Robert Coleman Mobley, 84, died peacefully at home in the early morning hours of Wednesday, May 6, after an extended illness. According to his steadfast wish, R.C. departed this life on the same hill on which he was born, June 16, 1935. The son of Preston Lee and Mary Elizabeth Greer Mobley, R.C. came into the world in a different era, before most rural homes had the modern conveniences of technology, electricity and running water. He grew up on the family farm outside of Utica, Mississippi and learned to love and respect God's creation and the value of a hard day's work through working the land and livestock necessary for his family's subsistence. The responsibility of running the farm and caring for his mother was thrust upon him at the age of fifteen with the death of his father in 1951 from encephalitis.
The farm and agriculture in general were always a part of him throughout his career and work life, whether tending his small herd of beef cattle or trying a new type of vegetable in his prolific garden. In 1951, R.C. was part of an awarding winning livestock judging team and traveled to Kansas City with the Future Farmers of America from Utica High School. After graduating in 1953, he worked at Claude Scott's Merchants Wholesale Grocery in Utica, and was soon recruited by pecan-grower Alfred Smith to run the Utica branch of the Hinds County Co-op. His skills at customer service, humor, and the gift of gab soon attracted the attention of Robert Harris, special agent for Hinds County Farm Bureau Insurance Company in Raymond. Harris needed another agent to cover his expansive sales area and, in 1964, R.C. began what would be a 35-year career with Farm Bureau. By 1988, the Farm Bureau county board chose R.C. to manage the insurance agency during a period of tremendous growth which saw the opening of multiple branch offices in Clinton, Byram, and north Jackson.
The most significant event that set the course of R.C.'s life occurred when he met Betty Brown at the seasonal skating rink that came to Utica in the mid 1950's. During their early courtship, his reputation as a well-mannered and hardworking young man impressed her Dudley relatives, the proprietors of the Jitney Jungle store, which helped him win over the parents of the Jackson girl with deep Utica roots. He would soon be making many trips to the Brown residence at the Mississippi School for the Deaf to visit Betty in his shiny red and white 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air. His snazzy car and artful affections won her over, and they were married in Betty's home on December 28, 1958. They began their 61-year marriage in the home R.C. had built for them on the hill where he had grown up. R.C. found contentment once he had Betty by his side, and never found a reason to move from that place.
R.C. was a dedicated elder of the Utica Christian Church, and had attended its satellite church, Griffin Memorial Christian Church, with his parents and grandparents since boyhood. Throughout his life, he served on the church board in numerous capacities, and counted the congregation and clergy there among his closest lifelong friends.
He was a practical man of simple tastes, and valued God's blessings of family, friends, good food, hard work, and taking care of one another above all else. He enjoyed traveling the world with Betty on numerous Farm Bureau sponsored trips, and never stopped feeling humbled and thankful that a country boy like him could visit places like Hong Kong, Rome, and Vienna. But regardless of the exotic destination, he was always happiest to come home to the Scutchalo Hills. He was happiest when gathering with his children and grandchildren, whether attending one of their theatre or dance performances, or partying with them around the firepit or the Christmas tree.
R.C. is survived by his wife, Betty Mobley of Utica, his children; Laura Mobley-Coughran (Kevin) of Utica and Robert C. Mobley Jr. (Vicky) of Bloomington, Indiana, five grandchildren; Preston Williams (Charlene) of Jackson, Erin McLeod (Tommy) of Birmingham, Alabama, Evan Hutson of Eugene, Oregon, Robert C. Mobley III of New York, New York, and Laura Vazquez (Lucas) of Austin, Texas, two great grandchildren, and nieces and nephews.
R.C. was preceded in death by his parents, Preston and Mary E. Mobley, and one sister, Helen Christine Mobley Herren.
The family wishes to thank the team from Encompass Home Hospice as well as Dietra Marshall, Deloris Nevels and Daisy Scott for their kindness, grace, and faithful dedication to his care.
A memorial service will be held at Utica Christian Church in June.
Memorials may be made to Utica Christian Church, 316 E. Main Street, Utica, MS 39175 or The Mustard Seed, 1085 Luckney Road, Brandon, MS 39047.
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