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Ester's Story

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Ester Kirkland Killen

Services for Ester Kirkland Killen will be held Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018,
at 11 a. m. from Pine Grove Baptist Church in the House Community of
Neshoba County with the Revs. Dennis Duvall and Rusty Walton officiating.
Burial will follow in the Pine Grove Cemetery. Visitation will be held Friday,
Jan. 26, 2018, from 5-8 p.m. at McClain-Hays Funeral Home and 30 minutes
prior to services at the church. McClain-Hays Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Ester Killen moved onto Glory to be with her Lord on Jan. 23, 2018, at the
Neshoba County Nursing Home, due to complications from pneumonia.
Ester Kirkland Killen was born in Kemper County on Sep. 2, 1928, one of
the twin daughters of 11 children of Andy and Margaret (Maggie) Daws Kirkland.
As a child, she attended school at Lynville and Shady Grove before graduating from
Cleveland High School in Dec. of 1947. She lived and farmed there with her
parents and family. At age 19 she moved to Meridian and worked for a Christmas
season in the Kress Department Building as a sales clerk. She then worked at Hardin's
Bakery in advertising as a company representative/liaison to local businesses and schools.
Ester later worked on the line in the pastry division and also became one of the first in the
state to help produce the then new food item known as 'u-brown-em' rolls. This is where
she met her future husband, Paul Killen, of Neshoba County. After their marriage in 1950,
the couple moved to Casa Grande, Arizona for a short period. Upon returning to Mississippi,
Ester became a mother and housewife. In the following years, she moved with her husband to
live in the various cities of his places of employment; to the city of Meridian where their son,
Delton, was born; to the city of Jackson where their son, Kim, was born; and to Pascagoula in
Jackson County on the Mississippi Gulf Coast where their daughter Regina was born. In 1967,
Ester and Paul and their three children moved to Union, Mississippi to go into business for
themselves by establishing Philadelphia Sheet Metal Works where she served as bookkeeper/
office manager for 43 years until retiring due to health issues.
During her time on the coast Ester was a member of, and instrumental in, establishing two local
churches, Friendship Baptist and Unity Baptist, both of Pascagoula. At the time of their moving
back to Neshoba County, she and her family were active members of Pine View Baptist Church
in Moss Point. She served in a leadership capacity at each of these churches in their preschool
departments. For the past 50 years, she has been a faithful member of Pine Grove Baptist Church
in House, Mississippi, attending in later years as health permitted. While there she served along
with her husband as a youth leader for many years. As a 48 year member of the Philadelphia
Community Development Partnership (formerly known as the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce),
Ester was always interested in advancing industry in the city and was a supporter of the local
business community.
Ester was known by all who knew her as one who loved God first and then her family. She was a strong
spiritual guide to her family, and a good mother and grandmother who absolutely adored her
great-grandchildren, whom she enjoyed spoiling with cookies, candies and cakes made fresh from her
kitchen. She was also known for her love of whimsical musical toys. She will be missed.
Ester was preceded in death by her husband of 67 years, Paul Killen; parents, Andy and Maggie Kirkland; eight siblings, Eunice Pierce, Marie Smith, Ernest Kirkland, Leslie Kirkland, Ethel Tolbert, Vester Brown, Lavelle Kirkland, and Burney Kirkland.
She is survived by her son, Delton Killen, and wife Gayle Howle Killen; son, Kim Killen; and daughter, Regina Killen Cleveland and husband Ricky Cleveland, Sr. She is also survived by five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren: Lee Killen and wife Jill Fitzgibbons Killen with Sydnee and Peyton; Brad Killen with Nate; Vicky Killen Wallace with Tristan, Eythan, Paizleigh and Andy; Tim Cleveland and wife Heather Reed Cleveland, all of Union; and Paul Cleveland and wife Jessica Ramage Cleveland with William and Rachel Ester of Huntsville, Alabama; one sister, Loraine Whittle Jones; one brother, Jerome Ronnie Kirkland; and a host of nieces and nephews.
The family extends a special thank you to her caregivers, during her later years at Atwood Personal Care Home, and at the Neshoba County Nursing Home, especially Kelly Morris, Ruby Grady, Laseta Peebles, Heather Tolbert, Wilda Rigdon and Patricia Parker. Also thanks to Dr. Willis and staff and nurses of Neshoba County General Hospital, and to Cindy Payne of Quality Hospice.
Published on January 26, 2018
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