Obituaries

In an alternate reality, one where John Gary Williams wasn’t called up to go to Vietnam, he might have become a soul music icon, a household name mentioned alongside Marvin Gaye, Al Green or Otis Redding. But in this reality, as news spread of Williams’ death at his Memphis home...
On Saturday at noon, the Rev. Joseph Scrivner and the Rev. Keith Norman will be in the pulpit at First Baptist Church-Broad focused on duty while also contending with a deep family loss. Scrivner is the son of the late Rev. Ralph White, longtime pastor of Bloomfield Full Gospel Baptist...
John Gary Williams, whose brief musical career with The Mad Lads on Stax Records set the stage for a fascinating life, died Tuesday. He was 73. If you're like me (say, 50 or younger), you might need to google Williams or The Mad Lads, as their brief brush with fame...
Luberta Elliott Smith, the widow of the first African American elected mayor of Holly Springs, Miss., and a long-serving teacher in the Marshall County Schools system, passed on Monday at Christopher’s Personal Care Home in Holly Springs. She was 84. The homegoing celebration will be at Asbury United Methodist Church, 225...
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Ermias Davidson Asghedom — better known as rapper, businessman and philanthropist Nipsey Hussle — was killed Sunday, gunned down in front of his own Marathon Clothing Store in his hometown of Los Angeles. Two others were wounded. Hussle was 33 years old. Hussle’s acclaimed 2017 Victory Lap was nominated...
Services for Monroe James Edwards Sr., the owner of M.J. Edwards Funeral Home, begin with visitation services today (March 20) and conclude with a celebration of his life at New Salem Missionary Baptist Church on Friday. Mr. Edwards passed away at his home last Thursday. He was 92. J.S. Edwards, Edwards’...
Monroe James Edwards Sr. consoled many Memphis families in the loss of their loved ones. Thursday morning, the proprietor of M.J. Edwards Funeral Home passed away at home, surrounded by his family. He was 92. Monroe James Edwards Jr. reflected on how much his father loved the funeral business because...
Patricia Howard enjoyed a “girls’ vaca” with her bestie at the Indian Ocean as they celebrated her 70th birthday in early March. When “Pat” returned home, she started packing for a trip to sunny Aruba. She didn’t get to make that trip. Mrs. Howard, who headed the Memphis Chapter of...
Emerle Dianne Smith, mother of The New Tri-State Defender's late publisher, Bernal E. Smith II, passed away at Methodist University Hospital on Thursday (Feb. 21) -- four days before her 75th birthday. A dedicated and devoted sister, mother, aunt, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend, Mrs. Smith was with family when she...
In late July of 1963, attorney Russell Bertram Sugarmon Jr., had a near-death experience. A bullet was fired into the car he was riding in with two other attorneys and a minister as they crossed over into Collierville during a return trip from a tense encounter in Somerville. The incident...