Celebrating a life well lived


Yesterday was spectacular… MSU vs. Bama game notwithstanding!  It was picture perfect because my community celebrated the life of a man who had a hugely positive impact on the quality of the lives of all who knew him.  It was practically an all day affair.

Bill Poe of Starkville, Mississippi died October 14 just five days after celebrating his eightieth birthday.  As you can see he looked more like 15 on October 9 when we toasted his milestone birthday,  Five days later he was gone and several of us suspected he knew his time on earth was drawing to a close.  He suffered from complications of diabetes but still worked out regularly at the “Hellness” center as he liked to call his gym.


Yesterday we did it all over again but only his spirit was present this time.  We toasted him then distributed his ashes on the “green roof” of the observation tower at the Oktibbeha County History Museum,  The award winning facility has been restored thanks to Bill’s leadership and it’s hard not to imagine his little pick up truck parked out front as he planned new exhibits and conducted tours..


Bill had planned his funeral down to the last detail.  After releasing his ashes we all went to his home in the Cotton District to toast him some more and share Bill Poe stories.  Pictured iin the foreground are his sister Pat at left,  and sister in lalw Linda Poe.  Linda;s husband and Bill’s brother Glenn died this past June.


I’ve done stories before on “The Animal House”, the nickname of Bill’s home.  It is a museum of another sort with wild animals mounted in every room.  I’m talking full sized animals here, not just a few heads.  Rattle snakes are coiled in the corner ready to strike and erected on one wall is a larger than life of the image of  “The Duke”:: John Wayne, Bill’s hero.  There are pictures made with Mary Lou Henner and Morgan Freeman dating to his 75th birthday party.


Bill’s garden is known as “Serengeti Out Back” and more representatives of the animal kingdom are everywhere.  One of his fountains features a concrete likeness of Colonel Rebel with the MSU mascot, Bully, relieving himself on the Colonel’s hat!  Bill was true maroon in every sense of the word.  He is largely responsible for my conversion as a former Ole Miss Rebel,  I always was a fickle woman…..

Happy trails Bill.  I’ll see seeing you and expect a big party when we get together again.

4 thoughts on “Celebrating a life well lived

  1. Well stated, Emily. It was truly a celebration of his life. He was certainly observing and pleased with the day.

  2. When I reach that bridge to cross over I am in hopes that people will say nice things about me like you said about Bill. During these terrible days it is nice to read someone who has civility . Thank you.

  3. I am so glad you wrote this tribute with pictures. Like many who read it I felt a special connection with Bill Poe. His twin sisters were at Delta State with my sister, Louise. Bill and I were at State at the same time, and he helped me when Infloundered in qualitative analysis chemistry lab. And, of course, we both worked on campus for many years afterwards. He and Jim were fraternity brothers, and the Pikes considered Bill their elder statesman when Jim was in school. Bill lived in the aerie at the top of the Pike house. I enjoyed reading about his memorial, because we could not go. We were celebrating Jim’s 75 th birthday.

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