Thomas's Story

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Thomas Maryland Hollingshead, 79, of Nanafalia, Ala., passed away peacefully, and with a smile on his face, in his home on December 30, 2017.

Tom was born in Millry, Ala. in 1938 to Hiram and Flora Hollingshead. In his early years, Tom worked at the cotton mill in Stonewall and drove a truck. He met his wife, Ruzene, at Stonewall High School and they married in 1958. In 1959, his only daughter, Susan, was born. He loved Susan with all of his heart until his first great granddaughter, Anna Katherine, was born in 2014.

Tom was more than the proverbial "man's man." He had the uncanny ability to cook and sew. As most of you know, it was not common to find a man that could cook and sew in the 60's and 70's. Tom once hemmed Susan's dress for prom in 1975. Tom spent most of his working years at the paper mill in Pennington, Ala., but rarely took vacations. He was lucky to retire at the early age of 61 with many years of accrued vacation time. He always said he was the smart one by actually getting paid not to work.

Tom was a generous man. In his later years, he would drive Mrs. Hollingshead to the casino despite his distaste for gambling. Tom's favorite restaurant was Ryan's Steakhouse, until his recent introduction to the Golden Corral. He also loved that Chinese Buffet in Thomasville, Ala., but refused to eat there for the first 5 years it was open.

Tom spent his spare time in his shop, hunting, or simply working around the house. He loved the outdoors and continued to run his rabbit dogs until the end. In fact, his last chore on this earth was feeding his dogs. He spent many years and many thousands of dollars buying just the right patch beagle, blue tick, or walker hound. There wasn't a rabbit or raccoon safe in Marengo County, Ala. Tom also spent many weekends at the Ripley, Miss. flea market with his grandkids in tow.

Of all the beautiful things in this world, the most important to Tom was his two grandchildren, Tyler and Taylor. Luckily for Tom, that admiration was mutual. Tom gave those boys everything they wanted and taught them many life lessons. He taught them how to hunt and fish. He taught them how to grow tomatoes. He taught them not to grab the baby chicks from the hen house, but Tom owes the momma hen most of the credit for that one. He let them have pocket knives when they were toddlers. He let them climb on the roof his house anytime they wanted. He pulled the training wheels off of their bikes way too soon. When Tyler was 4 years old, Tyler wanted to shoot a 20 gauge shotgun. Tom told him no, but Tyler insisted. Tyler only fired once after the kick of the gun busted his lip. Lesson learned the hard way. When Tyler was 12 years old, he let Tyler regularly drive his Jeep Renegade. When Taylor came into this world, things got better. He now had two drivers and more support to crawl through the briars and catch those hard headed beagles when it came time to head home from early morning rabbit hunting. He bought Taylor a horse named Dixie that Taylor never rode. Tom never complained however. That horse, Dixie, was one of Tom's most favorite animals and Tom mourned when Dixie passed. Tom and the boys shared many things including, pork rinds, honey buns, blocks of sharp cheddar, and even a few cans Vienna sausage over many years of rabbit hunting and learning about life.

It is safe to say child services would have taken those boys away in this day and age, but one thing is certain: Tyler and Taylor will miss their "Papaw" more than he could have ever imagined and they are better men because of him. Scars and all.

Tom is survived by his wife of 59 years, Ruzene Hollingshead of Nanafalia, Ala., his daughter, Susan (Phillip) Scarbrough of Meridian, his two grandsons Tyler (Katie) Scarbrough of Atlanta, Ga., Taylor (Laura) Scarbrough of Meridian, sister Charlene Mixon of Fairborn, Ohio, niece Lisa (Ed) Oliver of Fairborn, Ohio, and his two wonderful great granddaughters, his "Georgia Peaches," Anna Katherine and Hadley Scarbrough of Atlanta, Ga.

Tom was preceded in death by his parents Hiram and Flora Hollingshead, a brother Doug, sisters Mary Valentine and Maggie Hollis, and his hunting buddy, Bates.

Visitation will be held Wednesday, January 3, 2017 from 9-11 a.m. at Wright's funeral home in Quitman. Graveside service will immediately follow in Stonewall.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation in Mr. Hollingshead's name to East Mississippi Animal Rescue.
Published on January 3, 2018
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