March 28, 2009
George Irby, 94, died March 27, 2009, at his residence. Services will be Monday at 11 a.m. at Missionary Union Baptist Church with the Rev. Tony Montgomery officiating. Burial will follow at Union Cemetery. Visitation is today from 1-3 p.m. at Lee-Sykes Chapel. Mr. Irby was born March 27, 1915, in Columbus to the late Napoleon and Olvia Cannon Irby. He was educated at Union Academy where he became the quarterback for the school’s first football team. He later attended Jackson State to play football. He retired from the Columbus and Greenville Railroad; after which he began a more than 50-year career as activity coordinator with the Officer’s Club at the Columbus Air Force Base. He has received many awards in recognition of his community service, including the Jefferson Award. He also was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Mary Holmes College. The Mississippi state government passed a bill to rename State Highway 706 to the George “Happy” Irby Parkway. He was a member of Missionary Union Baptist Church, where he served as an usher. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Sarah F. Williams, and infant daughter, Wanda Ray Irby. He is survived by his children, George H. Irby, Wilda Louise Thomas, Linda I. Jones, Pamela I. McKinney, Irma S. Dickerson, Kenneth Miller, Oliver Miller, and Vivian Irby; a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. Pallbearers will be Javares Anthony, Alexander Brandon, Alfred Brandon and Allen Brandon, Jeffery Carter, Jabari Edwards, Corey Johnson, Stan Hairston, Bobby Lawson, and Herman Lawson III. Memorials may be made to Happy Christmas Fund, P.O. Box 1013, Columbus, MS 39703.