Mr. Billy Dan Tabb, 76, of Cleveland, MS, passed away Wednesday, January 23, 2019, in Jackson, MS. Visitation will be from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Friday, January 25, 2019, at Ray Funeral Home. A Celebration of Life Service will be at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, January 26, 2019, at First Baptist Church in Cleveland with Rev. Brad Beckwith officiating. Interment will be in North Cleveland cemetery following the service.
Essay written in 2018 by his grandson, Collins Tabb, for a school assignment to write about a person in his life who exemplifies the qualities of a hero:
A hero is someone who you look up to. It is someone who you aspire to be like and who has done good in your life or good in the life of many others. My grandfather, Billy Dan Tabb, is one of my heroes. His life has been full of ups and downs and many turns. He always found a way to tough it out and provide for his family.
My grandfather grew up in the small town of Walthall, Mississippi. He had four younger siblings, two sisters and two brothers. His father passed away when he was eighteen so he had to step in as the father figure for his younger siblings, the youngest of which was only five years old at the time. He went to Hinds Community College where he worked for the school and even drove the school bus for extra money. Billy Dan then went to Mississippi State University where he worked for the school and graduated with a degree in business. Throughout his whole time in college, he was always sending money back home to help support his mother and his younger siblings. He married my grandmother, Myrtis Tabb, on August 13, 1967, in Alva, Mississippi.
My grandfather’s first job out of high school was as a vo-tech teacher at Linn High School in Linn, MS. After a few years at Linn High School, he planted his roots in the small town of Rosedale, MS. Billy Dan got a job at Rosedale High School as the principal and vo-tech teacher. He was very well liked by his students and was considered to be a good leader. He cared for each and every one of his students. At this time in his life, he had two kids fairly close to one another. My grandfather and grandmother supported their family with the salary of a high school principal and a high school teacher, which was not much money at this point in time. He also found time to volunteer. He was a volunteer paramedic in Rosedale and was a member of the volunteer fire department for almost twenty years.
After many years at Rosedale High, Billy Dan started working on a farm in his extra time and during the summer to make extra money to support his family. He became close with the farmer and ended up taking over the farm. He left his job at Rosedale High School to be a fulltime farmer. When he started farming, he had around five hundred acres of land and has now expanded his farm to almost five thousand acres of farmland. During this time, he was always looking for other ways to support his family. He started a trucking business to make more money and was always careful with his finances. Now, he is retired from farming and has passed it to my dad.
My grandfather is the definition of a hero to me. He was put in a bad position at a young age and he stepped up to the task. He has dedicated his whole life to providing for his family and teaching others. He came from a modest background and built a successful business from hard work and long hours. You hardly ever see him without a smile on his face and many people consider him to be one of the nicest people they know. My grandfather is the man that I aspire to be one day.
Mr. Tabb wore many other hats by serving on the City Council of Rosedale and Rosedale Library Committee and serving on the Rosedale Fire Department for twenty years while being chief for five of those years. He was also the President of Rosedale Country Club and was a commissioner of LaBan Bayou Drainage Commission. He was a member and Deacon of First Baptist Church in Rosedale and later became a member of the First Baptist Church in Cleveland. He was instrumental in securing the Rosedale Park by being involved in the Rosedale Bolivar County Park Commission. After the local clinic closed in Rosedale, Mr. Tabb, along with four other men, were trained as EMTs and started an ambulance service that they managed for fifteen years. With a love for agriculture and the outdoors, he was also a member of the board of directors of Farm Bureau, was on the ASCS Committee, and served as Vice President of the board of Beulah Island Hunting Club.
Mr. Tabb was preceded in death by his parents, Lon and Eva Nell Tabb.
He is survived by his wife, Myrtis Swindoll Tabb; children, Tracy Tabb Dye (Randy) and Bill Ryan Tabb (Leslie); grandchildren, Daniel Martin Dye, Ryan Collins Tabb, Madeline Scott Dye, Annsley Hunter Tabb, and Jacob Ryan Dye; siblings, Joyce Bright James, Donald Lynn Tabb, Judy Tabb Powell (Pete), and Randall Lloyd Tabb (Karen); brothers-in-law, Charles Barrett Swindoll and William Arliss Swindoll (Debbie); and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Pallbearers will be his nephews Will Swindoll, Jeffery Tabb, Billy Tabb, Chip Powell, Beau Powell, and Jason Swindoll along with family friends Brig Aylward, Chris Collins, and Marty Chenault. Honorary pallbearers will be Joe Knighton, Don Aylward, Bill Parker, Mike Sanders, Alex Gates, H.M. Chenault, Ben Bailey, and Jimmy House.