Benjamin Howell Reese
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Benjamin Howell "Hal" Reese, Jr., 81, passed away on October 24, 2021, at his home in Calhoun City, MS. Hal was born on August 13, 1940, in Vardaman, MS, to Benjamin Reese Sr. and Alice Maxine Robertson Reese. Hal graduated from Calhoun City High School in 1958, and went on to earn an Associates Degree from East Mississippi Community College where he was in the college choir and a member of the Crago Band Honor Society. Hal then graduated from the University of Mississippi where he ultimately earned a Masters Degree in Music. He also earned a Masters Degree Specialist in School Administration from Mississippi State University. Hal proudly served his country in the United States Army during the Korean War. Hal served in many capacities teaching others his love of music. At Delta State University he was an assistant band director, director of musicals, and director of the Jazz band. He was also band director at Lynn, Ackerman, and Philadelphia High Schools, principal at Neshoba County High School and Philadelphia High School, and superintendent at Philadelphia Separate Municipal Schools. Hal returned to Calhoun City and became a State Farm Agent with the designation of member of the Million Dollar Club which he held from 1981-2021. Hal adored people, never met a stranger, and always had a story to share. He was enthusiastic about going to meetings, events, the Neshoba County Fair, Wildcat football games, watching the Rebels play, or watching work-outs and practices. He always arrived early and was in no hurry to leave, not because he enjoyed practice, the games and learning (although he did), but because he thrived spending time and socializing with people. He kept a note in his pocket to remind him, "exercise and walk with the Lord daily." Hal realized that walking with the Lord was like exercise, an everyday intentional act for the purpose of growth and health in relationships with God and others. With music, Hal developed lifelong friendships, was mentored and in turn mentored others. He was grateful for the opportunities it provided for his education and to travel. He poured himself into his students to see them grow as musicians and people. Calhoun City was always "home" for Hal so he came back home and began a new career. For over 40 years, Hal had a passion for State Farm where he was able to help people while allowing him to develop a personal connection with them. His employees here in Calhoun City were like family as were many of the agents with whom he worked. Every Sunday Hal could be found at First Baptist Church, Calhoun City where he loved serving, singing in the choir, his Sunday School class, and just visiting with the congregation. Hal had also served as interim music director and a youth Sunday School director. Hal was a member of many organizations and groups including: former member of Ackerman Baptist Church and member and deacon of First Baptist Church Philadelphia, Neshoba County Fair Board Talent Contest Director, Master Mason of the Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite, Hamasa Shrine Club and Shriner orchestra member, a member of the Dixie Dobbers Dixieland Jazz Band, and Mississippi Boy Scouts of America Director. Most of all Hal loved his wife of 62 years Olivia Jean Harbour Reese, his three children, his grandchildren, and Olivia's son-in-laws. Hal is survived by his wife Olivia Reese, of Calhoun City, MS; daughters Edie Elizabeth (Ray) Montalvo of McComb, MS; and Caroline (Jefferson) Gilder of Collierville, TN; son Benjamin Howell Reese III of Calhoun City; sisters Betty (Danny) Lindsey of Cleveland, MS; and Hilda Hemphill of Calhoun City, MS; grandchildren: Maurice "Reese" Joseph Dulpantis IV of Covington, LA; Austin Howell "Hal" Duplantis of McComb, MS; Suzannah Olivia Gibson Gilder of Collierville, TN; and Josephine Frances Edlyn Gilder of Collierville, TN. Hal is preceded in death by his parents Benjamin and Maxine Reese and brother Dr. Andy Reese. Visitation for Hal will be Tuesday, October 26, 2021, from 4:00-6:00 PM in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church Calhoun City. A graveside service will take place on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, at 2:00 PM at Midway Cemetery in Vardaman, MS, with Bro. Fred Hartley officiating. Jim Beckett, Dale Hayes, Joey Hawkins, Tommy Jackson, Landry Kay, Reese Lindsey, George Mart Mounger, and Boyd Wayne Robertson will serve as Pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers are: Dwain Acker, Larry Arrington, Larry Bratton, Wayne Crocker, Jerry Hartley, Danny Hawkins, Danny Lindsey, and Sidney Parker. Hal was always a storyteller and today we hope many happy stories are being shared in remembrance of him. Parker Memorial Funeral Home is honored to serve the Reese family during this difficult season of life and ask that you remember them in your prayers. Online condolences may be left at www.parkermemorialfuneralhomes.com