Archived Story

James Shelby Sessums Jr.

Published 12:00am Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Jan. 20, 1939 – Sept. 16, 2013

NATCHEZ — A celebration of life for James Shelby Sessums Jr., 74, of Natchez, who died Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, at his residence, will be at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Travelers Rest Plantation, 417 Dunbarton Road in Natchez.

Mr. Sessums was born Jan. 20, 1939, in Drew, the son of James Shelby Sessums and Frances Stokely Sessums.

He was a graduate of Delta State University and was a veteran of the U.S. Navy, serving on the USS Independence. While living in Drew, he ran the family owned and operated Sessums Lumber Company before moving to New Orleans.

Mr. Sessums was a resident of New Orleans for more than 30 years. He was a real estate agent for Latter & Blum Inc., and was a member of the Chairman’s Club. While living in New Orleans, he purchased and renovated The Blanqu-Paturzo-Sessums House, initiating the rebirth of the historic Bywater community.

For more than 50 years, Mr. Sessums traveled frequently, visiting the Natchez area where he would finally settle. He was an avid lover of history, especially Mississippi history and in particular, Natchez history. Following hurricane Katrina, Mr. Sessums retired to Natchez, giving him the opportunity to indulge in his passion for the outdoors, gardening and historical architecture.

Aside from his love of history, he enjoyed renovating houses and often served as a tour guide to visiting friends and family.

Mr. Sessums could often be found on his front porch listening to classical music with good friends and his boxer, Duke.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Survivors include one daughter Secily S. Friend and husband, Phil; one son, Clifton S. Sessums; three grandchildren, Mallory, Haley and Keaton Friend, all of Hattiesburg; two siblings, Brad Sessums and wife, Robin, of Jackson and Sandra Crosthwait of Jackson; his partner, Stan McCearley; and a number of other friends and family members.

He will be greatly missed by all.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Drew United Methodist Church, 105 W. Shaw Ave., Drew, MS 38737.

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