Ira ‘Pete’ Phifer Jr.

Published 9:38 am Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Ira “Pete” Phifer Jr. passed away July 10, 2017, at River Region Hospital in Vicksburg. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, Ira Phifer and Bobbie Marshall Phifer; and his wife, Bettye Jo Phifer.

A lifelong resident of Vicksburg, Pete was a 1958 graduate of Carr Central High School. He attended Hinds Jr. College and Mississippi State University for 2 years, before returning to Vicksburg to marry Bettye Jo McCary. He loved Vicksburg and loved the Mississippi River. Even on vacation He would check the river stages and was always comparing them to historic flood events. His first job was with the Army Corps of Engineers working on a survey boat to mark the river channel between Memphis and Vicksburg. He later worked for Waterways Experiment Station as the Computer Operator Supervisor until he retired in 1995. He served in the U.S. Army Reserves for 32 years and was a member of the Service Pistol Team where he competed across the country and at the National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio.

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He was active his entire life and participated in many different sports including: soccer, softball, racquetball and volleyball. When he wasn’t playing he was coaching and was always active in his daughters sporting activities. In later years, he loved watching his granddaughter play softball and was there to cheer her on as often as he could.

He was an avid outdoorsman, hunter and fisherman and passed on his knowledge and love of the outdoors to not only his two daughters but to many others throughout his life. He was part owner and a fixture for years at Rebel Archery in Vicksburg and could always be found in the back working on archery equipment or out front listening to tall tales from the regular customers. Though he enjoyed all types of outdoor pastimes, deer hunting was his favorite. Hardly a week went by that he was not in the woods at his beloved Tennessee Bar Hunting Club, where he was a lifelong member.

He was a member of Hawkins United Methodist Church for 36 years, and lived out his love of Jesus Christ through the many lives he touched.  His service to his church was an amazing witness to everyone around him. He served on various committees and volunteered for every event or activity at Hawkins throughout all of those years. Every member of Hawkins knew Pete and never was there a time when he wasn’t willing to lend a helping hand.  He was very involved and loved volunteering at Hawkins Preschool as well.  Every child loved “Mr. Pete”.  His service to his church and others went well beyond the walls of Hawkins. He volunteered many summers with SOS (Service Over Self) and served countless meals at Keystone Homeless Ministry. He went on four foreign mission trips to Mexico, two mission trips to the Navajo reservation in New Mexico and spent several months volunteering with a mission team on the coast after hurricane Katrina.  His compassion and love for others was felt in his church, his community and in every individual that he so willingly helped.

He is survived by daughters, Tracey Phifer Thornburg of Tulsa, Okla., and Shannon Phifer Holbrook of Daphne, Ala.; brothers, Gene Phifer of Plano, Texas and Paul Phifer of Salley, S.C.; and granddaughter, Ginny Holbrook.

Services will be 3 p.m. Sunday, July 30, at Hawkins United Methodist Church with the Rev. Sally Bevill officiating. Visitation will be from 2 p.m. until the services at the church. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Hawkins United Methodist Church.