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Lula Dean Morris Alexander

February 2, 1929 December 30, 2020
Lula Dean Morris Alexander
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Obituary for Lula Dean Morris Alexander

Lula Dean Morris Alexander, age 91, transitioned from this world to the next in the early hours of December 30, 2020, having been hospitalized on Christmas Day. She was surrounded by adoring family who alternately sang, shared words of abundant love, and offered prayers of thanksgiving for her life. Surely there was much rejoicing in heaven as Dean completed her lifelong quest of growing ever closer to God. Dean was born on February 2, 1929, to Corinne Hebron Morris and Joseph Henry Morris and spent the majority of her life living in the family home in Jackson built by her grandfather in 1893 and which she lovingly restored as an adult.

Dean attended Jackson Public Schools including Davis Elementary, Bailey Junior High, and Central High School where she was “empress of the dance floor” and from which she graduated in 1947. She was an honor student at Agnes Scott College and University of Mississippi, obtaining degrees in English, French, and Psychology and procuring her teacher’s license. Family lore has it that her father transferred her from Agnes Scott to University of Mississippi to decrease the chances of her marrying a Georgia boy and moving away from Jackson. To her father’s delight, she did indeed meet and marry a very fine fellow Jacksonian, Clay Roberts Alexander. They were married in December 1951 at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral with the reception held at the elegant family home on North State Street where Clay had proposed on the porch swing. The deep love they shared transcended his early death in 1971, and they are no doubt overjoyed at their heavenly reunion.

With faith as the core of her being, she gladly served her church in many capacities. She was the second woman elected to the Vestry of St. Andrew’s, organized and led the high school Episcopal Young Churchmen, served as Chairman of St. Andrew’s Bazaar and the Faith Alive Conference, and helped create the All Angels Guild. She was a leader in the first Disciples of Christ Study Program, Diocesan (state) Public Relations Chairman, and United Thank Offering Chairman, and a member of the Diocesan Women’s Auxiliary Board, as well as the St. Andrew’s Episcopal School Board of Governors. She was a cherished and active member of the Parish Choir for decades and co-chair of the Prayer Chain.

Her many decades of civic life were exceedingly meaningful to Dean, and her efforts have had a lasting impact on her community. Her sense of responsibility as a native Jacksonian born into a pioneer Jackson family was enhanced by her natural inclination toward service and her deep love of her city and community. Dean’s civic life included work with organizations reflective of her strong love of the Arts, interest in education and preservation, and love of others. She was President of the Jackson Symphony League, Chairman of the Symphony Ball and the Symphony Shindig fundraiser, and a member of the Symphony Orchestra Board of Governors. She was Chairman of the United Givers Fund Residential Drive and Chairman of the Campership Program for underprivileged children. She served on the boards of the YWCA, the Jackson Community Hospital, the Community Welfare and Health Center, the advisory committee to the Hinds County Health Department, the Civic Arts Council, and the Mississippi Library Board. Memberships included the Mississippi Symphony Association, the Metropolitan Concert Orchestra Association, the Mississippi Museum of Art, the Research Club, the Southern Luncheon Club, the Matron’s Luncheon Club, Chi Omega Alumni, Ole Miss Alumni, and various philanthropic organizations such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She supported the Mississippi Opera and the International Ballet Competition.

Dean was Chairman of the first Literary Awards Competition of the Mississippi Arts Festival and the Festival’s Literary Seminar. Under Dean’s leadership, the Festival was incorporated as an independent entity; instituted the first state-wide exhibits showcasing Mississippi artists, authors, craftsmen, sculptors, archaeologists, potters, garden designers, etc., with demonstrations; and became a cultural and educational force that inspired communities across the state to produce their own festivals, which still continue today.

Dean served the Junior League of Jackson in many leadership capacities and served as the 1968-69 President. Highlights of her involvement included being the Queen of the Junior League Carnival Ball and later being named as JLJ 2006 Sustainer of the Year.

Dean’s professional life included being a junior and senior high school teacher, the owner and manager of Triangle Photocopy Company, Vice-President and Secretary of the Morris Ice Company, Director of Development for the Hinds County Kidney Foundation, and the first Director of Volunteer Services for the newly opened Methodist Rehabilitation Center. A lifelong learner with deep and diverse interests, Dean obtained licenses as floral designer and as a real estate broker, as well as doing post-graduate work at Millsaps College, Ole Miss, University of Southern Mississippi, and Jackson State University. In later years, her love of preservation led her to advocate and focus on downtown Jackson, attending regional seminars to learn how other cities accomplished community revitalization and development. As Chairman of the Board of Le Fleurs Bluff Heritage Foundation, she was instrumental in saving the 1849 Boswell House from demolition, working with Kane Ditto, who acquired the property and restored the house to elegance. She restored the 1905 Queen Anne Sims House (now the Sims/Alexander House) at 513 North State Street, which has won national awards for restoration and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Dean considered as one of her life’s greatest accomplishments the authentic restoration of the 1893 family home at 505 North State Street, the Joseph Henry Morris House. Dean’s efforts resulted in the designation by the city of this rare cluster of historic houses as the Morris Historic District. Far from being a museum and in keeping with the character of its matriarch, Dean, the family home has been as at ease with dodge ball and roller skating on its porches as with the elegant parties that spilled over from within.

A woman of very deep faith who followed Christ, Dean’s selfless, genuine love and tireless, automatic inclination to actively serve God, friends, family, and strangers were the hallmarks of her life. Her example has been and will always be an inspiration to the countless souls touched by her goodness. Dean’s aim was to offer all to the glory of God, and she asked God to guide and work through her in all her endeavors from the smallest interpersonal interaction to the hosting of grand events. She lived her life in such a way as to be a living prayer. Her hospitality was epic. Whether being placed for Sunday dinner on the sideboard or arranged for elaborate parties, no dish left the kitchen without a garnish. Every creative detail was lovingly thought out to make her guests feel special. A highlight of every year was the Christmas party for family and friends, a decades-long tradition started by her mother in her children’s college years and continued by Dean until 2016. She once said, “It may seem silly to pray that a party would be for the glory of God but that is what I feel to do…I don’t know how God will use it but He knows.” Dean was a valued prayer partner and prayer warrior for many, an extraordinarily dedicated mother and friend, a great listener, a spontaneous dancer. Her capacity for wit and whimsy was as easily accessed as her deep reverence, her constant sense of gratitude, and her radiant smile.

Dean was preceded in death by her husband, Clay, her parents, Joe Henry and Corinne Hebron Morris, her brother, Joseph Henry Morris, III; and her sister-in-law, Virginia Van Hecke. She is survived by her children, Clay Roberts Alexander, Jr. of Jackson, Mississippi, Joseph Morris Alexander (Alice) of Tupelo, Mississippi, and Corinne Alexander Sampson (Chuck) of Jackson; grandchildren, Joseph Queen (Kristen) of Brandon, Mississippi, the Reverend Elizabeth Henry of Jackson, Rachel Gibson (Jacob) of Pensacola, Florida, Ellen Saathoff (Sean) of Austin, Texas, Ariel Jackson (Alex) of Arlington, Texas, and Anna Grace Alexander of Tupelo; great-grandchildren, Kennedy, Walker, and Lennon Queen of Brandon; brother, William Hebron Morris of Jackson; nieces, Wendy Aucoin (Roger), Bethany Andrews (Kent), Clinnon Alexander, Corabel Shofner (Martin), Marcee Silver, Ellen Prewitt (Tom), and Elli Morris; nephews, Tom Sancton (Sylvaine), Julian Alexander (Karen); beloved cousins, John Dickson and John Hebron Moore; four great-nieces and six great nephews; beloved housekeeper/caregiver and friend, Lynn Story. Special thanks to all her caregivers at The Blake in Flowood Memory Care, especially Myesha, Tiffany, and Gwen.

A family graveside service was held on Saturday at 2 PM in Greenwood Cemetery in Jackson, Mississippi. Friends and family who wish to celebrate her life virtually may access a livestream of the service at the Sebrell Funeral Home Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/sebrellfuneralhome/. A larger, in-person memorial celebration of Dean’s life will be scheduled at a later date.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, or the Mississippi Heritage Trust.

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Events

Event Information

Services are private.

Cemetery Details

Location

Greenwood Cemetery Final Resting Place

North West Street at George Street
Jackson, Mississippi 39212

North West Street at George Street Jackson 39212 Mississippi
United States

Memorial Contribution

Mississippi Heritage Trust

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral

305 E Capitol Street
Jackson, MS 39201

National Trust for Historic Preservation

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