Oliver Funeral Home of Winona, Inc.
|"Our family serving your family for four generations"
Gene P. "Mac" McPhail
(March 26, 1919 - May 19, 2017)
Gene Purvis McPhail, one of a few surviving WWII veterans and a member of the Greatest Generation, passed away quietly at his home in
Winona, Mississippi on Friday, May 19, 2017. A graveside Military service is set for Monday, May 22, at 11:30a.m. Visitation will be 9:30-11a.
m. on Monday at Oliver Funeral Home, Winona, MS.
Born March 26, 1919, in Slate Springs, MS, to parents Charles David and Ida Lee Currington McPhail Mr. Mac (as he would later be called)
witnessed unfathomable changes in the world during his 98 years (35,848 days) of life. An only child, Purvis (his childhood name), grew up
with his hard-working parents in rural Mississippi at a time when running water and electricity in the home and automobiles were a scarcity
and all the food on the table was grown and harvested on the family farm. Television, telephones, indoor plumbing or heat and air in the
home were not part of his childhood experience.
In 1940 Gene (first names were typical in the Army) enlisted in the Mississippi National Guard because he knew he was going to be drafted
into service for WWII and he wanted to serve with guys from “his neck of the woods”. He soon became one of the 16 million troops who
would serve our country. In 1942 Gene P. McPhail; Serial # 20424140; Sergeant Technician, 31st Dixie Division, 114 Field Artillery Battalion
was deployed to Morotai, New Guinea in the Pacific arena where he would spend most of his wartime experience. Shortly after the Division
moved to Mindanao, Philippines, the Japanese surrendered following the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He was discharged from
service January 2, 1946.
In 1941 while on furlough from Camp Bragg, Gene met his future wife, Grace Arlene Taylor. They married June 19, 1942 just prior to his
shipping out to New Guinea. They were married 69 years prior to Grace’s death in 2011.
Following the war, Gene went to work for Gerard Chevrolet in Winona. The knowledge he gained in the Army in servicing military vehicles
garnered him the manager ship of the John Deere Implement Company until its closure in 1959. It was during this time that he attended
night school and graduated with a business law degree from Ole Miss. His career continued with the Gerard Chevrolet Dealership and
ultimately he opened his own business, a Chrysler-Plymouth Dealership, and in 1968 he was sales manager for Dotson Motor Company.
He became Properties manager of EE Hereford Ranch in 1982 and continued in this position for the remainder of his career. Additionally he
served on the Tyler Holmes Memorial Hospital Board for 30 years, served on Board of Directors of American Legion and as its President for
4 years, and was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Winona.
Mr. Mac (as he became known in later life) lived a blessed life of good health and, along with Grace, experienced many adventures and great
family times. Always active, he continued to work well into his 90’s. His life is chronicled in a book entitled “The Dances of My Life.”
Mr. Mac is survived by his five children Jo Ellard, Jean McCarty, Bob McPhail (Betty), Gloria Loudermilk, LeAnne Kendrick (Bobby);
grandchildren and step grand-children, Shane Hodges (Susan), Chad Ellard, Brian Ellard (Ornella), Melissa Montalvo (Hasso), Teresa Van
Buren (Steve), Joey Nail, Benji Nail (Karen);. Fourteen great-grandchildren/step-great grand-children and two great-great- grandchildren.
Pall Bearers are Shane Hodges, Chad Ellard, Brian Ellard, Joey Nail, Benji Nail, Jesse Dunn, and alternate Robert Dunn.
Memorials may be sent to the First Presbyterian Church, 302 Summit St., Winona, MS 38967 or to Sta-Home Health and Hospice, 406
Briarwood Dr. Building 200, Jackson, MS 39206.
Monday, May 22 9:30 - 11:30 am
Oliver Funeral Home
Monday, May 22 11:30 am
Ellard Family Cemetery
|Wayne N. Parker
Jean and Jo and the rest of the McPhail family, I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Mr. McPhail.
Please know that your family are in our prayers.
Wayne WHS 64
The Jackson Family
In Memory and Honor to "Mac", a Kind and Loving Gentleman who lived a long Virtuous Life
Jo, wanted you to know that you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. Love to all.
Sonny and Linda Kaye.
Wayne and Dianne Adams
Jo and Jean, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your families today and in the coming weeks. We know these
days are difficult, and yet also peaceful in some ways since this was what your dad wanted. Know all your good
memories will help make this time easier.
|March 26, 1919
May 19, 2017