Willie R. McCoy

Willie Rollins McCoy was born August 26, 1929 to Mr. and Mrs. Rollins and Lydia McCoy in Natchez.

He was a member of Zion Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Natchez (the church to which his family belonged for several generations) until he moved to Yazoo City and joined St. Stephen United Methodist Church. As a child, he attended Prince Street School and he graduated from Brumfield High School in 1947.

In January 1951, Mr. McCoy was inducted into the US Army and received his basic training a Camp Chaffee, Arkansas. He was schooled as an intermediate speed radio operator. After basic training, he was stationed in Korea. He played trumpet and saxophone with the 25th and 24th division bands from Inchon to Pusar to Kojedo Islands.

After his tour of duty in the US Army, Mr. McCoy enrolled in college at Jackson State and majored in music education. Upon his graduation in 1957, he was employed by the Yazoo City Public school system where he taught elementary and secondary band students. Mr. McCoy earned his masters degree in music at the VanderCook College of Music in Chicago in 1961. Mr. McCoy’s dedication to discipline and musical excellence was legendary. From the marching band that he organized to the various dance bands and ensembles that he led, these groups were frequently requested for all occasions.

Mr. McCoy also received additional instruction in photography and audio-visual education from Atlanta University, Mississippi State University, University of Southern Mississippi, Knoxville College, North Carolina College, and the University of Georgia. Following his time as a music instructor, Mr. McCoy served as the media specialist in the Yazoo City public school system.

Mr. McCoy served on numerous church, civic and municipal boards and committees such as the Yazoo County Selective Service Board, the Warren-Yazoo Mental Health Association Board, the American Legion, the rescue squad of the Civil Defense Unit, the Yazoo Emergency Management Association, the United Methodist Men, Lay Member to the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church, Mississippi Educators Association, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Sunday School Superintendent. Mr. McCoy enjoyed music, traveling, reading, exercise, dogs, and laughter. He earned a brown belt in Shotokan Karate and was well-known for his humor and quizzes of ‘Mississippi towns!’

In 1957, Mr. McCoy married his college sweetheart, Jevonne Keller. Mr. and Mrs. McCoy moved to Yazoo City later that year to embark upon a lifelong career in education and to raise a family.

They were blessed with three sons: Don, Juan and Jon. Juan preceded them in death in 1995.

They leave to mourn sons Don and Jon (Robbye); grandchildren Ka’Tina (Michael) Williams, Erica (Marcus) Slaughter, Craige (Sabrina) Lewis, Eric Moore, James McCoy, Rollins McCoy and Joycelynn McCoy; great-grandchildren Bradterio, Kitana, Tyler, McKenzie, Marcus, Madison; and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews and other relatives, students, neighbors, and friends.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 24, 2018 at McCoy Elementary School in Yazoo City, MS at 11 a.m.  Interment will be Monday, March 26, at the National Military Cemetery in Natchez, MS at 11 a.m.   Rev. Rachel Pitts, pastor of St. Stephen United Methodist Church in Yazoo City, MS will be officiating.  In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to St. Stephen UMC.  Funeral services are entrusted to Century Funeral Home.