were Brian Reed, Larry Coggin, John Hussey, Dick and David Millender, Sam Gibson, Carter Dobbs, Jr., Steve Stockton, Gene Haney, J. B. Markham, Senator Hob Bryan, Hobdy Bryan, and Larry Goudelock. Honorary pallbearers were the Rotary Club of Amory 3836, District 6800, former employees of Fowlkes and Fowlkes, and the Monroe County Youth Court staff.
Visitation was Monday at the funeral home.
Memorials may be given to Sanctuary Hospice House, P. O. Box 2177, Tupelo, MS 38803, Bill Monaghan Ministries, 404 4th St. S., Amory, MS 38821, or Greenbrier Cemetery, Inc., c/o Mrs. Gloria Herring, 50187 South Harmony Rd., Amory, MS 38821.
Natalie Traxler Fowlkes (1921 - 1996)*
Created by: BK
Record added: Oct 10, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 78176507