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R. Forest Persons

March 27, 1940 – Jan. 15, 2020


NATCHEZ– Services for Forest Persons, 79, of Natchez, who died Wednesday, Jan.15, 2020, will be 2 p.m. Sunday at First Baptist Church in Natchez with the Rev. Dan Ratcliff officiating.

Burial will follow at Greenlawn Memorial Park under the direction of Laird Funeral Home.

Visitation will be from 1p.m. until service time Sunday at First Baptist Church.

Forest was born March 27, 1940, in Little Rock, Arkansas, the son of T.D. and Florence Persons.

He was a 1958 graduate of Gulfport High School and went on to graduate from Mississippi State University in 1962 with a degree in electrical engineering. He was hired by Entergy Mississippi (MP&L), and worked all over the state of Mississippi for 41 years.  His career sent him to Greenville, Clarksdale, Vicksburg, McComb, Jackson and Natchez.  He retired in 2003, after serving as the district manager in Natchez for more than 20 years.

He was an active member of First Baptist Church where he served as chairman of several committees.

Forest’s involvement in The Boy Scouts of America led him to serve as vice president of the area Boy Scout Council, as well as the district chairman. He continued to volunteer on the Boy Scout Executive Board and was presented the Silver Beaver Award and the BSA District Award of Merit for his service.

He was on the executive board and served as the Chairman of Natchez Chapter of the Red Cross.  He was a past president of the Natchez Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Industrial Foundation.  He served on the Governor’s Advisory Council for JTPA, the Co-Lin Advisory Council, and the SBA Advisory Board as a member and a chairman.

He volunteered as a board member for the following organizations: Natchez-Adams County E&CDA, Mississippi Economic Council, Alcorn State University Foundation, Natchez Community Hospital and Natchez Merit Hospital.

He was greatly involved in Rotary International. As a member of the Natchez club, he served in a number of roles, including secretary, president and board of directors. He held the office of District Governor for Rotary District 6820 and was the Natchez Club Administrator for the last 15 years.

For his efforts throughout the many organizations in which he was involved, Forest was recognized with the following: Mississippi Industrial Board-Industrial Laureate, MEDC Volunteer of the Year Award and Governor’s Initiative for Volunteer Excellence.

His community service was so impactful that he was named Natchezian of the Year in 1997 and Natchez Citizen of the Year in 2004.

He was preceded in death by his parents; one son, Rodney Persons Jr.; and one daughter, Diane Persons Forrest.

Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Barbara Cartrett Persons; one grandson, Jason McCoy of Memphis, Tennessee; one great-grandson, Ethan McCoy of Memphis; one sister, Annie Bess Saul and husband, TK, of Clinton; one brother, Tom Persons and wife, Linda, of San Antonio, Texas; one sister-in-law, Carolyn Cartrett Craddock of Plano, Texas; best friend, Jack Spradling and wife, Judy, of Florence; and a number of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Pallbearers will be friends of the family.

Honorary pallbearers will be the members of the Natchez Rotary Club, the Bill Rice Sunday School Class, and longtime friends, Gerald Regal, Herman Cooper, John Hester, George Maxwell and Kenneth Moss.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at lairdfh.com.