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OKOLONA – One of the great matriarch’s of East Chickasaw, Hazel Dexter Ellis, returned to her Creator after a brief illness at the ripe age of 94. Hazel, a stalwart and virtuous independent woman whose love, encouragement and devotion to God, family and community were unquestioned, died at 3:35 AM Wednesday, September 8, 2021 at the NMMC-Pontotoc Hospital from complications of Covid-19. Hazel began her life’s journey being born on Feb. 8, 1927 in Iuka, Tishomingo County to the late Samuel Waite Dexter and Winnifred Ruth Perry Dexter. She and her family relocated to Okolona while she was a young lady and she graduated from Okolona High School in 1945. Hazel met and married Franklin “Oliver” Ellis on March 28, 1948 after his return from military duty during World War II. They made their home a place of love and enjoyed gatherings over the many years with family and friends. Hazel worked for over 51 years in the garment industry in Okolona including Delta Sportswear, Meadow Sportswear, and Delmeade Sportswear, and was the Plant Manager of Indian Creek Apparel when she eventually retired. Hazel was a selfless servant of mankind. The minute she heard of a death in the area, she cooked her famous fried chicken and pies to carry to every family. She was a walking, talking history of Chickasaw county and her citizens. Always a “go to” lady on matters of concern, Hazel showed respect for all people and the respect was returned. Her love of others earned her recognition and she was a past recipient of the Golden Heart Award from the Okolona Chamber of Commerce. Very conversational and not the type to say no to anyone, Hazel was a longtime active member of the Okolona First United Methodist Church where she led the Hospitality committee for many years. This grand soul will be missed by all who loved her.
A service celebrating her spectacular life will be held at 4 PM Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021 at Boone’s Chapel United Methodist Church with Rev. Kenneth Corley officiating and Eddie Corley providing music. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. Visitation will be from 3 PM-service time. Holland Funeral Directors-Okolona Chapel is honored to be serving their friends.
Hazel is survived by her three sons, Frankie Ellis and wife, Wanda of Pontotoc, Johnny Ellis and his wife, Libby of Columbus, and Jimbo Ellis and his wife, Michelle of Okolona; 8 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great-grandchildren; her sister, Delores Stewart of Duck Hill, MS; a brother-in-law, Kenney Ellis (BJ) of Bristol, TN; a sister-in-law, Louise Dexter of Okolona; and numerous nieces and nephews and their families. Hazel was preceded in death by her parents; a sister, Martha Jo Dexter; and three brothers, Sam “Shot” Dexter, Lester Dexter, and an infant brother.
The family would prefer that memorials may be made to Boone’s Chapel UMC or Boone’s Chapel Cemetery Fund, c/o Bank of Okolona, P. O. Box 306, Okolona, MS 38860.
We are deeply sorry for your loss – the staff at Tupelo Chapel