Phil W. Vasser

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, August 4, 2015

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April 26, 1940 – Aug. 1, 2015

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NATCHEZ — Services for Phil W. Vasser, 75, of Natchez, who died Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015, at his residence, Vasser Ranch, will be 11 a.m. today at Laird Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. Jimmy Barber officiating.

Burial will follow at the Natchez City Cemetery under the direction of Laird Funeral Home.

Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until time of service today at the funeral home.

Mr. Vasser was born April 26, 1940, in Jennings, La., the son of David Eugene Vasser and Bernice Pearl Rose Vasser.

He was a 1959 graduate of Washington High School and a graduate of McNeese State University, where he continued his rodeo career on a rodeo scholarship. He was named All Around Champion of the State of Louisiana in 1958, All Around Champion of LRA Rodeo Association in 1961 and was inducted into the Louisiana Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2005. After his college and rodeo years, he started El Toro Oil Company in 1969 and El Toro Production Company Inc., in 1975, which he continued to operate until his death.

Along with his love of the oil business, he continued his love of horses at Vasser Ranch where he raised and trained his own cutting horse, “Gold Magnolia Miss,” winning top ten in the nation. He was one of the founding members of the Southern Cutting Horse Futurity and the Mississippi Cutting Horse Association.

Mr. Vasser was a member of the U.S. Oil and Gas Association, past president of the Confederate Oil Invitational, Santa Claus Committee, serving as Santa Claus in 1981, Master Mason, a member of the Shriners International, lifetime member of the National Cutting Horse Association, Rodeo Historical Society, Historic Natchez Foundation and the Natchez Chamber of Commerce. He was a long time contributor and supporter of the Miss-Lou Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame.

Mr. Vasser loved being a sponsor of the 9-10 year old Dixie Youth Baseball teams for more than 30 years.

Mr. Vasser was preceded in death by his parents; one brother, John Vasser; and two brothers-in-law, Junior Meek and Dr. Robert Engler.

He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Jimmi Lou Vasser; two “sons,” James Davis of Jackson and Curtis Davis of Hattiesburg; one brother, Claude David Vasser and wife, Sherry, of Metairie, La.; two sisters, Vicky Day and husband, Russell, of Monroe, La., and Eugenie Cates and husband, Michael, of Natchez; two sisters-in-law, Pat Engler of Vicksburg and Ann Meek of Godley, Texas; seven nephews, Claude David Vasser Jr., Robert Wood, Rip Engler, Chad Day, Travis Day, Jason Day and Cody Day; four nieces, Vickye Slater, Jimi Sue Bonnette, Shannon Bohanan and Devereaux Cates; 26 great-nieces and nephews; three great-great-nieces; and long time assistant, Page Blackwell.

Pallbearers will be Curtis Davis, James Davis, Robert Wood, Chad Day, Rip Engler, Travis Day, Jason Day, Cody Day and Claude David Vasser Jr.

Honorary pallbearers will be Joe Fortunato, James Bridges, Gene Dauphin, Marion Smith, Cappy Stahlman, James Biglane, Jim Lessley, Tommy Cotten, Ben Emison, Jim Campbell and all of the ladies at the Eola restaurant who waited on and spoiled him over the years.

A special thanks to his two special caregivers, Willie and Charlotte Payne, to Dr. Blane Mire, Donna Crisp, Dr. Ruth Fredericks, the nurses of Compassus Hospice and Jason Dauphin and to our wonderful church family.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Carmel Baptist Church, P.O. Box 926, Natchez, MS 39121 or to a charity of choice.

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