Ronnie Channell was born on Dec. 15, 1951, in Hazlehurst and humbly entered through the gates of heaven on Feb. 24, 2023, after spending a really good and peaceful day on the land he loved with people he loved even more.
Ronnie was a man who was the epitome of community. He was most at peace when he was surrounded by the people he loved in the places he loved. Whether he was sitting at the Masonic Lodge and telling old stories about family and growing up in the Dentville community or growing vegetables and spending time on the land around Crystal Springs with his beloved children and grandchildren, Ronnie always took the time to notice his neighbors and look for ways to serve others. He invested in the lives of so many around him, putting others ahead of himself and serving as a role model for countless young men over the years.
Ronnie spent enough time in and out of doctor’s offices and hospitals to know that all time spent with those he loved was a treasure not to be taken for granted or wasted. He was a giver in the truest sense of the word, content in supporting those around him by working behind the scenes and doing his best to stay out of the spotlight. Ronnie understood the importance of community and family, and lived in such a way that he will be remembered as one of those truly good guys.
Ronnie loved to grow things, and that began with his family. He built a life with Linda, his wife of just shy of 50 years. Theirs is a story of mutual love and support, and even after half a century together, his eyes still lit up whenever she entered the room. When Linda’s career adventures took her all over the world, Ronnie was her biggest cheerleader. He was content holding down the fort, patiently awaiting her return and ready to hear her stories of elephant rides and the foreign dignitaries she had met along the way.
Together they created Jennifer McGrew (Keith) and Truett (Kristle), who continued to bless his life by adding three grandchildren, Gracie, Clay, and Jake Channell, to his family tree. Alongside those branches include siblings, Robert Earl, Jimmy, and Susan Channell Hill, and a host of extended family and friends. Like countless others in Ronnie’s life, they will spend the rest of their lives reaping the rewards of the love he invested in them.
Although he leaves behind so many who love him dearly, Ronnie is now reunited with those he loved in his life – his parents, Alton and Ruth Smith Channell; his brother, Bryant Channell; and in-laws, Cecil and Mae Nell Bridges Guynes.
Ronnie was a good man, full of sacrifice and integrity. The best way to honor him is to love like he did. Tell stories about him, and be sure to make some of your own. Notice the details and act in kindness. Grow some squash or tomatoes, and give most of it away. Send flowers to those you love — just because.
A memorial service was held Feb. 28 at Stringer’s Funeral Home, Crystal Springs. Burial was at Pine Bluff Cemetery in Dentville.
Donations may be made in Ronnie’s memory to Mississippi Toughest Kids Foundation, 123 East Georgetown Street, Crystal Springs, MS 39059.