The Hitts of Mississippi and related families

William Rayford “Billy” PriesterAge: 86 years19131999

William Rayford “Billy” Priester
Given names
William Rayford
Birth January 16, 1913

Birth of a son
Robert Ishmael Priester
November 23, 1946 (Age 33 years)
Note: I had 1947 for the birth year, but grave transcriptions on the web list 1946. I'm not sure which is correct.
Death of a sonRobert Ishmael Priester
August 31, 1965 (Age 52 years)
insurance salesman

[Obituary from the Natchez Democrat]

William R. ???Billy??? Priester, Jr.
Jan. 16, 1913 ??? Jan. 20, 1999

Services for William Rayford ???Billy??? Priester, Jr., 86, of Natchez, who died January 20, 1999, at Natchez Regional Hospital will be at 2:00 p.m. on January 22, at Laird???s Funeral Home with the Rev. Dan Robertson officiating. Burial will be at the Natchez City Cemetery under the direction of Laird???s Funeral Home.

Visitation is from 1:00 p.m. until time of the service at the funeral home.

Mr. Priester was born Jan. 16, 1913, in Eddiceton, Miss., the son of Emily Gertrude Delaney Priester and William Rayford Priester.

A graduate of Brookhaven High School with 16 athletic letters, Mr. Priester graduated from Mississippi College, majoring in chemistry and earning 11 letters in football, baseball, tennis and basketball.

He coached football at Ferriday High School and Cathedral High School and played semi-professional baseball with the Natchez Indians. He won the Natchez City Singles Tennis Championship in 1931, 1932 and 1933.

For 59 years he represented Lamar Life Insurance and often was named to the President???s Cabinet, the All Stars Club and the Million Dollar Round Table. He was named Man of the Year in 1954 for exceeding all previous production. In honor of his career achievements, he received the L.Q.C. Lamar Award in 1981.

He served as a lieutenant in the U. S. Navy during World War II, spending two years aboard the U. S. Arkansas and seeing action at Normandy, Southern France, The Philippines, Okinawa and Iwo Jima.

He was an alderman for the City of Natchez, sheriff and tax collector for Adams County, President of the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers Association, Exalted Ruler of the Elks Club, President of the Lions Club, member of the American Legion, Elderhostel lecturer and broadcast local teams??? football games for 32 years earning the title of ???Voice of the Rebels/Colonels.???

He coached in the Babe Ruth League for 11 years. In 1952 he was the coach for the Natchez Babe Ruth All Stars who won the state and Southeastern U. S. Regional Championships and played in the Babe Ruth World Series.

An avid hunter and fisherman, he was president and charter member of Ducks Unlimited. The Natchez Democrat said he was a prime candidate for ???King of the Hunters.??? He received the Distinguished American Award from both the Southwest Mississippi Chapter and the Miss-Lou Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. He was named to the Mississippi College Sports Hall of Fame and was president of Mississippi College???s Fifty Year Club.

Mr. Priester was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Robert Ishmael Priester; and a son, Robert Ishmael ???Bob??? Priester II.

Survivors include his wife, Carolyne Hitt Priester of Natchez; his daughter, Janice Priester Byrne and her husband, Paul, of Natchez; his son, Dr. William Rayford Priester III and his wife, Jean, of Memphis; his grandchildren, Shan Priester Fite and her husband, Matt, of Germantown, Tenn.; Dr. William Bradford Priester and his wife, Joanna, of Jackson, Tenn.; Robert Priester Byrne of Natchez; Susannah Byrne Heatherly and her husband, Wade, of Hattiesburg; and great-grandchildren, John Swink Fite, Halle Hicks Priester and Elizabeth Marie Fite.

Pallbearers will be Richard Case, Jackie Poole, Vic Scott, Jim Nutter, Fred Parker and Cliff McCarstle.

Honorary pallbearers are members of the Anglers Sunday School Class of First Baptist Church.

Death January 20, 1999 (Age 86 years)
Family with Elizabeth Carolyne Hitt - View this family
Robert Ishmael Priester
Birth: November 23, 1946 33 27Natchez, Adams County, MS, USA
Death: August 31, 1965Oxford, Lafayette County, MS, USA