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Mike Ellis Monsour

Mike Ellis Monsour, of Salem, S.C., departed this life on March 8, 2021. Mike was born in Natchez on Nov. 24, 1943.

He was preceded in death by his father, Ellis Mike Monsour; mother, Audria Monsour; uncle, A.M. “Ed” Monsour; three brothers and one sister.

He is survived by his sister, Clydelle Couburn; brother, Carl; two nieces, Sandra and Carol; and those whom he loved as sons, James C. Wrenn Jr., Pieter F. Nauta and William E. Coleman III. 

Every aspect of Mike’s life of service reflected his deep and abiding love of God, shaped as a child by the devotion of his uncle, father and the late Father Michael Baroudy of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church. Growing up, Mike was a student at Vicksburg Public Schools and devoted to his studies with Father Baroudy. At age 18, he had taken Minor Vows in the St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church.

Mike was blessed with the gifts of music and affinity for languages. He graduated with honors from H. V. Cooper High School in 1962 and was awarded a full scholarship to study voice at Bellhaven College. He graduated in 1966 with honors.

Mike continued his studies at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, completing his masters’ degree in romance Languages. Seeking a path to be obedient to God’s will, Mike grew in his dedication to teaching. In 1968, upon graduation, Mike visited Virginia Military Institute for the first time and began what would become a 33-year career as a professor of modern languages and the beloved Confidential Counselor to the Corps of Cadets. 

Mike went on to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia, furthering his study of languages. During his early teaching days at VMI, Mike was a sought-after comfort for cadets and in 1981, when he was named Department Chairman, he was also officially named “Special Assistant to the Superintendent for Counseling.” Mike had a profound, positive impact on the lives of thousands of students in his role as counselor. 

Dr. Monsour served as a member of the VMI faculty from 1968 until his retirement in 2001. He was a member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and received numerous distinguished teaching and service awards, the VMI Achievement Medal and was made an Honorary Alumnus of VMI. Dr. Monsour was a highly respected professor who always made time to tutor, mentor, counsel, and encourage all. Mike was distinguished by his loving nature, singular calm, kind patience, gentle spirit, absolute integrity, and his warmth.

Mike was beloved by generations of cadets, as one who devoted his life to the nurture and education of young people. Mike was a man full of love, who practiced the presence of God daily in all he did, and his example of a living faith continues to be an inspiration to all who were privileged to know him.

A graveside burial service will be held Monday, March 22, 2021, at 10 a.m. at the Vicksburg City Cemetery with the Very Reverend Father Gabriel Karam of St. George Orthodox Church officiating. Riles Funeral Home is coordinating arrangements.

Memorials may be made to the Mike Monsour Fund at the Virginia Military Institute Foundation, P.O. Box 932F, Lexington, VA 24450.