Sen. Vincent G. Scoper
Senator Vincent Gradie Scoper, 81, died at his home in Laurel, MS, on Sunday, September 14, 2014 of esophageal cancer. He was surrounded by family as a peaceful transition was made to be with his Lord Jesus Christ. Funeral services will be held at First Baptist Church, Laurel, MS on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 2:00 pm followed by a graveside service at Lake Park Cemetery. Visitation will be held the evening before on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 from 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm at Memory Chapel Funeral Home in Laurel.
Born May 15, 1933 in Pass Christian, MS to Vincent Gradie Scoper, Sr. and Bertha Scarborough Scoper, young Scoper was an outstanding student and star athlete at Pass Christian High School, Perkinston Community College and Mississippi State University.
Vincent Scoper will always be remembered as a man of character and kindness. Former colleagues in the Mississippi House of Representatives and the Mississippi State Senate, members of his church and his profession have always spoken of him as an honorable man who was respected by all. He was a statesman, politician, business owner, church leader, author and athlete. But more importantly, he was truly a man of God. He never hesitated in expressing his faith through teaching a Men's Bible Class, serving as Sunday School Director and a deacon at First Baptist Church of Laurel. He also served as the Moderator of the Jones County Baptist Association.
Scoper was a self-made man, being the first of his family's generation to earn a college degree. He excelled in baseball, football, golf and tennis and was ranked #1 on the Mississippi State University Tennis Team. Upon his graduation in 1955, he was honored with the MSU Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for Character and Scholastic Achievement.
After graduating from Mississippi State University with a B.S. in Geology, he married the former Dell Thompson Dickins of Leland, MS and they moved to Grande Isle, LA for his first position as a petroleum geologist with Humble Oil Company (later Exxon). They were later transferred to Laurel where they started their family, having two children, Stephen and Cynthia. When asked by Humble Oil to transfer away from Laurel, Vince and Dell made a conscious decision to stay and make Laurel their home. Vincent began work as a consulting petroleum geologist and in 1972, bought Mississippi Gauge and Supply Company. Having a strong work ethic all of his life, he continued to work full time up until three weeks before his death.
To fill a need in helping laymen understand the technicalities of the oil industry, Scoper wrote Come Drill a Well in My Backyard. Since its publication in the late 1960's, orders are still coming in with over 75,000 copies sold.
Senator Scoper began his political career in 1968 when he was elected as a Jones County Election Commissioner, becoming the first elected Republican since Civil War Reconstruction and laying the ground work for the present day Republican Party in Jones County and Mississippi. He served 28 years in the Mississippi State Legislature; two terms in the House of Representatives and five terms in the Mississippi State Senate. Scoper spent his entire Senate career on the Oil & Gas Committee, serving as Vice-chairman and Chairmen. Working for the betterment of the state of Mississippi, he served on the following House and Senate Committees: Finance, Forestry, Constitution, Highways, Labor, Environment, Public Property, Public Utilities, Municipal Fees, Salaries, and Banking. The Nixon administration appointed him to the U.S Department of Transportation's National Citizens Advisory Committee on Quality Transportation. During Governor Fordice's Administration he was appointed to serve on the National Energy Council which is made up of 10 countries in North and South America.
Besides being a champion of the oil industry, Scoper was also a champion for the civic progress of Laurel and all communities in Jones County. He served as Campaign Chair and then as President of the United Way of Jones County. He was a member of the Laurel Rotary Club and served on the Executive Committee of the Jones County Republican Party. Scoper spoke fondly of receiving the "Citizen of the Year" Award for Laurel in 2003. "I enjoyed having a hand in working on the future of our community and state" he said at the time.
Vince Scoper was an avid and accomplished golfer his entire life. He enjoyed his status of being the oldest active golfer at the Laurel Country Club.
He was preceded in death by his father, Vincent Gradie Scoper, Sr.; his mother, Bertha Scarborough Scoper; his brother, Gordon A. Scoper; his brother and sister-in-law, Gerald L. Scoper and Gayle Scoper.
He is survived by his wife, Dell Dickins Scoper; his son and daughter-in-law, Stephen V. Scoper, MD and Nancy P. Scoper of Virginia Beach; his daughter and son-in-law, Cynthia D. Scoper Folmar and David S. Folmar of Dallas; his sister-in-law, Kathryn S. Scoper; his sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Dorothy Dickins O'Neill and Thomas R. O'Neill; six grandchildren: Elizabeth P. Scoper, Julia B. Scoper, Gradie G. Folmar, Stokes S. Folmar, Laurel D. Folmar, Tatum J. Folmar; and seven nephews and nieces: Scott G. Scoper, Genie Scoper Howard, Kristin Scoper Hopper, Wendy Scoper O'Connor, Shannon Scoper Keute, John D. O'Neill and Jennifer D. Brammell.
Pallbearers will be Gradie Folmar, Stokes Folmar, Scott Scoper, Roy Ward, James Holifield, Terry Caves, Carey Hauenstein, Eric Lindstrom, MD, and Mark Horne, MD.
Memorial gifts may be sent to the First Baptist Church of Laurel Foundation, the Mississippi Baptist Disaster Relief, and the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art.
Memory Chapel is in charge of the arrangements. To view and sign the family guest book, visit www.memorychapellaurel.com