Class of 1959

We, the Class of 1959, celebrated our 50th class reunion on April 24 and 25, 2009. This blog is about sharing memories of our class reunions and a long ago life at our Alma Mater's, S.F.X.A. and S.A.H.S. Good memories of days gone by but not forgotten! A gift to my classmates. ~Marian Love Phillips ~

Friday, July 25, 2014

Red Tops "Rufus McKay" Dies

The original lineup of the Red Tops performs in this undated photo from the collection of the Old Court House Museum. vocalist Rufus McKay, who died Monday, is on the far right.  Andy Hardwick, Standing next to McKay, is the last surviving member of the group.

Rufus Lee McKay, the vocalist for Vicksburg's iconic Red Tops died Monday at River Region Medical Center.  He was 87.

Between 1953 and 1974, the Red Tops entertained audiences with their distinctive mix of blues, jazz, and pop.  

McKay's death leaves 80-year-old Andy Hardwick as the only living original member of the original group.

"Rufus was the key attraction," Hardwick said Tuesday.

McKay, is perhaps best remembered for his rendition of "Danny Boy," which became a crowd favorite.

"When he would sing that song, people would stop dancing and come sit in front of the band stand, some crying, some sitting in awesome wonder," Hardwick said.  "Nobody sung "Danny Boy" liek Rufus."

The first time McKay performed his signature son, the told The Vicksburg Post in 2011, was during a dance at an Ole Miss sorority house.

"It just popped in my mind," he said.  McKay noticed a woman standing nearby who was crying, and later learned later that her son Danny had been killed in war.

"That's one reason I started closing my eyes when I sand," McKay said.

In an era of segregation, the Red Tops helped cross the color barrier by performing from audiences of all races.

"I would say 98 percent of performances were for white folks," Hardwick said.

The never encountered any racial violence while on tour.  However, the potential was there one night at the Wagon Wheel in Jackson for a highly volatile situation.

The Wagon Wheel had a low bandstand, and while McKay sang a woman climbed on stage and took him by the hand and held it.

"I could see the black help - the cooks and waiters - looking," McKay said in 2011, "They didn't know what was going to happen. There was a white lady holding a black man's hand in an all-white club with a black band. We just kept playing."

There were plenty of humorous times. too.  During a Red Tops performance in Bastrop, La., McKay put on a rattly old hat and got into character for a song titled "Drunk."  A constable jumped up on stage and pulled McKay off the bandstand.

"He thought Rufus was really drunk.  They were going to take him to jail.  That tickled us to death," Hardwick said.  "He found it hilarious."

Before the Red Tops, McKay and Hardwick performed in the Rebops. Hardwick was just 13, and McKay and other members of the band were mentors.

"They kept me from the evils of the road," Hardwick said.

McKay and Hardwick later broke out on their own and formed The Corvettes.

"We played a lot of new stuff," Hardwick said.  "We never went back to the Red Tops.  That was it."

The Corvettes didn't have the same following as the Red Tops, and broke up after not being able to land secure work.  Afterword, McKay moved to Las Vegas before eventually settling in Vicksburg.

"I'll miss him.  We went out separate ways when he got back here," Hardwick said.

Funeral services for McKay will be tomorrow with Dillon-Chisley Funeral Home in charge.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Remembering "The Red Tops"

The (Original Red Tops) "Swanee River Rock"
(Record released in  1957)

Monday, July 07, 2014

Phillip Logue Doiron, Sr. ~ Obituary

Phillips Logue Doiron, Sr. died Friday, July 4, 2014.  He was 72.

Born in Vicksburg, he was the son of Jules Warren Doiron, Sr.  and May Frances Logue Doiron.  He grew up in Vicksburg, graduating from St. Aloysius High School in 1959.  He was of the Catholic faith.

After serving in the United States Marie Corps, he received a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Mississippi College and a master's degree in computer science from the University of Southwestern Louisiana.

Phillip worked for the Waterways Experiment Station in the Environmental Lab until his retirement in 1996.  After retirement, he continued his career in the private sector until his final retirement in 2012.

He lived most of his life in Vicksburg, where he was involved with the American Red Cross and the Vicksburg Soccer Organization.  Weaver, Alabama was his home the last seven years, where he enjoyed canoeing, hiking, RV camping and being a member of the Cheaha RV & Camping Club, and the Alabama Good Sam's Organization.  Other hobbies included antique train collecting and Civil War history.

In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by a niece, Bobby Doiron Raines and a nephew, Christian Doiron.

Survivors include his children, Julie Doiron Sosebee (Craig), Phillip Logue Doiron, Jr. (Kara), Danielle Doiron Warnock (Brad); grandchildren, Jack Soebee, Elizabeth Sosebee, Anna Kate Doiron, Ally Doiron, Mary Bradley Warnock and Wes Warnock; brothers, Warren Doiron (Camille) and Greg Doiron (Shirley); nieces and nephews.

Pallbearers will be Craig Sosebee, Jack Sosebee, Brad Warnock, Mark Doiron, Mike Jackson, Phillip Doiron.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Vicksburg Catholic Schools and St. Jude Children's Hospital.

Services will be 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 8, 2014, at Riles Funeral Home with Father Thomas Lalor, pastor of St. Paul Catholic Church officiating. Burial will be at Cedar Hill cemetery under the direction of Riles Funeral Home.

Visitation will be Tuesday at the funeral home from 12:30 p.m. until the hour of the service.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

St. Al Classmate Dies

Our classmate, Phillip Logue Doiron, (Class of 1959) passed away last night, July 4, 2014. Please keep his family in your prayers at this time.  

We are all saddened to hear of the lost of another classmate but we know he has gone to his final reward and to be with Our Lord.  

May he rest in peace! Amen

Update:  Funeral arrangements are ~ Riles Funeral Home on Tuesday.  Visitation begins at 12:30 and funeral at 2:00.   

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Prayers For Phillip

Please continue to keep our classmate, Phillip Doiron, in your prayers.

The 23rd Psalm ~
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures,
He leadeth me beside the still waters,
He restoreth my soul.
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:
For thou art with me.
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.
Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surly goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 

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