Strothers, a WWII vet, dies at 91

Published 11:13 pm Friday, December 9, 2016

Ask the people who knew Percy Strothers, and several superlatives are mentioned: patriot; a military man who loved Vicksburg; and a dedicated American.

Dec. 1, Strothers, a businessman, letter carrier and community activist, died at the age of 91.

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“He was a good example for those of us who were in the military,” said Benny Terrell. “He lived pretty close to me and I kept up with a lot of the things he had done. He sent me a lot of articles that were written about him and things he accomplished during World War II.

“He loved his country, he loved this state and he loved the military, and he was extremely proud of his service to this great nation. He set an example for us all with his patriotism and his commitment to freedom and the military and his country.”

After graduating from high school in 1943, Strothers joined the Army at 17, and served for three years. His duty stations included the U.S., England, Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland and Central Europe.

When he returned from the Army, he opened the first black-owned taxicab business in Vicksburg and operated it for 27 years. He also worked for Shell Oil Company for 11 years and the U.S. Postal Service as a letter carrier for 27 years, becoming a mail supervisor for one year before retiring from the Postal Service in 1990.

He was affiliated with the National Association of Letter Carries, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, American Legion Tyner-Ford Post 213 and the Esquire Club of Vicksburg. He served as past president of Vicksburg Letter Carrier Union Branch 94 and past chairman for the State of Mississippi Letter Carrier Sons and Daughters Scholarship Committee. 

“Not only was he a soldier who fought the battles and tried to protect his country, he was a person who did everything he could for people the neighborhood,” said Eva Ford, state American Legion Auxiliary president.

“I’ve known him for years, long before he was married. Even as a single man he was still a man of ethics and a man with respect for others and he cared about his neighborhood, he cared about his city and his country.”

Strothers was instrumental in the development of the Melinda Robinson Subdivision, the first black subdivision in Vicksburg, where he served as chairman of the development committee. Because of his participation and planning the neighborhood, a street in the neighborhood bears his name.

“He was an outstanding citizen who was involved in things in the community,” said former Vicksburg Mayor Robert Walker, who in 1990 declared Nov. 30 Percy Strothers Day.

“He was a very active member of Tyner Post 213. A dedicated American and outstanding citizen of Vicksburg. He was a mail carrier in the city and did a terrific job at that, and he was a proper father and husband.”

“I’ve known and been friends with Mr. Strothers for over 20 years,” said Warren Count Sheriff Martin Pace. “He is a true American hero. As well as his military career, he made many other contributions to our community.”

Several months ago, when he was approached by someone asking about World War II veterans in Vicksburg who could be interviewed for a project the University of Mississippi Journalism Department was doing, Pace said, “Percy Strothers was the very first name I gave them. He will be sadly missed.”

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. called Strothers a gentleman and a scholar.

“I grew up knowing him in the neighborhood and in the courthouse, when he retired from the post office,” he said.

“I hold Percy Strothers to the highest esteem in my regards and my respect for him. Not only for his love country, but his love of state, city and for the community. He will always be known as a giant in his own way in his community.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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