John Ray Beasley



Tupelo-One of the area’s great promoters and consummate Indian historian, John Ray Beasley, crossed over to the happy hunting ground at 2:25 am Thursday, June 28, 2018 at Sanctuary Hospice House where he had briefly resided. John Ray was born in Benton County, Hickory Flat, Mississippi on March 22, 1931 to the late John Hardy and Mary Eva Jones Beasley. He was 87. His family moved to Tupelo when he was a lad and he graduated from Tupelo High School, Class of l949 where he excelled in socializing. He met Lottye Betts Rye Beasley in l952 and she committed to wait on him while he served in the U. S. Navy during the Korean Conflict. After serving stateside in California and Alaska, John Ray was discharged home to Lee County and promptly took his sweetheart, Lottye Betts as his wife on July 16, l954, a blessed marriage of 63 years. John Ray owned and ran a DX service station and Lottye Betts taught school to make ends meet. He and his family purchased farmland on Coonewah Creek in 1964 in west Lee County. They eventually sold lots to friends and established a residential neighborhood. With his son, Rick, much of it was ultimately developed into what is known as High Forest. John Ray was the last remaining charter member of Wesley United Methodist Church where he and Lottye Betts were active and faithful for over 60 years. The family homestead on the ridge overlooking the bottom lands was named Cedarscape and was on ground strongly occupied by the Native American Chickasaw Indians in the day. John Ray developed an interest in and ultimately a strong love and appreciation for the Chickasaws and became an authority on Chickasaw lore. His collection of artifacts was outstanding and he encouraged the Chickasaw nation in every way. At his death, he had become one of the most enduring and proactive citizens in the effort to preserve and maintain the Chickasaw lands. His generosity will forever be legendary. He was ultimately awarded honorary membership in the Chickasaw Nation. He was a great southern storyteller and most loved telling the story of Walking Mary-the ghost of Cedarscape. A great admirer of his family especially his grandchildren, “Daddy John” was their hero and they knew him as the “President of the Best Dang Grandfather Club” around. He was always the life of the party, enjoyed gatherings of family and friends and his kind, pleasant disposition kept people laughing. His legacy will be that of a good and kind Christian husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and community leader who touched many lives with compassion and purpose in his earthly pilgrimage.
A service celebrating his life will be held at 2 PM Sunday, July 1, 2018 at the Tupelo Chapel of Holland Funeral Directors with prayers by Dr. Bryan Collier and his current pastor, Rev. Roger Puhr. Personal reflections will be delivered by family members. Burial will be in Tupelo Memorial Park following the service. Visitation will be from 4 PM-6PM today and from Noon-service time on Sunday all at Holland-Tupelo Chapel, which is honored to be serving their friends.
John Ray leaves behind his wife of 63 years, Lottye Betts Rye Beasley. His son, Rickey Malloy Beasley and his wife, Kathy all of Tupelo. his grandchildren, Zach Beasley (Rachel), Casey Beasley (Amanda), Jenni Beasley Long (Matt), Katie Crenshaw (Jonathan) and Kay Ann Spears (Ben). His great grandchildren, Sydney, Colby, Hayden, Cohen, Cedars (named after Cedarscape), Kelon Rymes, Edie and Linnie Ann. His son in law, Ken Dorris of Ecru. 1 nephew, Gary Wayne Beasley of Pontotoc , the mother of 3 of his grands,( Zach, Casey and Jenni)- Debbi Hall (Gary) of Tupelo, a sister-in-law, Wilma Beasley, 3 nieces, Jean Barnes(Paul) and children, Jane Clark (Tony) and children, and Judy Cappell (Eric) and children. He was preceded in death by his parents, siblings and his beloved daughter, Eva Ann Beasley Dorris on June 30, 2006.
Pallbearers will be Zach and Casey Beasley, Matt Long, Wayne Guin, Paul Barnes and Randy Harville. Honorary pallbearers will be Gary Wayne Beasley, Colby Beasley, Billy Wayne Dillard, Mitch Caver, Jonathan Crenshaw and Ben Spears.
Memorials may be made to Sanctuary Hospice House, P. O. Box 2177, Tupelo, MS. 38802. The service may be viewed via at 2 pm Sunday and for 60 days thereafter. Condolences may be e mailed to