Jane "Janie" Morris Estrada
November 27, 1935-March 9, 2013
Jane "Janie" Morris Estrada, a descendant of the pioneer Morris and Harkness families of the Gulf Coast, led her last parade through downtown Gulfport this week. She called the band to attention and quietly passed on March 9, 2013, in Gulfport. She will be forever missed by family and loved ones. She was born on November 27, 1935 at the Kings Daughters Hospital in Gulfport, and was a resident of Gulfport for most of her life. Jane was a 1953 graduate of Gulfport High School and was one of three Morris sisters to be head drum majorette of the Gulfport High School band. She was a champion baton twirler, and she and her sisters introduced fire baton twirling to the state of Mississippi. In national competition, she was the Midwest Fire Baton champion.
At Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Jane was the first to serve as the head Perkette for two terms, and was Miss Perkinston Jr. College and the Annual Ball Duchess. She was also an editor of the Bull Dog Barks newspaper. Jane graduated in 1955 from Perk and received Elementary and Secondary Degrees in Education in 1958 from the University of Southern Mississippi, where she was a columnist for the USM student newspaper. After the death of her husband, Jim, she moved to Hattiesburg with her four children and received a Masters of Education from USM.
Jane was the widow of USAF Captain James Peter Estrada, who was killed at the age of 28 in a B-58 Hustler supersonic jet, which was the first bomber to reach Mach Two. She was President and a lifetime member of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Gold Star Wives, an organization chartered by the U.S. Congress for those whose husbands died on active duty in the U.S. armed services.
Mrs. Estrada was preceded in death by her parents John Harkness Morris and Rosie Smith Morris and her brothers Chancery Judge John S. Morris and U.S. Staff Sgt. David Harkness Morris, USAF, her great aunts Stella and Mae Harkness, an uncle, Gaston Robertson, Jr. and a sister Mary Elizabeth Morris, mother-in-law Angela Franquet Estrada and two beloved brother-in-laws, Dr. David Kelly and Shannon Slyfield. She is survived by her children Tenderly (Tom) Reininger, Angela Estrada (Ed Moleski), Alison Estrada and James Powell (Jan) Estrada.
Also surviving her are her grandchildren Evan Moleski, James Estrada, Jacob Estrada, Justin Dougherty and Kate Dougherty, and sisters Tommye LaNell Kelly of Austin, Texas and Rosie Slyfield of Mary Esther, Florida.
Mrs. Estrada served over 35 years as a teacher and a principal in Mississippi, Oklahoma and Indiana. She completed her teaching career from the Biloxi Public Schools in 1995. In 1985-86, she was selected as Teacher of the Year for the state of Mississippi by MPSEA private schools. In 1990, she was selected by former students for the initial edition of Who's Who Among American Teachers.
As a college student, Jane worked in Washington D.C. for Meyers & Batzell, Attorneys and the AAA D.C. district. Her first job upon graduation from college was with Sam Owen at his realty office in Gulfport. She worked also in the law office of her brother John S. Morris.
She was a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority at USM and a member of Kappa Delta Phi Educational Sorority. Her professional memberships included Past President, Harrison County Association of Educators, District 6, Mississippi Association of Educators, former Board member of MAE, seven year elected delegate to the National Education Association, President and Woman of the Year for the American Business Women's Association, a 50 year member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Past Royal Matron and Deputy Supreme Royal Matron of the Masonic Organization Order of the Amaranth, Past President of the Biloxi Education Association, appointed officer of the Coast Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. While serving as a leader of both Junior and Cadette troops of the Girl Scouts of America, Mrs. Estrada integrated the first Girl Scout troop in Gulfport.
She served on the Harrison County Democratic Executive Committee with Lucimarian Roberts, which was one of her greatest honors. She was a speaker on behalf of the mentor programs for disadvantaged children. In addition, at night she taught adults to read,after having taught school during the day.
Jane was a wonderful mother, daughter and teacher. After the death of her husband, she raised four children on her own, and sent them all to college. She was actively involved in the lives of her children, and took care of her mother in later years.
Mrs. Estrada lived her bucket list. After traveling extensively in the United States and Canada as a teacher, her sister Rosie took her on trip to Europe. She leaned on the Tower of Pisa, prayed at the Vatican, saw the blue birds over the White Cliffs of Dover, threw three coins in the Trevi Fountain in Rome, touched the feet of "The David" in Florence and smiled at the Mona Lisa. She rode the lifts in Switzerland and turned the windmills in Amsterdam.
A member of First Baptist Church of Gulfport for 70 years, she was converted and joined St. Thomas Catholic Church in Long Beach after a close relationship with the Holy Mother Mary. As a Baptist, she went to Satillo Mission in Mexico when Father Quin was there, and he is now being considered for sainthood by the Catholic Church. Father Quin named Jane "The Babolic", a Baptist who travels with Catholics.
Friends and relatives will be received from 9-11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 16th at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Long Beach. A graveside service will follow at 11:30 a.m. officiated by Father Louis Lohan at Southern Memorial Park, where Jane will be laid to rest by her beloved husband, Jim.
The family wishes to thank the many wonderful doctors who helped Jane through her illness, especially Dr. David LaRosa, Dr. Edwin Davidson and Dr. Fred Pakron. They also wish to give thanks for the prayers of Father Louis Lohan, Father Pete Mockler and others, the many friends who gave of themselves, Deaconess Home Care and Cannon Hospice.
In lieu of flowers, people wishing to donate may contribute to St. Thomas Catholic Church, Saltillo Mission, c/o St. Thomas Catholic Church, 712 E. Beach Blvd. Long Beach, MS 39560 or The Gold Star Wives of America, 200 N. Glebe Road Suite 425, Arlington, VA 22203.
Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Home, 15th Street, Gulfport is in charge of arrangements. View and sign register book at www.bradfordokeefe.com
Published in The Sun Herald on Mar. 14, 2013