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Hollis C. Harrell

Hollis C. Harrell, 95, of Hazlehurst, died Wednesday, November 26, 2008 at his home in Hazlehurst.  Visitation was held Saturday, November 29 from 5pm-8pm at Stringer Family Funeral Home in Hazlehurst.  The funeral service was conducted Sunday, November 30, 2008 at 2pm at First Baptist Church of Hazlehurst with internment at Hazlehurst Cemetery.                       

Hollis Benjamin Claiborne Harrell was born January 4, 1913, in Bay St. Louis, MS.  He is a graduate of Kentwood High School in Kentwood, LA and attended LSU in Baton Rouge, LA as a Pre Med Student. He then attended LSU Medical School in New Orleans and became a casualty of Gov. Huey P. Long. On December 29, 1934 he married Emily Viola Stringfield and resided in Kentwood, LA. While in Kentwood they had two sons, John Bruce Harrell in February 1936 and William C. (Bill) Harrell in November 1937.

In 1938 Claiborne Harrell Sr. purchased timber and a mill to manufacture pine lumber.  Hollis Harrell was sent to Hazlehurst to manage the new mill for his father. Shortly after the beginning of World War II, the mill began producing wood boxes for ammunition. He remained in business in Hazlehurst for 60 years, changing from manufacturing pine lumber and oak flooring to selling steel, wire and nails. The new business of steel, wire and nails began from his basement with deliveries made in a pickup truck and later to large transport trucks.

It has always been a love of Mr. Harrell’s and a family tradition to eat in New Orleans at Galatorie’s. Starting back in 1932 when his father took him for his first business lunch at Galatoire’s with the head’s of the lumber businesses in New Orleans. The heads were at odds with each other in business and the lunch meeting at Galatorie’s brought them together resulting in an improved business relationship. Mr. Harrell continued the tradition by taking his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren down to Galatoire’s. Beignets at Café du Monde and sliding down raw oyster at Acme Oyster Bar were on the list of favorites following the meal at Galatoire’s.

Mr. Harrell had several principals of life he stood by, his love for God, family, friends, endless zest for life and practicality. He accomplished this zest and practicality by lifting 50lb boxes of nails and riding his stationary bike 5 miles a day.  We, the grandchildren asked, “Pawpaw why don’t you buy 50lb weights”?  He answered, “why buy weights when you can lift 50lb boxes of nails in the comfort of your own home”? He was a long stand member of the First Baptist Church of Hazlehurst and served as a Deacon, Sunday School Teacher and Choir member. He was also a Mason and Shriner for many years. He was a loving husband and father and will be greatly missed, not only for his giving spirit and loving heart, but also for his colorful storytelling.

He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. Claiborne Harrell, Sr., brother, Claiborne Harrell, Jr., sisters, Lilly Mae McGlathery and Bonnie Jean Hove, wife, Emily Viola Stringfield Harrell and son, John Bruce Harrell.

He is survived by his son William C. (Bill) Harrell and daughter-in-law Dodie; granddaughters, Bonnie Jean Harrell of Brandon, Emily Elizabeth (Beth) Jordan (Ed) of Carter, MS and Jennifer Ann Cora (Chris) of Byram; grandson, William Claiborne Harrell II (Wendy) of Hazlehurst; Seven great grandchildren, Georgia and Johnna Jordan, Anna Katherine and Emily Anne Harrell, and Morgan, Lexi and Paxton Cora.

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