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PONTOCOLA COMMUNITY – Johnny Howard Rutledge, 73, met his Creator on Monday morning at 12:21 AM, November 23, 2020 from his residence in the Pontocola Community. Born in Pontotoc County on December 16, 1946 to the late James Malachi Rutledge and Katherine Imogene Kelly, Howard lived all his life in this area except for the time he served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. A patriotic American, he spent 18 months deployed in Vietnam. For his bravery, he received the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with one bronze star, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and was awarded the Purple Heart but declined it because of his humility and his belief that it was his duty to serve his country without fanfare. Howard came home and married Margarette Payne Rutledge on October 10, 1969. Together, they had two daughters, Sonya and Beth. Longtime active members of the Pontocola Baptist Church, Howard served several capacities over 42 years with Thompson Machinery Co. retiring as Sales Manager. He loved the outdoors, including gardening and growing produce, all water sports including skiing. He was always health conscious and was an avid walker and jogger much of his life. He loved bicycles and motorcycles and actually made the 500 mile trek twice from Nashville to Natchez on his bicycle. Early in life, he raced stock cars and developed a fondness for watching NASCAR. He was a devoted Ole Miss sports fan.
A service celebrating his life will be held at 2 PM Wednesday, November 25, 2020 from the Tupelo Chapel of Holland Funeral Directors with Bro. Sammy Hardin and Bro. Mark Cayson officiating and the Navy providing military honors. Burial will follow in the Rutledge Family Plot at Eddington Cemetery north of Troy. Visitation will be from 4:30 PM today until 7 PM (Tuesday Nov. 24) and from Noon-service time on Wednesday, all at Holland-Tupelo Chapel which is honored to be serving their friends. For those unable to attend, the service may be viewed at hollandfuneraldirectors.com/Live-streaming at 2 PM Wed. and will be permanently archived thereafter.
Howard is survived by his wife, Margarette Rutledge of Pontocola; 2 daughters, Sonya Faught of Southaven, and Beth Townsend (Kent) of Pontocola; 4 grandchildren, Jason Townsend of Auburn, John Townsend (Jess) of Old Union, and McKinley Faught and Connor Faught both of Southaven; a great-grandson, River Townsend of Old Union; his brothers, Larry Rutledge (Shirley) of Troy, and Wesley Jamison of New Albany. He was preceded in death by his parents, Malachi and Imogene Rutledge Jamison; his siblings, Wilma Jean Matthews, Shelia Jamison, Greg Jamison, and Roger Rutledge; and his in-laws, Melba and Edmon Ethridge.
Pallbearers will be Tim Parker, Jim Simmons, Mike Farris, Donny Homan, Joe West, and Ken Valentine. Honorary pallbearers will be Kenneth Pickering and his four grandsons, McKinley, Connor, John, and Jason.
Memorials may be made to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, 1235 South Clark St., Suite 910, Arlington, VA 22202.