Polly Meek Upshaw, an original Steel Magnolia who was beloved for her smarts, eccentricities and a wicked sense of humor, died Friday at her home in Greenwood. She was 82.
A native of Greenwood, Polly was a committed lifelong student. She graduated from Greenwood High School before earning a bachelor’s degree in English from Sophie Newcomb College (now Tulane University), where she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. She could recite lengthy sonnets or poems decades after her studies.
She was a self-taught businesswoman who owned rental properties and committed countless hours to studying investment newsletters. She recorded Jim Cramer’s “Mad Money” investment program on CNBC each day so that she could watch it twice to document his stock picks and perform her own research on Cramer’s recommendations.
Polly was also famously absent-minded. While driving one day with two of her granddaughters, a Greenwood patrol officer pulled her over. A notoriously slow and cautious driver, Polly was surprised to be stopped until the officer retrieved her purse from the roof of her car.
Throughout her life, Polly was a style maven and an avid lover of the arts. While traveling in Florence, Italy, Polly was riding in a car with her travel companions who somehow drove onto a pedestrian-only plaza in front of the famed Duomo cathedral. While everyone else frantically tried to figure out how to get off the plaza safely, Polly’s eyes were glued to the Duomo as she cried, “Look! Ghiberti’s doors! Ghiberti’s doors!”
Polly served on the vestry and the finance committee of the Episcopal Church of the Nativity, and the board of directors of the Museum of the Mississippi Delta. She was an active member of the Chi Omega Society.
Polly was the daughter of the late Dr. Edwin McLeod Meek and the late Frances Johnson Meek. She is survived by her brother, Dr. Edwin McLeod Meek, Jr. and his wife Betty Van of Greenwood and their three sons; two children, Dr. Frank Henry Flautt Jr. and his wife Mary Haley Flautt of Greenwood, and Frances Flautt Zook and her husband James Randolph (Jim) Zook Jr. of Oxford; two stepchildren, Steve Upshaw of Greenwood and Lisa Upshaw Fuente of Safety Harbor, Fla.; five grandchildren, Mary Steele Flautt Mock of The Colony, Tex., Katherine Merrill Flautt and Suzanne Alline Flautt, both of Jackson, and James Randolph (Jack) Zook III and Henry McWillie (Will) Zook, both of Oxford; and her first husband, Frank Henry Flautt of Greenwood. She was preceded in death by her second husband, James Edwin Upshaw.
Polly’s family wants to express its gratitude for the tireless support provided by her caregivers – Sherron Wright, Augusta Williams, Daisy Harper, Ruby Short and Lillie Ward. In addition, Polly’s family shares its thanks and appreciation for Abe McGlothlin for nearly four decades of outstanding and faithful work for Polly and her business interests.
The family will host a visitation on Wednesday, November 20 at 5:30 p.m., and Thursday, November 21 at 10:00 A.M. A memorial service in celebration of Polly’s life on Thursday, November 21, at 11 a.m. Both events will be held at the Episcopal Church of the Nativity. Pall bearers will be Howard Benz, Allen Holiman, Dr. Aubrey Lucas, Dr. John Lucas, Dr. Robert Lucas, Floyd Melton III, Clay Pettit and Marion Roberson. Honorary pall bearers will be Chip Ford, Ewin Henson, Dr. John Fair Lucas Sr. and Floyd Melton Jr.
The family wishes to thank Morgan Moore and staff of Halcyon Hospice and Jessica Lloyd Arabey and Staff of Sunflower Home Health for their compassion and professional care.
In lieu of flowers, Polly’s family asks that memorials in her honor be directed to the Episcopal Church of the Nativity (https://www.nativitygreenwood.org/) or the Museum of the Mississippi Delta (https://www.museumofthemississippidelta.com/).
An online guestbook may be signed at www.greenwooddeltafh.com. Greenwood Delta Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. 552-374-5161.
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