FULTON – Millard Wright Summerford, 87, died Friday, July 18, 2014, at the North Mississippi Medical Center. He was born July 4, 1927, in Fulton to the late Lonie Whitehead Summerford and James Right Summerford. He left IAHS where he was a star football player to join the Navy, but was too young. While waiting, he worked at Waterman Steamship Corporation in Mobile, Ala., where he, at the age of 16, learned to weld. He served in the Navy during WWII
. After his Navy service, he worked at Walker Radiator Works in Memphis, Tenn., where he designed, built, and repaired radiators. In 1963, he opened Summerford Radiator Service in Fulton.
He married Hazel Hardin in 1945 and had two children, Garry and Laura. He was a member of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis. He enjoyed gardening, yard work, and spending time with his family and friends. He never met a stranger and loved to tell many stories of his childhood in Fulton, his service in the Navy, his years at Walker Radiator Works next door to Sun Studios in Memphis from 1950-55 when history was made, and his years at Summerford Radiator. He lived his life with faith, honesty, compassion, hard work, and incredible strength that he continued during his recent battle with bone marrow cancer. He was a member of the "Greatest Generation."
Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday, July 21, at the McNeece-Morris Funeral Home Chapel in Fulton with Bro. Dewitt Bain and Bro. Howard Pearce officiating. Burial will be in Itawamba Memorial Gardens.
Survivors include his daughter, Laura Summerford; his granddaughter, April Ford Beasley, both of Fulton; his grandson, Will Summerford (Nami) of Gulfport; a special niece, Betty Paire, of Cordova, Tenn.; several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Hazel Hardin Summerford; his son, Garry W. Summerford; his parents, Jim and Lonie Summerford; two brothers, Casper and Burlee Summerford; and four sisters, Verdie Reed, Audra Pierce, Ema Lou Johnson and Exel Landreneau.
Pallbearers will be Phillip Pitts, Wayne Thorn, Larry Pate, Wayne Spencer, Boyce McNeece, and Gary Coleman.
Honorary pallbearer will be his dear friend, Wayne Miles.
Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. today at the funeral home.
Online condolences may be shared at mcneecefuneralhome.com.