Dr. James H. McPhail, E.Ed.
Dr. James H. McPhail, 83, died Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013, at Wesley Medical Center in Hattiesburg, Miss. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m., Thursday, April 4, 2013, at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Hattiesburg, with graveside services following at Highland Park Cemetery. Visitation will be Wednesday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at St. Thomas.
Dr. McPhail was born in Neshoba County, Miss., on March 14, 1930. He graduated from Longino High School in Philadelphia, Miss., in 1948. In 1952, he received his BS in Business Education, and in 1958, his MA in Health, Physical Education and Recreation, both from the University of Southern Mississippi (formerly Mississippi Southern College.) He received his doctorate in Education from Boston University in Boston, Mass., in 1962. He taught for many years at the University of Southern Mississippi, first as faculty, then as chair of the Department of Educational Administration and Research, and finally as director of the Institute for Educational Leadership until his retirement in 1985, after which he spent many years pursuing local business interests. He is an inductee into the USM Alumni Hall of Fame and a member of the USM Foundation's Black and Gold Society.
Dr. McPhail's career is notable for the education of many administrators who went on to serve with distinction in school districts throughout Mississippi, and for his role in working to facilitate relations between school districts and the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare during the implementation of court-ordered desegregation in the early 1970's. His calm and conciliatory nature, administrative expertise and identity as a native Mississippian helped defuse many potentially confrontational situations and helped school districts transition to the new realities of desegregated education in Mississippi.
He served in the U.S. Army Security Agency in Massachusetts from 1952-54, where he met his future wife, the former Patricia Dyer.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Patricia; four sons, Barry McPhail of Mobile, Ala., Brian McPhail of Hattiesburg, Steven McPhail of Baton Rouge, La., and Kent McPhail of Mobile; two brothers, Gene McPhail and Jerry McPhail; seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren; as well as a large extended family.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Shriners Hospital for Children -- St. Louis, 2001 S. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63131 or www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org