Services for Merlin Smith Richardson, long-time mayor of the Town of Anguilla and one of the longest serving mayors in the State of Mississippi, will be held at Anguilla United Methodist Church on Monday, October 12, 2020, at 1:30 P.M., followed by burial at Golden Link Cemetery, Anguilla, with a final tribute given to those who served our country so faithfully with Military Honors given by the United States Air Force Honor Guard. His casket will be draped with the United States flag that also graced his twin brother's casket on July 3, 2012. Taps will be played by Penley Sorrels.
Visitation will be at Glenwood Funeral Home, Rolling Fork, on Sunday, October 11, 2020, from 5:00 until 7:00 P. M. Social distancing and wearing of mask will be observed.
Mr. Richardson was born, along with his twin brother Marlin, on February 14, 1932, in Catchings, Mississippi, currently known as Delta City, to Robert Percy "Buddy" Richardson and Beulah Smith Richardson. Being one of ten children, Merlin learned early in life to work on the farm and in his dad's grocery store. However, his main interest was playing basketball. He often bragged that the success of Catchings High School's basketball team was due to the great players he and Marlin were!
After graduating from high school, and several job endeavors, Merlin enlisted in the United States Air Force for four years. He then joined the Mississippi National Guard for eight years and earned the rank of Sargeant Major.
In 1956, Merlin was employed by Deer Creek Compress Company in Rolling Fork. He worked under the loving guidance of M. C. "Cotton" and Floye Thomas. In recent years, Merlin was often heard to say, "Never did I dream I would go from sweeping the floors to becoming President of Deer Creek Compress Company and one of the largest stockholders by the time it sold in 1997, perfect timing for my retirement."
During Mr. Richardson's years in management of Deer Creek Compress Company, he was actively involved in many cotton-related organizations, such as Board Member and Director of National Cotton Council of America, Board of Trustees Member of Delta Agricultural and Industrial Workers' Compensation, Secretary-Treasurer of the Mississippi Unit National Cotton Council of America, Director of Cotton Warehouse Association of America, and Vice President of Delta Council.
In 1973, Mr. Richardson became involved in Town Government and was elected to the Board of Aldermen for the Town of Anguilla for one term, followed by twenty-four consecutive years of being elected Mayor of the Town of Anguilla. After being out of politics for four years, in 2005 he re-entered the race for Mayor and won each term of office until June 2017. He was very active in Mississippi Municipal League, where he served as an officer and a member of the Executive Committee.
At the time of his death, Mr. Richardson was serving on the Board of Directors for Mississippi Farm Bureau, member of the Board of Directors of South Delta Planning and Development, and had just retired from twelve years of service as Board Member for Twin County Electric Power Association. He had also served as Director for Delta Council.
Mr. Richardson held the record of having thirty-eight years of perfect attendance in Anguilla Rotary Club. He was one of the early recipients of Delta Lights, sponsored by Cary Christian Center.
Merlin was an active member of Anguilla United Methodist Church. He was the first man from Anguilla United Methodist Church to participate in the Walk to Emmaus. He continued to be involved as long as his health allowed. He served as Lay Delegate to Mississippi Methodist Conference, Chairman of Trustees, Chairman of Pastor-Parish Relations Committee, member of the choir and adult Sunday School Class. He enjoyed being a part of Mission Outreach by going to USDA in Jackson and getting groceries, which were brought to the church, packed, and delivered to approximately sixty elderly families in the community.
In later years, Merlin particularly enjoyed spending time at his cabin, where hunting and fishing opportunities were plentiful, along with quiet time for reading and reflecting.
Merlin is survived by his wife of sixty years, Lanetia Bailey; two daughters, Gwendolyn West (Bruce) and Jennifer Britton (Brad); four grandchildren, Dr. Marlee Miller (Kennedy) and Bailey West (Leah), Bray Britton and Hannah Britton; two great-granddaughters, Maeve Miller and Addison West; three siblings, Shirley Egger, Kay Burns (Dean), and Reverend/Dr. Ron Richardson (Deanna); and sisters-in- law, Joan Singleton, Faith Richardson, and NanEtte Richardson and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Robert, W.D., Francis, and Marlin; and sisters Marjorie Bates and Lataine Durst.
Active pallbearers are Michael Anthony, Bill Clinkscales, Bubba Cooper, Steven Cooper, Bobby Stevens, Jerry Stevens, Terry Stevens, and Billy Wyatt.
Honorary pallbearers are Glen Barlow, T.D. Boykin, Clark Carter, Carlo Caselli, Olivio Caselli, Ike Collins, Treves Cooper, Frank Corban, Garry Eifling, Joe Ford, Thomas Goodwin, Hal Green, Grover Greer, Jonathan Greer, Clifford Hackett, Larry Harris, Phillip Hester, Danny Howle, Phil Kline, George Lewis, Richard McCoy, Dr. James Parkerson, Bill Patterson, Tim Perkins, Governer Tate Reeves, Dr. Lester Spell, Russell Stewart, Robert Stigall, and Guy Williams.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Anguilla United Methodist Church building fund, 631 Front Street, Anguilla, Mississippi 38721, or to your favorite charity.
Special thanks to Dr. Andrew George and Adorations Home Health of Rolling Fork and Hospice of Yazoo City.
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