Mr. Hugh Anslum Warren III, a lifelong member of the Mississippi Delta and a decorated veteran, passed peacefully into heaven late on the afternoon of Thursday, July 2, 2020. Baby Hugh, as he was known to some of his family and old friends, was born to Neva Lanier Wood Warren and Hugh Holloway Warren Jr., in Greenville, MS, on October 10, 1938. His family moved to Greenwood prior to his senior year at Greenwood High School to farm outside of Sidon, MS.
Hugh was passionate about his family, his church, his community, the Mississippi Delta and any high school sporting event, in which his grandchildren and young friends were involved. He graduated with a BA in Business Administration from the University of Mississippi, where he was an active member and officer of the Sigma Chi fraternity, an Ole Miss Senator and a distinguished ROTC graduate. He married Jane (Janie) Cleveland Montgomery on September 5, 1961, while stationed at Fort Bragg, NC. Towards the end of his life, he was often heard saying that “Everything I have done in my life, I owe to my wife; I still can not believe she married me; she raised four beautiful children!”
While at Fort Bragg, he attained the rank of Captain of the Medical Services Corp (Field Medical Officer), 92nd Engineer Battalion in support of the 82nd Airborne Battalion. During his time in the service, he received numerous accommodations including a Citation for the Army Commendation Medal for “demonstrating the finest type of leadership, initiative, organizational ability and sound judgement” gaining his section superior ratings in army training tests and inspector general’s inspections.
His first work experience as a young man was working in the fields on the family farm and clerking in a commissary-style country store just north of Greenville. After his Army tour, he could not wait to return to farm with his father on the 2,300-acre cotton and soybean row crop and beef cattle operation, Refuge Plantation, south of Greenwood near Sidon, MS, during the transition from mule power to the power of revolutionary one-row cotton pickers. While farming, he was selected as an Outstanding Farmer of America, sponsored by the Delta Council as an applicant for a White House Fellowship, served as President of the Greenwood Farmers’ Club and Vice-President, Board of Directors of the Leflore Country Farm Bureau. After farming, he worked with Lasco Inc. promoting a cutting-edge technology for weed control, utilizing electricity as an alternative to chemicals. He then moved into corporate management and sales and marketing with Ring Around Products Inc., where he worked in multiple US and European cities, primarily opening new markets and introducing advanced marketing strategies.
After a career of agriculture, Hugh’s next big adventure was with the Catfish Farmers of America (CFA), where he served as the Executive Vice-President for nearly 20 years, representing the interest of the catfish farmers regarding governmental, research and development and international governments and agencies. He tirelessly worked with the USDA, EPA, FDA, multi- aquaculture groups and congressional committees. During his leadership, CFA was recognized as the nation’s strongest aquaculture association with membership from 40 states, which included recognition from national environmental, conservation and health organizations during his leadership. He received the National Aquaculture Associations top award and CFA Lifetime Achievement award.
At Hugh’s CFA retirement, he was touted as exemplifying: fun, family, faith, fellowship, friendship and forward-thinking. As a former Executive Director of Delta Council noted: “Hugh was a key player of the story book history of the Catfish Industry…I have never seen him conduct the business of CFA in but one way – as a gentleman…”
In addition to his broad work life, he was exceedingly passionate about serving people and his community. He was active as: President, Board of Directors of the Greenwood-Leflore Public Library System during the time the new library was built; Chairman, Advisory Council for Rising Sun and Sunnyside Public Schools; Board of Directors, Pillow Academy; President, Leflore County Cancer Center Unit, which was awarded the top unit in the state; Vice President, Board of Directors Community Concert; President, Leflore County Youth Activity Planning Council; Adult 4-H Leader; Volunteer on flood relief for the U.S. Engineers and Leflore Civil Defense levee system; President, Salvation Army; a lifetime member and first male-elected member of the Greenwood Garden Club where he was a master gardener; President, Farmers Club; Vice-President, Community Concert Association; and Managed the Greenwood Farmers Market from its infancy, starting in 2010.
The Episcopal Church of the Nativity was the foundation and the extension of the Warren family, where Hugh served in multiple capacities: Superintendent of Education, Voting delegate to the State Convention, Director of Youth Activities, Chancellor and long-standing member of the adult Chancel choir, member of the Church Vestry and served as Treasurer. Hugh will be very remembered for his yearly solos at weddings and on Easter and Christmas holidays - for example, “Surely the Presence,” “Were You There?” and “O, Holy Night”. His family will have the endearing memories of ‘Nee Nee” reading the poem, “The Night Before Christmas,” every Christmas Eve after the midnight communion service and young people from the 1970’s and 80’s will remember caroling at Christmas and summer EYC beach trips with Mr. Warren.
With all these accomplishments and accolades, they pale in comparison to his strongest love, his love for his family. He was proceeded in death by his parents, Hugh Holloway Warren Sr and Neva Lanier Wood Warren.
He is survived by his wife, Jane Montgomery Warren; his sister, Emily Jane Warren Pratt of Chapel Hill, NC; four children: Deborah Jane Warren Belk and her husband, Frederick Adron Belk II of Greenwood, Hugh Wood Warren IV of Greenwood, Elizabeth Montgomery Warren Wickliffe and her husband, Scott Ervin Wickliffe of Germantown, TN; Gerald Jefferson Warren and his wife, Brady Day Warren; ten grandchildren: Frederick Adron Belk III and his wife, Betsy Nelson Belk; Merritt Montgomery Belk Harris and her husband, Zachary Ryan Harris; Christian Holloway Belk; Hugh Anslum Warren V and his wife, Caroline Porch Warren; William Riley Warren; Michael Adams Warren; Jane Bradford Wickliffe; Elizabeth Scott Wickliffe; Julie Day Warren; Neva Kathryn Warren; and 2.5 great-grandchildren: Jane Lamar Belk, Charlotte Gail Belk and one expected at the end of 2020. He also leaves behind a host of sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Due to the restrictions necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, his private funeral service will be held with his immediate family only at the Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Greenwood on Sunday, July 5th, 2020. The service will be followed by an inurnment in the church columbarium.
Be it known that Mr. Warren could have added fame and fortune to his long list of accomplishments but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being a servant leader both in his family, as well as, in the community – especially the youth. (adapted from George Washington Carver)
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to the Episcopal Church of the Nativity or The Museum of the Mississippi Delta, both in Greenwood, MS.
Greenwood Delta Funeral Home is in charge of Service.
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