Samuel Matthew Bailey Jr.
October 2, 1942 – October 28, 2022
Funeral services for Samuel Matthew Bailey Jr. “Sam”, 80, of Natchez, MS who left this earthly home on October 28, 2022, at his residence, were held on Wednesday, November 2, 2022, at The First Church of Natchez with Rev. James Johnson, Rev. Tim Mahoney and Rev. Jerry Dillon officiating, burial followed at Greenlawn Memorial Park Cemetery under the direction of Marshall Funeral Home.
Samuel Matthew Bailey Jr., “Sam” was born in Mobile, Alabama on October 2, 1942, and was called Home on October 28, 2022.
In the early 60s, Sam began playing country music and singing with Don Wiley and The Catahoula Boys. He played the lead guitar and the Steel guitar in the band. Sam traveled with the group playing at many venues such as the Louisiana Hayride, TV shows, and radio stations.
In the early 70s, Sam began to turn to Southern Gospel music as he began to live for God. His musical and singing talents have been heard across the states. He has opened many concerts for numerous groups such as The McGruders, The Hinsons, and many others. Sam’s weekends were filled with traveling to churches with his group, Samuel and the Saints, to sing and worship.
In his later years, Sam enjoyed singing locally at the Delta Music Festival Museum. Until his health interfered, a person could find him at the Sam Bailey Gospel Show smiling and singing every month.
Sam has always worked hard for his family. His career has been as a Dragline Operator for LT Brown, a millwright at Armstrong Tire co. for 23 years, and owner of local business A1 Port-A-Can for the past 35 years. He was also certified in rebuilding diesel fuel injector pumps. This was something he was determined to accomplish and did so in the last 15 years.
Anyone that was around Sam for very long knew he loved his family and singing for the Lord. His smile while singing and praising God left no doubt!
Special thanks to Lucille Smith, Deaconess Hospice Care, and our friends and family for the care and support given over the past months. We appreciate each and every one of you dearly.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Samuel Bailey Sr. And Mavis Adams Wood. Brother-in-law W.T. Welch and brother-in-law N.G. “Gail” Smith.
He leaves to cherish his memories, his loving wife, Sandra Smith Bailey of Natchez, MS.; his Son, David Bailey and wife Renita of Natchez, MS.; his daughter, Cherie Fuqua of Jonesville; four sisters, Erlene Brice and husband Roy of Delhi, Shirley Welch of Minden, Ruth Bass and husband Dale of Baton Rouge, and Brenda Wildman and husband DeWayne of Vicksburg, MS; one brother, Johnny Wood of Baton Rouge; seven grandchildren, Dave Bailey and wife Sarah of Ragley, Derrick Bailey of Houston, TX, Megan Walters and husband Allen of Houston, TX, Jeffrey Fuqua Jr. and Jadah of Harrisonburg, Bailey Franklin and husband Billy of Jonesville, Hannah Ryan and Lamar of Natchez, MS, and Charli Bailey of Ball; seven great-grandchildren, Cole Bailey, Natalie Bailey, AJ Walters, Andrew Walters, Ryleigh Harper, Colt Harper, and Amelia Fuqua; and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends
Pallbearers were Dave Bailey, Derrick Bailey, Jeffrey Fuqua, Allen Walters, Blaine Lee, Jeffrey Lee, Dwayne Gill, and Lorenzo Rogers. Honorary pallbearers were Robert Brown, Adam Welch, Carl Dunn, Charlie Moore, Buz Craft, Billy Franklin, and Lamar Clanton.
Pamela Kay Brown
Funeral services for Pamela Kay Brown, 69, of Jonesville, were held Saturday, October 29, 2022, at Utility Baptist Church with Bro. Chad Franklin officiating. Interment followed at Oak Grove Cemetery, in Manifest, under the direction of Young's Funeral Home, Jonesville.
Pamela was born on Sunday, August 30, 1953, in Larto, and passed away Tuesday, October 25, 2022, at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans.
Janice White Crochet
Funeral services for Janice White Crochet, 62, of Ferriday, will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, November 3, 2022 at Crossbridge Church in Ferriday. Interment will follow at Harrisonburg Cemetery, under the direction of Young’s Funeral Home.
The family will receive friends from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Wednesday, November 2, at Crossbridge Church
Rev. Charles Roy Curry
Rev. Charles Roy Curry, 73 years of age, was born October 4, 1949, to Rev. Mayo E. and Laura M. Cotton Curry of Delhi. Jesus, our Savior, called him home on Tuesday, October 25, 2022.
Funeral services for Rev. Curry will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, November 5, 2022, at the Pentecostals of the Miss-Lou (7280 Hwy 84 Ferriday, LA 71334). The family will receive friends from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 5, 2022. Interment will follow at Harrisonburg Cemetery in Harrisonburg, under the direction of Young's Funeral Home.
Rev. Curry was known to most as “Charlie”, but he had many beloved titles: of these Daddy, Pop, PawPaw, Uncle Charlie, Bishop, and Pastor. All of these titles were given out of love and respect, but his true heartbeat was telling and showing people he came in contact with the love and gospel of Jesus Christ every day. He loved to share the word of God with everyone he met. Because of this true calling, he came to a “foreign field”, a land without family, to found and Pastor Christian Revival Center in Reisterstown, Maryland for the last 40 years.
Rev. Curry was a licensed minister with United Pentecostal Church International for 48 years. In these 48 years, he held many offices such as Home Missions Director, Presbyter, Men’s Ministry Director, Pastor, and Bishop.
The many lives that were changed because he came and shared his heartbeat only time will tell. Rev. Curry was a “builder of men”. He would take those no one wanted and invest time into building their character through God’s word. He always led by example. He was the kindest, most long-suffering man of God to so many. Oh, the stories he could tell, and though God gave us a beautiful life of 73 years, it’s never quite long enough.
Our beloved “Charlie” leaves behind him a clear path for us to follow. He leaves many cherished memories and stories. Those who remain to follow, a devoted wife of 52 years, Alfreida Boothe Curry. Three children, Laura Dionne Curry of Reisterstown, MD, “mine only son”, as Charlie would say, Rev. Chad Anthony Curry, wife Melissa of Reisterstown, MD, and Amy Denise Curry of York, PA. His four spoiled grandchildren, Jack Riley Hudspeth, Tara Grace Hudspeth, Kyla Roxanne Curry and Bristol Rose Curry all of Reisterstown, MD. A sister, Clara M. Curry Elliott, husband James, of Jena. A brother, Bill Cotton, wife Maudella of Sicily Island, and a host of nieces, nephews and friends.
Rev. Curry was preceded in death by his parents, Rev. Mayo E. and Laura M. Cotten Curry; five brothers, Earl, Sherman, Solon (a.k.a. “Peanut”), Jerry and Mack Curry, and one sister, Katherine Curry Mills.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that monetary offerings be directed to Christian Revival Center Building Fund. https://Crc.churchtrac.com/give
Jerry Lee Lewis
Somewhere in the world, in a mean little honky-tonk or big music hall or church basement rec room, someone is playing a Jerry Lee Lewis song. Wherever there is a piano, someone is shouting…
You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain
Too much love drives a man insane…
“But they won’t play it like the Killer,” Lewis liked to say, as if he needed to make sure the whole world was hearing him right, hearing the pounding genius of it, in songs like “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Breathless” and “Great Balls of Fire.”
“’Cause,” he liked to say, “ain’t but one of me.”
You broke my will
But what a thrill…
Lewis, perhaps the last true, great icon of the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, whose marriage of blues, gospel, country, honky-tonk and raw, pounding stage performances so threatened a young Elvis Presley that it made him cry, has died.
He was there at the beginning, with Elvis, Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Carl Perkins, Fats Domino, Buddy Holly, and the rest, and watched them fade away one by one till it was him alone to bear witness, and sing of the birth of rock ‘n’ roll.
“Who would have thought,” he said, near the end of his days, “it would be me?”
Goodness gracious, great balls of fire!
He suffered through the last years of his life from various illnesses and injuries that, his physicians have often said, should have taken him decades ago; he had abused his body so thoroughly as a young man he was given little chance of lasting through middle age, let alone old age.
“He is ready to leave,” his wife Judith said, just before his death.
Lewis, who performed everything from “Over the Rainbow” to Al Jolson, who played the Opry and the Apollo and even Shakespeare, was 87 years old.
Some music historians have wondered if Lewis, regarded by his fans and many music historians as rock’s first, great wild man, might be indestructible; his obituary has been written, re-written, then shelved, gathering dust for a day that seemed inevitable, but seemed to never come. He defied death in his old age just as he shrugged off the hard-driving, self-destructive lifestyle of his younger years, to play his music to a worldwide audience across seven decades, decorate the walls of his home with Grammys and gold records, and spawn a million outrageous stories -- most of them true.
Once, when asked by a biographer: “Is it true that…”
“Yeah,” interrupted Lewis, without waiting to hear the particulars, “it probably was.”
His beginnings sounded like myth. His father, Elmo, and mother, Mamie, mortgaged their farm to buy him a piano, after he climbed onto a piano bench and, without ever having touched a keyboard before, began to play. His nickname, Killer, had nothing to do with his playing, but came from a schoolroom fight in Ferriday when he tried to choke a grown man with his own necktie; still, it fit the man, the musician to come, but there was more to him than a barroom piano pounder who sometimes kept a pistol in his pants.
Musicians and music journalists called him a true virtuoso, whose music was so rich and complex that some of them swore there were two pianos on stage instead of one. He played honky-tonk and blues across the same keyboard in the same instant, could play melody with both hands. He sang rockabilly before he knew it had a name, sang blues, gospel and country in the same set and sometimes the same breath, to become No. 24 on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Sam Phillips, who launched the careers of Elvis and Lewis at Sun Records in Memphis, called Lewis the most talented person he had ever seen. A talent that made him one of the very few to be inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s first class in 1986 and, most recently this past week, at long last, into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
As Lewis stacked hits on the charts in ’57 and Elvis received his draft notice, the reigning king of rock ‘n’ roll drove to Sun Records in tears, to tell Lewis: “You can have it.”
But if Jerry Lee’s life was a comet that streaked across the sky of American music, it was also a thing that scorched him inside and out, and so many of the people around him.
Judith, his seventh wife, was by his side when he passed away at his home in Desoto County, Mississippi, south of Memphis. He told her, in his final days, that he welcomed the hereafter, and that he was not afraid.
Born into the Assembly of God church in his hometown of Ferriday, Louisiana, he never stopped believing, even when his lifestyle made the specter of hell seem closer. His greatest fear, that he would be condemned to a lake of fire for playing what many in his Pentecostal faith called “the devil’s music,” haunted him. He shared his fear with Elvis, who begged him to never mention it again. Lewis thought Elvis, also a Pentecostal, was the one person who might understand, but he died in ’77, leaving Lewis to wonder, alone.
He had prayed every day across his long life for forgiveness, and for salvation. His was a church that believed in miracles; why, he sometimes wondered, should he not be one of them? He found peace near the end of his life in a simple idea: that a music that brought such joy to so many could only come from God, “and the devil,” he said, “didn’t have nothin’ to do with it.”
“He said he was ready to be with Jesus,” said Judith.
His last album was a gospel record with his cousin, lifetime televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, who had preached against his music when they were younger. In Jerry Lee’s final months, they took turns at the keyboard, singing songs they learned as children: “Old Rugged Cross” and “Lily of the Valley” and “In the Garden.” Lewis, though his voice and body were weakened by his injury and a recent stroke, seemed happy, content.
Much of his life, Lewis had seemed determined to leave the world in the great fire he sang about. He set pianos ablaze, busted hecklers in the head with the butt-end of his microphone stand and rammed the gates of Graceland with his Rolls Royce. He shot holes in the wall of his Memphis office with a .38 revolver, shot his bass player in the chest, “by accident,” with a .357. His life, at different times, was a blur of high-speed chases and Crown Royal. The DEA met his planes on the runway. Fortunes came and went; all the wild rock musicians who came after him, he said, were mostly amateurs. Keith Richards tried to toss up a bottle of Crown Royal and catch it by the neck, like him, “but he never did it right … wasted a bunch of good liquor.”
But if you asked him, in his waning years, what he hoped people would say about him, he had a simple answer.
“You can tell ‘em I played the piano and sang rock ‘n’ roll.”
His career, like his body, seemed doomed a dozen times.
After soaring to the top of the charts in ’57 with songs like “Shakin’” and “High School Confidential,” he was castigated in the press for his marriage to his 13-year-old cousin, Myra. His rock’n’ roll star seemed to burn out even as it began to rise, and after a few big hits in the early 1960s his career seemed to be over. He responded by loading two cars with instruments and musicians and hitting the road, to play some big rooms, still, but also every honky-tonk and beer joint that would pay him to perform. He fought his way out of beer joints in Iowa, then drove all night and all day to another town and another show.
Sometimes he gave them magic and sometimes, if the mood was on him, he gave them less, but in his old age he swore he gave them the magic all the time. In ’64, record producers taped his show at a Hamburg, Germany, nightclub and made what would become music history. Live at the Star Club would be regarded as one the rawest, wildest, and greatest live albums of all time.
Then, in a twist that surprised many of his rock fans, Jerry Lee Lewis went country. “Another Place, Another Time,” was just the beginning of a string of soulful country chart-toppers that made him rich and famous all over again. He had more than 30 songs reach Billboard’s Top 10, including “To Make Love Sweeter for You” and a haunting “Would You Take Another Chance on Me.” It seemed only natural to Jerry Lee. He had always believed that Hank Williams hung the moon.
In this new stardom he finally played the Grand Ole Opry, the organization that had once snubbed him, and ignored the two-song protocol to play what and for long as he pleased, even playing through the commercials. Then, in perhaps the oddest twist of his musical career, he was cast as Shakespeare’s sinister Iago in a musical production in Los Angeles; he was a natural.
Once again, he flew around the world, sometimes on his own plane, and once again his lifestyle made almost as many headlines as his music. Tragedy followed him; he buried two sons. His health began to fail, marriages failed, but somehow he always rallied, always kept playing, for big paydays, or for free in a Memphis nightclub, living the life he sang about in his songs.
In 2006, his Last Man Standing album sold a million copies, his best-selling album of his long career. He followed that with another success, Mean Ol’ Man. You could hear the ghosts of the old honky-tonks in them, as if Jerry Lee Lewis had, truly, found a way to stop time. He did a duet with Springsteen.
His Lifetime Achievement Grammy was a kind of crowning achievement, and he appeared at Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame shows to accept his due and to school the whippersnappers on how it was done.
In 2012, when he was 76, he fell in love and married Judith, and they lived quietly – quietly for Jerry Lee Lewis – in northern Mississippi, though Lewis continued to do shows here in the U.S. and abroad. That year they took a trip to Ferriday to visit the family cemetery, and to drive across the bridge to Natchez where, as a boy, Jerry Lee used to dangle over the girders high above the brown water of the Mississippi and the passing boats below. The other boys begged him to get down, but he just hung there, grinning, till they were in tears. When asked if he was scared, a lifetime later, he just looked surprised. The Killer didn’t get scared. But looking down at the river as an old man, he said he might have been crazy.
Later, they drove past the church where he beat the piano to pieces with his cousins Swaggart and Mickey Gilley, who would go on to country music stardom, pounding a little blues and honky-tonk into the hymns they were supposed to be practicing.
Just across town from the tiny church had once stood the other temple of his musical education, a blues joint called Haney’s Big House, where some of the biggest acts in the country came to play. As a little boy, he snuck in the door and hid under the tables to hear rolling blues piano and wicked guitar. And somewhere in between it all, between the hymnals and the beer joints, between Hank Williams and Ray Charles, he found something that was his alone. It was always a waste of breath to ask if he had any regrets.
He had a million, and he had none. It all just depended on the song that was running through his head at the time.
“I’ve had an interesting life,” he said, in his 2014 biography, “haven’t I?”
Written by Rick Bragg
Jerry Lee Lewis is survived by his wife, Judith Coghlan Lewis, his children Jerry Lee Lewis III, Ronnie Lewis, Pheobe Lewis and Lori Lancaster, sister Linda Gail Lewis, cousin Jimmy Swaggart and many grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Elmo and Mamie Lewis, sons Steve Allen Lewis and Jerry Lee Lewis Jr., his siblings Elmo Lewis Jr. and Frankie Jean Lewis and his cousin Mickey Gilley.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, November 5, 2022, at Young's Funeral Home in Ferriday. A private burial will follow. Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until service time. A celebration of Jerry Lee's life will be held at 1 p.m. at the Arcade Theater in Ferriday.
In lieu of flowers, the Lewis family requests donations be made in Jerry Lee Lewis' honor to the Arthritis Foundation or MusiCares - the non-profit foundation of the GRAMMYs / National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.