The Star Herald
The people of this community have lost a major leader and supporter in the death of Marlin Ivey.
Current newspaper reports of his death list many of the things in which he participated and was successful. There are others, some he did as part of a team effort and others on an individual basis.
First, he and Nelma chose to return to his hometown of Kosciusko soon after completing studies at the University of Southern Mississippi. They had married while students at Southern. She had roots in Texas and had moved to a small south Mississippi community when her father’s work took him there. She had an important role in student activities at USM.
After graduation Marlin joined the staff of University Medical Center in Jackson in an administrative role but soon decided to return to Kosciusko. He joined his father in a small business in Kosciusko and expanded it into a contractual firm. It became one of the largest 100 companies in Mississippi and expanded dramatically with offices all across the South. It has only grown larger and more comprehensive, currently providing employment to over 1,000 personnel.
Marlin later stepped aside from the day-to-day operation of that business and undertook new projects involving business, his and Nelma’s church and the state. His workload widened as he grew and expanded his accomplishments, serving as a member and chair of the state College Board and the Mississippi Economic Council as well as in numerous other roles. He passed on the operation and part of the ownership of his contractual firm to younger associates.
Since his younger years he worked to benefit his fellow man back home, helping keep a bi-racial line of communication open at a time when turmoil was wracking many other areas of the South. Their efforts helped avoid conflict in the Kosciusko area and insured a community togetherness which continues even today.
He was one of the founders of a non-profit organization in the 1980s that created our Visitors Center at the Kosciusko entrance to the Natchez Trace. He and a small group gathered around a table one morning and raised $100,000 to pay half the cost of the center’s construction. They divided a list of prospect names and within a few days had gathered almost $100,000 in additional money needed to build the center. It opened in 1984, operating seven days a week with more than 200 volunteers without use of tax money. For more than 20 years he and a team of supporters of the center supervised its operation.
At one time an Attala County resident was working to start a new manufacturing facility and Marlin stepped in as a partner along with some others to help it get going. That business is prosperous here today.
Even after he and Nelma moved their primary residence to the Jackson area and he became ill he kept working in our behalf. As late as recent weeks he had continued to have a role in current plans to expand Holmes Community College in Kosciusko to a full scale campus offering a comprehensive academic curriculum and a widespread-vo-tech program. That, hopefully, will occur soon.
We are a better community because of him, his family and associates.
W.C. “Dub” Shoemaker, former owner, editor-publisher of The Star-Herald