Abigail S.J. Healy

Published 10:10 am Tuesday, October 17, 2017


NATCHEZ — A memorial service for Abigail S.J. Healy, 82, of Natchez, who died peacefully at home Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, will be 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 28 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Natchez.

Visitation will be from 9:30 a.m. until service time at the church.

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Arrangements are under the direction of Sharkey Funeral Home in Summit.

Abigail was born July 25, 1935, in Natchez, the daughter of Hyde Rust Jenkins and Helen Byrnes Jenkins.

After Abigail returned to Natchez from New Orleans in the late 1960s, Abigail found employment as a “step-on” guide for the Pilgrimage Garden Club and became involved in promoting travel to Natchez, establishing Ole South Tours and offering the first fly-drive package advertised in Delta Airways Dream Manual. Her connection with Pro Travel of New Orleans and Delta Airlines led to a FAM trip to parts of Europe showing slides of historic houses and sites along the Mississippi. Her interests in tourism and travel remained a part of her career her life time along with an interest in local politics and was elected chairman of the Adams County Republican Party for a number of years was a delegate to the 1976 National Republican Convention in Kansas City.

Abigail accepted a presidential appointment by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, and served as the first and only alcohol liaison in the Drug Abuse policy office in the White House. She returned to Natchez and became the Republican nominee for the 4th district congressional office of the 4th district, garnering 30 percent of the vote.

Seeing a need for a shelter for victims and the families of domestic violence in southwestern Mississippi, Abigail, under the supervision of Sister Clare Hogan of Catholic Charities, Inc., enlisted the help of Mayor Brown and his administration for the renovation and use of the old Natchez General Hospital and obtained a permit for the Guardian Shelter for Battered Families to use the first floor as a temporary haven and the upper two floors as low income apartments. Upon retiring as shelter director, Abigail founded the Sunshine Shelter for Abused Children with the help of Senator Bob Dearing and seed money from Doris Buffett’s Sunshine Shelter organization.

Abigail was preceded in death by her parents; four siblings, Helen Louise Kuehnle, Annie Ferriday Coleman, Katherine Denver Slatter, Hyde “Sonny” Jenkins, and the father of her four surviving sons, G.W. “Bunky” Healy III.

Survivors include her husband, Jerry D. Beach; four sons, George W. and wife, Rosi, of Gulfport, John Carmichael of Apex, N.C., Floyd Alford and wife, Wendy, of Maumelle, Ark., and Hyde Dunbar and wife, Elizabeth Slatten of Covington, La.; one stepson, Pierce Beach and wife, Lacey, of Sunflower; sister-in-law Bettye McGehee Jenkins of Natchez; nine grandchildren, one step grandson of Sunflower and a number of nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to Trinity Episcopal Church Natchez.