Oliver Funeral Home of Winona, Inc.
|"Our family serving your family for four generations"
Mary Frances Jenkins Whitehead
(April 13, 1913 - November 11, 2014)
Mary Frances Jenkins Whitehead departed this life on November 11, 2014. She was 101
years old. Frances was born on April 13, 1913, in Jones County, Mississippi, where she was
given the name Netta, the name of a beloved family aunt. She showed an independent streak
even at an early age, and the name Netta never quite sat well with her. She told family that when
the census was taken in 1920, she was given the opportunity to officially change her name. She
advised the census taker that her name was Mary Frances, and so she was.
She was born to Charles Wyatt and Mary Elizabeth “Bessie” Jones Jenkins, both of
whom predeceased her. She is also predeceased by her sisters, Ruth Jenkins Benson, Annie
Kate Jenkins, Maxine Jenkins McCrory, and Winnie Lou Jenkins, who died five days prior to
Frances was a graduate of Mississippi State College for Women. She taught school in the
Belzoni, Moorhead, and Winona school systems. While in Moorhead, she met James L. “Pete”
Whitehead, Jr. who was the love of her life. They married on June 6, 1936, and made their home
in Winona. Frances and Pete had celebrated fifty-six years of marriage when he died in 1992. In
1997, she moved to St. Catherine’s Village in Madison, Mississippi where she lived until her
Frances is survived by her son, James L. Whitehead III and his wife, Carole, of Dundee,
Oregon; her grandson, James L. Whitehead IV of Memphis, Tennessee; her granddaughter,
Emilie Whitehead Odom and her husband, Mike, of Madison, Mississippi, and her
greatgranddaughter, Jennie Elizabeth Odom of Madison, Mississippi.
During her career as a third-grade teacher, Frances taught hundreds of children, mostly in
the Winona school system. There, she incorporated the arts into her classroom where her
students illustrated scenes from the books they read. These illustrations were featured in her
annual art exhibits in her classroom. She also loved to travel and went all over the world during
her summer breaks. She brought back many tales of her adventures and introduced her students
to many different cultures and customs.
Frances was a member of First Presbyterian Church, Winona and First Presbyterian
She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her. The family would especially
like to thank everyone at St. Catherine’s Village who so lovingly cared for Frances for seventeen
years and would also like to thank the staff at Gentiva Hospice who also tenderly cared for her
this past month.
Memorials may be made to Palmer Home for Children in Columbus, Mississippi, or to the
charity of your choice.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 18, at First Presbyterian Church in
Winona. Interment will follow in Oakwood Cemetery in Winona.
Saturday, April 18 2 pm
First Presbyterian Church
|Deborah Collins Miller
So very sorry to hear about Mrs. Whitehead. What a unique lady she was. I did not have her for a teacher but always
wanted to be in her class. She was the teacher that everyone wanted because she showed her family vacation movies
every year. What a special thing for her to do.
What a wonderful life she had and what great memories we all have of her.
Thoughts and prayers during the days to come.
Love in Christ,
Dennis and Deborah
Corrine Jacks Johnson
Mrs. Whitehead was one of my favorite teachers. She brought back some wooden shoes from Holland, I got to wear
them in a play. She was one good teacher. I remember her having the little sale , it was a big thing for us kids. She was a
great lady, and a fine teacher.