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Thelma Virginia Briggs McConnell, 98, passed away Saturday, May 20, 2017. Ms. Thelma was born in Briggs, Miss. near Porterville on June 26, 1918. Her parents, John and Maggie Briggs moved the family to Scooba when she was 5 years old. It was here that she lived most of the rest of her life. She and her husband, Clifton McConnell, lived in Hattiesburg for two (2) years prior to World War II in 1941-42.
She graduated from Kemper County Agricultural High School, East Mississippi Junior College and Mississippi State University. She retired from teaching in 1982 after teaching in the Scooba School for 31 1/2 years.
Ms. Thelma was a member of the Scooba United Methodist Church where she taught Sunday School in both the Elementary and Senior Departments. She served as Chairman of the Official Board and of literature publication for twenty-four (24) years. She was a charter member of the Woman's Society of Christian Service. While serving as Chairman of the Kemper County Historical Association, she chaired the Committee that published the Pictorial History of Kemper County.
Ms. Thelma was an avid reader and was appointed to a committee to bring Public Library Services to Kemper County. She served as Chairperson for the Kemper Newton Regional Library Board, the County Library Board, and the local Library Board. She was a member of the Kemper County Homemakers for more than seventy (70) years, and she was a correspondent for the Kemper County Messenger for over twenty years (20).
After retirement she continued to be active in community and county affairs and enjoyed spending time with family and friends, and working in her garden. In February 2005 Ms. Thelma was named "Unsung Hero" by The Meridian Star. In November 2005 she was named "Kemper County Citizen of the Year" by the Kemper County Chamber of Commerce. In 2013 East Mississippi Community College and library staff honored Ms. Thelma with a special day and celebration on her 95th birthday by naming their archives room in the Tubb-May Library on the EMCC's Scooba campus the Thelma Briggs McConnell Archives. This was for her loyal support of the college and her many contributions of historical facts of the history of the college and community.
Ms. Thelma was also an avid writer. She journaled most every day of her life, and she took the time to record many stories from her younger days. In November 2014, at the age of 96, she created a book titled, "Come Walk with Me" to document her own biography, her Christian walk, and a walk through her castle - a house of memories. In the introduction to the book she wrote, " My prayer is that someday we will be united in heaven with our Mama and Daddy in that beautiful place that God has prepared for all who love Him." Today we celebrate her life and answers to prayers.
Ms. Thelma was preceded in death by her husband of 62 Years, Clifton McConnell; her parents, John and Maggie Briggs; four brothers, Thomas, Kenneth, Grace, and Jerry Briggs; three sisters, Versia Mae McConnell, Doris Aust, and O'dessa Briggs; one nephew, Bob Briggs; and one niece, Peggy Persons. She is survived by son/nephew Tommy Briggs and wife Polly; her sister, Dixie Bauman; three (3) grandchildren, Tonya Gay Briggs, Melanie Smith (Brandon), and Tom Briggs (Mary Ann); five (5) great grandchildren, Briggs, Molly and Neely McKnight and Brett and Mary Beth Briggs; fifteen (15) nieces and nephews; thirty-two (32) great nieces and nephews; thirty-seven (37) great-great nieces and nephews; and five (5) great-great-great nieces and nephews.
Services will be handled by Stephens Funeral Home from DeKalb. Visitation will be held at Scooba United Methodist Church on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. with service following. Burial will be at Briggs Chapel Memorial Church in Porterville, Miss. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Scooba United Methodist Church (P.O. Box 112, Scooba, MS 39358). Friends may sign the online register at www.stephensfuneralsDeKalb.com.
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