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Carolyn McLendon (1931 - 2013)

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Carolyn Scanlon McLendon

Jackson

Carolyn Scanlon McLendon, 82, died at her home Thursday 24 October 2013, ending a life she considered enlightening, educational, wonderful, fun, altogether remarkable. She never lost her sense of humor.

Two visitation periods and the funeral are scheduled at St. James' Episcopal Church, 3921 Oakridge Drive, Jackson: 5-7 p.m. Sunday 27 October in Fowler Hall, and 9 a.m. Monday in Fowler Hall, followed by funeral services at at 10 a.m. Interment at Lakewood Cemetery follows immediately.

Mrs. McLendon was born in Columbus Miss., to Mary Ezell and Leo Joseph Scanlon on July 15, 1931. The family moved to Houma, La., for 10 years before moving to Jackson in 1942.

She was a 1952 graduate of Mississippi State College for Women (MUW). Her first job was teaching first grade in Meridian. Her first newspaper job was as a feature writer and a columnist for the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. In 1953, she married Donald Wayne Newton; in 1976, the marriage ended in divorce.

In 1955, the couple started Newton Advertising Agency, and Mrs. McLendon wrote and designed advertising for 15 years, during which time she won a first-place national award for the best written and designed advertisement created by a woman, and numerous Mississippi awards for writing and design. She won more than two-dozen first-place awards from the Mississippi Press Association, and a citation from The Associated Press for outstanding reporting.

In 1970, Mississippi Educational Television (MPB) invited her to join its staff to create a statewide Friends group to promote awareness of programming and to secure adequate state funding.

In 1977, she became manager (president) of the Jackson Symphony Orchestra Association. During her 8-year tenure, her grant-writing ability raised $500,000, and she played a paramount role in tripling the Symphony income that led to the employment of more full-time professional musicians, performing concerts throughout the state, and enhancing educational programs in Jackson public schools. These activities helped the Jackson Symphony League win five national awards. In 1982, she was keynote speaker at the National Symphony Association convention in Washington D.C.

During those years, she worked several part-time jobs: edited Mississippi Libraries, a publication of the Mississippi Library Commission and the Mississippi Library Association, and the Mississippi Episcopalian, the monthly diocesan newspaper; coauthored Meet Mississippi, and the Mississippi tourism guide for the Department of Tourism, and authored Outdoor Mississippi.

An award-winning photographer, she enjoyed visiting family and friends, traveling, reading, and gardening.

In 1985, she left the Symphony and founded and became president of Southern Tours. Originally, this company provided tours for convention groups in Jackson. Within a few years, it had among its clients a large bank with branches throughout Mississippi and Louisiana, alumni groups, arts groups, the Delta Queen, and the Mississippi Department of Tourism. During the next 15 years, the company conducted more than 50 tours a year throughout the United States, Europe, and Canada.

She belonged to most of the cultural organizations and to three women's social groups in Jackson. She was an active member of St. James' Episcopal Church where she completed its Education for Ministry program, taught Sunday school for seven years, and served as president of Women of the Church.

In 1982, she married Martin McLendon, and their happy union lasted until his death in 1987.

In 2008, she exchanged vows in St. James' Episcopal Church with Dr. Douglas P, Starr, a family friend of 55 years. They met while he was an Associated Press newsman during the civil rights era, and the Newtons and the Starrs became best friends. He is professor emeritus of Texas A&M University.

Mrs. McLendon, who wrote this obituary said that it would have been much shorter had it not been for Dr. Starr, who insisted that she include details of her accomplishments in her various employments, since, he said, she seldom discussed them.

In addition to Dr. Starr, she is survived by her three children: Anne Newton Karges (Wilson) of Brandon and her children, Matthew McGuire (Megan), Mason McGuire, Olivia Cote, Alex Cote, Wyatt Cote, and Matthew's children, Meah and Silas McGuire; Don Newton Jr. of Ridgeland; and Scott Newton of Ridgeland and his children, Katie Newton, Abby Newton, and Caroline Newton; and one brother Patrick H. Scanlon Sr. (Carlene) of Jackson. An older brother, Dr. Leo J. Scanlon Jr., is deceased.

Other survivors include eight nieces and nephews and their spouses, and two cousins, Dr. Chester McKee, formerly of Mississippi State University and now of Colorado, and Anne Roberts of Columbus, Miss.

Recently, Mrs. McLendon said to her minister, "About the time you get life all figured out, it's time to go"; to which her minister replied, "That's the way it works."

Mrs. McLendon thanks all of her family and friends for their generosity for caring for her and loving her and for being with her these years. "I have had a good life," she said.

In lieu of flowers, the family asked that contributions be made to the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra in Jackson.

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Published in Clarion Ledger on Oct. 27, 2013
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