Alonzo Sturgeon

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 22, 2010

WOODVILLE — Graveside services for Alonzo H. Sturgeon, of Woodville, were 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010, at Evergreen Cemetery in Woodville with the Rev. Bernard Waites of the Corinth Church of Christ officiating.

Burial followed in the Moore family plot under the direction of Newman Funeral Home in Centreville.

Alonzo Holmes Sturgeon Jr. was born Friday, Dec. 13, 1931, in Natchez, the son of Alonzo H. Sturgeon and Mary Susan Ellis. He attended school in Wilkinson County at Beech Stand and graduated from high school at the old Natchez High School in 1949. After high school Mr. Sturgeon enlisted in the U.S. Army where he served through the Korean War, during which time he earned the rank of first lieutenant. He later served in the Mississippi National Guard.

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Mr. Sturgeon graduated with honors from the University of Southern Mississippi (then Mississippi Southern College.) He then attended Tulane University in New Orleans as a graduate student in history and entered law school there on a full scholarship. Mr. Sturgeon then attended the University of Mississippi where he graduated from law school in 1961. He was admitted to the bar in Mississippi that year and first began practice in Natchez in the firm of Netterville and Sturgeon in August of 1961, with the late Robert Netterville.

Mr. Sturgeon began teaching at the University of Southern Mississippi as an instructor in political science in 1961, and was promoted to assistant professor in 1963. He assisted in the formation of the Department of Criminal Justice at Southern Mississippi and was later made associate professor of criminal justice. Mr. Sturgeon was the author of a number of papers and treatises largely on the subject of law and particularly criminal justice and was published in various trade and scholarly magazines. He was noted nationally in 1975, and 1976, for this research on the “forgotten founding father” Oliver Pollack, and helped to create new national interest in Pollack. He also served at Southern Mississippi as the dean of admissions during 1966, and 1967. He taught criminal justice, political science and history at the Natchez branch of the University of Southern Mississippi for a number of years.

In 1963, Mr. Sturgeon was elected to represent Wilkinson County in the Mississippi House of Representatives. While serving in the House, he was instrumental in the passage of numerous legislation, including the establishment of Mississippi Educational Television. In 1967, he was elected Chancery Clerk of Wilkinson County, which position he held until 1968.

Mr. Sturgeon was elected district attorney for the 6th Circuit Court District in 1979, which encompassed at that time Adams, Amite, Wilkinson, Jefferson and Franklin counties. Mr. Sturgeon served as district attorney for Natchez and this surrounding area until his retirement at the end of 1995. He was instrumental in founding the Mississippi Prosecutor’s Association, with which he continued to be associated even after his retirement. In 1996, Mr. Sturgeon re-entered the private practice of law with his son, Holmes Sturgeon, in the firm of Sturgeon and Sturgeon, with offices in Woodville and Natchez, and continued in that capacity until his death.

Mr. Sturgeon attended the Church of Christ all of his life and joined the Corinth Church of Christ in the Buffalo community as a young man. Mr. Sturgeon was also a Mason, a member of Harmony Lodge in Natchez and in recent years a dual member with Asylum Lodge in Woodville. Mr. Sturgeon went through the York Rite at Natchez and was a member of the Natchez Chapter No. 1, Royal Arch Masons.

Mr. Sturgeon was a member of Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity, Phi Delta Kappa, Pi Gamma Mu, Pi Kappa Pi, the American Trail Lawyers Association, the Mississippi and Natchez Historical Societies and was a member of the Order of the First Families of Mississippi. He was long active in the Sons of Confederate Veterans, being a member of the Gen. Will T. Martin Chapter in Natchez. He served at one time as Brigade Commander of the 3rd Brigade and in other offices, and was very involved in the administration of Beauvoir in the 1960s, and 1970s.

He was preceded in death by his parents and three brothers, John H. Sturgeon, Maxie E. Sturgeon and Louis V. Sturgeon.

Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Bettye Jane Moore; one brother, Lt. Col. Charles E. Sturgeon; one son, Holmes Sturgeon; and two grandsons, Walker Sturgeon and Alonzo Sturgeon IV.

Pallbearers were nephews, Charles E. Sturgeon Jr., Louis V. Sturgeon Jr., Cecil R. Sturgeon, Lance M. Walker, Anthony Sturgeon, Levin M. Walker III, Hiram Sturgeon, Parker Cavin and Conner Idom.

The family requests that memorials be made to Corinth Church of Christ, the Natchez Children’s Home or Wilkinson County Christian Academy.