Josephine Minnie Bennett Tierce passed away Feb. 22, 2021 at Merit Hospital in Canton. A long-time resident of Indianola, Josephine had recently been living at The Orchard in Ridgeland.
Josephine was born in 1928 in Sunflower to Joseph Albert Bennett and Minnie Dismuke Bennett. She graduated from MSCW with a degree in home economics and also attended art school in Washington, D.C. She taught for several years at Linn High School and Indianola High School before becoming a social worker with the Mississippi Department of Human Services. While working as a social worker, Josephine received national recognition in 1976 when she identified a rare and usually fatal hereditary disease, providing treatment options for the children and adults at UMC.
Josephine was actively involved in the Indianola Garden Club, particularly focusing on renovating the South Sunflower County Hospital courtyard. This led to her recognition at the state and national level for garden therapy applications. She was also directly responsible for renovations of the intersection of Highways 82 and 49, including designing an irrigation system to ensure that the landscaping thrived during the hot Indianola summers.
From the time she graduated from MSCW in 1950, Josephine worked tirelessly to promote and enhance her alma mater. She received ‘Golden Girl’ status in 2000 by the MUW Foundation for being an alumnus for fifty (50) years. She was also recognized in 2004 by receiving the MUW Alumni Award in a recognition ceremony at MUW Homecoming. A long-time member of the Indianola First United Methodist Church, Josephine actively participated in providing floral arrangements for the church sanctuary and coordinating communion activities. She also participated in preparation of Rotary meals until she moved to The Orchard.
Josephine was an active member of the Red Hat Society, but anyone who knew Josephine knew that she was a red hat lady before there was a Red Hat Society. She proudly wore her vast collection of hats wherever she went. When she moved to The Orchard, she provided several of her more spectacular hats to Michael Abraham for display at Abraham’s of Indianola.
Josephine’s husband, Ralph had always promised to take her on a Caribbean cruise and fulfilled this promise before he passed away. This cruise started a long-standing tradition of going on Mardi Gras cruises for many years, taking her Mardi Gras finery on the cruise. She had also become an official Jimmy Buffet ‘parrothead’ after attending a Jimmy Buffet concert and after-party in Biloxi.
Josephine was preceded in death by: her husband, Ralph Tierce; her father, Albert Bennett; her mother, Minnie Bennett; and her older brother, O. B. Bennett.
Surviving Josephine is her three sons, Will (Lucy), Barry (Jessie) and Robert (Paula) and her sister, Annette Blaine. She is also survived by grandchildren, Trey Tierce, Sarah Beth Tierce, John Tierce, Salem Tierce, Haley Quatrevingt, Skyler Tierce, Robin Maberry and Gregory Tierce, as well as 11 great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to11 a.m. Friday at Indianola First United Methodist Church followed by a Celebration of Life service. Pallbearers will be Trey Tierce, John Tierce, Salem Tierce, Skyler Tierce, Gregory Tierce, and Matt Maberry.
Burial will be at Indianola City Cemetery.
Burton Funeral Home of Indianola has been entrusted with arrangements.