Obituary of Terry Everett
Mr. Terry Eugene Everett, 78, of Cleveland, MS, passed away on March 11, 2018, at Indywood Estate. Visitation will be 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 24, 2018, at St. Luke United Methodist Church. Celebration of Life Services will follow beginning at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 24, 2018, at St. Luke United Methodist Church with Rev. Jonathan Spiegel officiating.
Terry Eugene Everett was born January 12, 1940, on the family farm in Light, Arkansas; the first son of Owen and Ruth Briggs Everett. Terry was the oldest of their 8 children. Terry’s ecstatic nature manifested early on the farm which he called his “Garden of Eden”. His life was impacted early when his father was in the Pacific fighting in World War II. When he was 3 years old, his beautiful, young mother took him and his two younger siblings to live in Paragould, Arkansas.
Terry, whose mother had taught him to read before he started school, excelled in school academically and socially. He earned a full scholarship to Arkansas State University from the Kiwanis Club for his academic, social, athletic and community achievements. Terry continued his excellent scholarship and academic achievements in college which lead to doctoral programs at the University of Arkansas and at Idaho State University. While at ASU, Terry also continued his athletic achievements, pitching for the ASU baseball team.
Terry married his high school sweetheart, Martha Vance while at ASU. They had two gifted children, Paige Rackley and Joseph Everett. Being a father and a grandfather was highly valued by Terry and he brought so much joy and love into their lives as he received much joy from them. His oldest, Paige is married to Carl Rackley and their daughter, Mary Claire was a delight to her “Pappy”. Terry’s youngest, Joseph, had two children who were also much beloved to Terry – Maggie Jo and Owen. Their mother, Angie continued to treasure and support the relationship with “Papaw busy” or “Pappy”. Paige remembers his commitment to her and her brother and the local schools when he served as PTA President at her elementary school.
After a brief stint as a high school teacher in the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri; Terry joined the faculty in the English and Literature department at Delta State University in Cleveland in 1968. Terry thrived at DSU as an excellent professor of literature and poetry. He was highly esteemed by his colleagues and students. A highly gifted and esteemed poet as a writer, he was also an oral poet. His beautiful, resonant voice touched many with his readings of his own as well as others work. Terry was active in his church as a beloved orator of devotional prayers which he composed, a wise teacher, and an active choir member.
Terry continued his community service which included coaching American Legion baseball and involvement in professional societies and community service organizations. On less formal levels, he provided support and transportation to many to get to their doctors’ appointments as well as other needs. Terry was very active in the Southern Literary Festival, making many trips with his dear friend, Jim Tomek. He also served as President of this organization and supported many others in their own writings. Terry was active in Lion’s Club as an officer, grant writer and active participant with his dear friend, B. G. Tatum. He served at local, state, regional, national and international levels with the Lion’s Club. He was active in achieving grants for handicap accessible parks in Mississippi.
Terry’s light continued to shine as he battled cancer, becoming dearly loved in his new home at Indywood. There, he protected the innocent, wrote and lead devotionals and was much loved. He died peacefully in his sleep the morning of March 11, 2018. Our world was truly blessed by Terry’s life.
He is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Martha Sue Vance; parents, Owen and Ruth Everett; and younger sister, Brenda Everett.
Terry is survived by his daughter, Paige Everett Rackley (Carl) of Gulfport, MS; son, Joseph Owen Everett (Angie) of Tupelo, MS; granddaughter, Mary Claire Rackley of Gulfport, MS and Maggie Jo Everett of New Albany, MS; grandson, Joseph Owen Everett, Jr. of New Albany, MS; siblings, Gary Everett (Sandy), Larry (Judy), Linda Everett McDaniel (Danny), Betty Everett Hebert (Ken), Darlene Everett, and Janet Everett; 9 nieces and nephews and their spouses; and 12 great nieces and nephews.
The family requests that donations be made to MS Lions Club Eye Bank and St. Luke United Methodist Church.