Mavis Latham passed away peacefully at the Madison County Nursing Home in Canton after a yearlong battle with Alzheimer’s. She was well looked after by both the staff there and the following ladies throughout this difficult time: Patricia Ross, Hattie Brown, Matasha Ford, Gwen Elam, Shirley Cross, Sharon Sanders, Beverly Smith, Pearl James, Connie Butler, Dawn Lyons, and Annie Wilkes. We could not have asked for better, more attentive care.
Mavis O. Latham was born at home in rural Attala County, Mississippi near Kosciusko on August 20, 1920, the day women won the right to vote. Her parents were Willie O’Briant and Leila McCool O’Briant. She was their third child of five, but the first child, a boy, died at three from pneumonia.
In her late teens when Mavis was asked to play the piano for visiting preachers at their country Church of God, she was asked to accompany one preacher to Farmhaven, MS where she met the family of John Nathan Brown. She later married Johnnie in 1941.
In 1942 their only child, Karon Louise Brown was born. At first Mavis was a seamstress at home for many dance classes and for local ladies. Once Karon was in school, Mavis worked in Canton in various businesses around the square including Nelson’s Dept. Store, Ben Franklin and then 22 years as manager of Sears catalog store. During Karon’s youth, she made all her clothes including her beautiful wedding dress and veil and the head dresses for all the bridesmaids. During these years she was an active member of the First Methodist Church of Canton in the Methodist Mother’s Club and helped lead the youth programs with two other mothers.
After Johnnie died in 1970, and she retired from Sears a few years later, she briefly worked at the Canton Hospital in the office and then at Axtell’s Specialties, back on the square. She was also married to Ira A. Cockroft for 4 years before he died from a sudden heart attack. Vowing never to marry again, a former classmate, Luther Latham, from Ethel high school changed her mind. His wife had died and he located Mavis among the classmates he was trying to gather up for a reunion. He was living in Austin, Texas, but persuaded her to marry him and move there at least for a little while, and then back to Mississippi where he had two sisters living. All this came to pass and they had 18 happy years living in Austin and Brandon before he died of cancer in June of 1999. They were very active members of the Methodist church of Brandon and the Hemoricallis Society for 16 years.
Mavis then moved back to Canton to live near Karon and her husband, Toxey Hall and their daughter, Lisa Hall Norton (Ricky) and their two daughters, Haley and Lacey. At this time she moved her church membership from the Methodist Church of Brandon to the First Presbyterian Church of Canton where she was an active member. Throughout her life she enjoyed sharing her good cooking with many friends and neighbors, and helping out sitting in the hospital with many relatives and good friends. She was a wonderful, loving mother, grandmother and friend to so many and will be greatly missed.
She was preceded in death by her parents, three husbands, three brothers; Edwin O’Briant and his wife, Elizabeth Montgomery O’Briant, Howard O’Briant and his wife Catherine Wasson O’Briant and the baby brother Harold; and sister-in-law, Clara Mae “Sit” Latham Flanagan. She is survived by her daughter Karon (Toxey) Hall, sister, Margaret Roberts of Memphis, TN, sister-in-law Bobbie Latham Roberts of Jackson, two step-sons; Carl (Karen) Latham of Anacortes, WA, and David (Linda) Latham of Wentzville, MO; granddaughters Lisa Hall Norton (Ricky) of Canton, Jyl Latham (Chris) of St. Louis, MO, Shanie Latham of St. Louis, MO, and Jenny (Kyle) Barker of Houston, TX; great granddaughters Haley Norton Cliburn and Lacey Norton of Canton, and Lila Jane Brady of St. Louise, MO, sister-in-law Bobbie Latham Roberts (Sonny) of Jackson, and several nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorials suggested are First Presbyterian Church of Canton, 202 E. Peace St., Canton, MS. 39046, French Camp Academy, One Fine Place, French Camp, MS. 39745 or a charity of your choice.
Visitation will be at Breeland Funeral Home in Canton on Wednesday, April 11th at 2:00 P.M. with the service to follow in the chapel at 3:00 P.M. and burial in the Canton Cemetery.