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Thursday, June 29, 2023
10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)
Thursday, June 29, 2023
Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)
A service of witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ and celebration of the life of Kelton Dyess Valentine will be held at First Baptist Church, Newton, MS, led by Reverend Hal J. Bates at 11:00 A.M. Thursday, June 29th. Visitation will be held in the sanctuary from 10:00 A.M. prior to the service. The graveside service at Hickory Grove Cemetery in Laurel, MS, will be held at 2:30 P.M. led by The Reverend Dr. Allison F. Moody.
Kelton Dyess Valentine, Born February 17, 1927, in Hebron, Mississippi, to Hubert H. Dyess and Beulah Graves Dyess, and died peacefully on Saturday, June 24, 2023.
The story of her life is now complete; she breathed every breath, taught every lesson, filed every file, and sang every song she needed to; and then she had time to read every book she could before it was time to leave. She lived well and loved well.
She began life on her parents’ 40-acre farm in Hebron, Mississippi, 15 miles from Laurel in Jones County. It was February 1927 and the Depression was just ending. When she was 5-years-old the Hebron Elementary School needed one more student to be able to keep the school open. The principal persuaded her parents to send “Little Kelton” to school a year early and her competitive spirit allowed her to always make the grade. She and her parents, Hubert and Beulah Dyess, and her sister Barbara were members of the Hebron Baptist Church. She learned to play hymns on the piano as soon as they were able to buy a piano and give her lessons. In the early years she played for services at the Hebron Baptist Church, where she was a member, as well as the Hebron Methodist Church which had services on alternate Sundays. Her lifelong commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord of her life and to the work of the church began in those churches.
In 1945, she married the “love of her life”, Herbert Valentine, whom she met while attending Jones County Junior College and working as a bookkeeper in her Uncle Dick’s Hamilton Graves Men’s Store in Laurel. Herbert was also a bookkeeper in Laurel and attending college and they were encouraged to get to know each other by his uncle Wardell Valentine and her uncle Dick Graves. It was a match made in Heaven!
She worked as a secretary for the first seven years of their marriage, while Herbert attended college and seminary. She spent the next 14 years as homemaker, wife, and mother to Jackie and David, while Herbert was minister of music and education in Baptist Churches in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Several years after Herbert went to Clarke College in Newton, Mississippi, as Business Manager, he needed an Administrative Assistant so he hired Kelton for the position.
They “settled” in Newton and she lived there for 50 years in the house they built on a hill. At Clarke College, Kelton guided, laughed and cried with many students over the 20 years she worked in the Business Office, 9 of those years after Herbert’s death. Many of those students have “kept in touch with her” through the years.
After retiring from Clarke College, Kelton began another phase of her life. She traveled to Hawaii and to Jerusalem with groups and loved every minute of those trips and the photographs she collected from the tours. She also drove to visit friends, family, and her children and grandchildren in Madison County, Mississippi, as well as the Carolina’s and Georgia. Until she was in her 80’s she was the person who would drive friends to the doctors and other appointments; and then, in her late 80’s she was the one who allowed friends to drive her to appointments.
Throughout her life Kelton lived her faith in Jesus Christ and guided many others, young and old, to study and live the faith. In her early years she led children’s choirs and Bible School classes and she studied the Bible and taught Sunday School until she was ninety-years-old.
In the final chapter of her life, she moved to an apartment in a retirement community in Monroe, Louisiana, to be near her daughter Jackie and son-in-law Allison. They enjoyed living one mile apart for the first time since Jackie and Allison married, and she enjoyed visits from grandchildren great-grandchildren, and friends.
For her last days, in her 92nd year, she moved to Avalon Place where the staff could assist her every need. She graciously accepted the lonely year of “lockdown” due to the Coronavirus and continued to read while sitting in her La-Z-Boy recliner. Her telephone was a lifeline to Jackie and David as well as her friends and grandchildren. They all made it through the “coronavirus” years to enjoy more years until she graciously said “Goodbye.”
Whenever anyone said “Mrs. Valentine, you look so pretty!” or … “you don’t look that old!”, she would say, “Well, I never thought I would live to be such an Old Lady!”
Kelton Frances Dyess Valentine was preceded in death by her husband David Herbert Valentine, her parents Hubert H and Beulah Graves Dyess, her sister Barbara Dyess Jefcoat. She is survived by Jackie Valentine Moody (Allison) of Monroe, LA and David Lee Valentine (Donna) of Pickens, MS; grandchildren John V Moody (Laura), North Carolina, Katherine Moody Laboy (Arnaldo) of Monroe, LA and Laura Valentine Amos of Brandon, MS; and great grandchildren, Jared and Mackenzie Moody of North Carolina, Allye Kelton Moody of Monroe, LA, and Julia Grace Amos and Jason Amos of Brandon, MS.
The pallbearers will be Bryan Burt, Owen Comans, Allen Hart, Micah Harmon, Joe McMillan, and Sam Valentine.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that contributions be made to First Baptist Church, Newton, Mississippi.