Douglas Hunt Vinzant Sr.

Published 1:00 pm Monday, October 23, 2023

Douglas Hunt Vinzant Sr. was born on July 1, 1936. The fifth of seven children, he was the son of George Walton Vinzant, Sr. and Dorothy Cunningham Vinzant of Vicksburg.

He grew up in Vicksburg and also spent summers as a boy on the family farm in Smith County.
Vinzant married Patricia Scott (deceased in February 2009) also from Vicksburg on Jan. 13, 1957. Together, they raised six sons: Dr. Douglas H. Vinzant, Jr., Gordon Scott Vinzant, George Walton Vinzant, III, John B. Vinzant, William Sydney Vinzant (deceased) and Dr. Carey Bailey Vinzant. In July 2010, Vinzant married Ms. Joan Byrne of Raymond.

Vinzant graduated from Culkin Academy in Bovina, in 1954. He attended Asbury College in Wilmore, Ky. and later graduated from Mississippi College in Clinton in 1961.

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He completed a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Southern California (USC) in 1972.

In addition to formal degrees, he completed programs of study in numerous special institutes and programs, including The Delinquency Control Institute at USC, the National Institute of Corrections, the Brookings Institution, the Harvard-MIT-Tufts Negotiation Project and the Juran Institute among others.

He taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses at USC, Pepperdine University, Chapman College, Mississippi College and Belhaven College.

In addition, he was a guest lecturer at USC, Harvard University, Northeastern University, Mt. Holyoke, Brandeis University, Smith College, Seattle University, Pacific Lutheran University, Asbury College and the University of Washington.
His professional career spanned a variety of fields beginning with pastoral duties for Hinds Independent Methodist Church from 1967 to 1970.

From 1972 through 1978, he worked in juvenile and adult corrections, serving as Superintendent at the Massachusetts Correctional Institutions at Concord and Walpole and at the Washington State Penitentiary at Walla Walla.

At the request of Governor Dan Evans, he led the design, development and implementation of a statewide adult corrections service system for the State of Washington.

After returning to Mississippi, he held various administrative management roles in the Mississippi Department of Natural Resources from 1981 through 1992.

In his last professional position, he served as the Vice President for Business Affairs for Belhaven College in Jackson, retiring from that position in 1995.

Vinzant taught Sunday School and served in numerous lay leadership roles in the churches he attended in Raymond and Learned.

He was an avid sportsman who loved hunting, horses and bird dogs which led to him judging field trials throughout the southeastern region of the United States.

Possessed of a gifted native intellect, an extraordinary breadth of trade skills and a tireless work ethic, he designed and built the home where his sons grew up and where George Walton Vinzant III now resides.

But more so than any of his accomplishments or hobbies, he was probably best known for his storytelling, love of laughter and loud conversation with friends.

And no conversation was complete without his audience being told how proud he was of his sons and how much he loved them.

Early on the morning of Oct. 19, he left the cares of this world for his home in Heaven.

He is survived by Joan Vinzant of Raymond; his brother William Vinzant of Bovina; his five sons and their spouses: Doug (Becky), Scott (Marla), Walt (Tammy), John (Ellen), Carey (Allene), 14 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, Oct. 27 at Hinds Independent Methodist Church. Visitation will begin at 2 p.m. at the church followed by services at 3 p.m.

Wright & Ferguson Funeral Home in Raymond is in charge of arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to: Reeves Chapel Cemetery, 2182 Bill Downing Road, Raymond, MS 39154.

“…now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”