October 14, 2007

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Vicksburg Post prints obituaries in news form for area residents, their family members and for former residents at no charge. Families wishing to publish additional information or to use specific wording have the option of a paid obituary.

Helen Grace Sanders

Services for Helen Grace Sanders were Friday at Cedar Hill Cemetery.

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Ms. Sanders died Thursday, Oct. 4, 2007, at River Region Medical Center. She was 67.

A lifelong resident of Vicksburg, she was a member of St. Paul M.B. Church.

Ms. Sanders was preceded in death by her parents, Alex and Ethel Sanders; and a sister, Ethel Louise Sanders.

She is survived by two sons, Raymond M. Sanders of Clearwater, Fla., and Brian K. Sanders of Vicksburg; a sister, Wilma Sanders Reed of Los Angeles; a stepsister, Julia W. Smith of Vicksburg; three grandchildren; and a number of aunts, uncles and cousins.

Services were under the direction of Dillon-Chisley Funeral Home.

William Henry Shields Jr.

SMITHVILLE, Texas — Attended by his children, William Henry Shields Jr. died peacefully in the early hours of Dec. 18, 2006, at his home in Smithville, Texas. He was 92.

He was an upright and honest man of quiet, kindly and thoughtful disposition, generous to his family and friends, noted for almost unerring mechanical judgment and an inventive and inquiring mind. He was a proud and disciplined craftsman, skilled as a machinist, mechanic, welder, plumber, metal fabricator, builder, cabinetmaker and electrician. He particularly enjoyed making fine and delightful toys for neighborhood children.

Mr. Shields was born in Wilson, La., in 1914, the second of three children of Olive Anita Russum and William Henry Shields Sr. He was apprenticed in his youth as a machinist in the shops of the Illinois Central Railroad. He was later schooled at General Motors, General Electric, Alco and other engine and locomotive manufacturers on behalf Shell Oil Company — his employer for most of his working life.

In middle age, seeking to improve his education, he attended South Texas College at night for several semesters to study English composition, speech and psychology. Shortly before World War II and afterward until his retirement, Mr. Shields worked in Shell’s Dee Park Refinery, first as a mechanic and then as supervisor of the refinery’s automotive maintenance and repair shop. He was regarded by his peers as a particular expert in diesel engines and diesel/electric locomotives. At the time of his death, he was one of few men alive who knew from experience how to coal, stoke up and drive a 200-ton steam locomotive.

On Jan. 29, 1938, Mr. Shields married Elizabeth Austin of Vicksburg, who preceded him in death in 1999. His last expressed wish was that his ashes be interred as close as possible to those of his beloved wife of 61 years.

After Pearl Harbor was attacked, Mr. Shields refused to accept an exemption as a critical skills worker and voluntarily joined the Army Air Corps, taking his basic training at Ellington Field. Ordered to Aircraft Maintenance School at Amarillo Air Force Base, he graduated first in his class. Being given a choice of advanced schooling because of his class standing, he chose to go to Chanute Field, Ill., to study aircraft electrical systems. Upon graduation, he was assigned to the 470th Heavy Bomber Group of the Second Air Force at Mountain Home, Idaho, where he was promoted to staff sergeant, supervising the inspection and maintenance of B-24 liberator heavy bombers. He was later transferred to the group’s base at Tonopah, Nev., where he taught the B-24’s electrical systems to flight and maintenance crews.

Mr. Shields is survived by his son, William Henry Shields III of Carrollton, Texas; daughter, Elizabeth Ann Harris of Smithville; three grandsons; and several nieces.

He was preceded in death by his elder sister, Adah Louise Hoerner of Vicksburg. Since his death, his younger sister, Juanita Pack of Payette, Idaho, has also died.

On Oct. 20 at 11 a.m., the Episcopal Burial Rite will be performed by Father Michael Nation, rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Episcopal, at the Austin family plot — Lot 8, Square 140, Division D — in Cedar Hill Cemetery (the old Vicksburg graveyard) in Vicksburg. The public may attend.

The children of Mr. Shields wish to thank their father’s hospice nurse, Tammy Bronson, for her unremitting kindness and faithful service.