Percy Elijah Free

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Nov. 17, 1933 – Aug. 10, 2018

NATCHEZ —  Private graveside services for Percy Elijah “Ed” Free, 84, of Sibley, who died Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, at his residence, were held at Greenlawn Memorial Park Cemetery, as were his wishes, with Denny Calloway officiating.

Arrangements were under the direction of Laird Funeral Home.

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Mr. Free was born Nov. 17, 1933, in Archibald, La., the son of Jessie Elijah and Annie Caroline Richardson Free.

He grew up in Winnsboro, La., and was a 1951 graduate of Winnsboro High School.

Free attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and was a member of the ROTC Program and worked his way through college by taking a number of different jobs — spending his summers in Utah and Idaho working for the Forestry Commission.  He was a serious, diehard LSU Tiger fan.

In 1954, he accepted a job with Mississippi Power and Light Company in Natchez, as an electrical engineer.  He retired from Entergy in 1990 with 36 years.  He was proud to have had the honor of serving Adams County and surrounding areas with the designing and implementation of electrical services to many of the buildings and neighborhoods existing today.

In 1955, he married the prettiest “Little Gal” this side of the Mississippi, Carolyn Hope Watkins Free. He and Carolyn were married 63 years and had three children.

Free was a mason.  He was a lover of the outdoors, never taking for granted what God had provided and blessed him with.


He was preceded in death by his parents; beloved son, Michael Edward “Mike” Free; and grandson, Bobby Hilbun.

Survivors include his wife; one daughter, Teressa F. Burkley and husband, Lou, of Natchez; one son, Richard Dalton Free of Vicksburg; six grandchildren, Michael Burkley and wife, Kimberly, of Natchez, Garrett Burkley and wife, Meghan, of Germantown, Tenn., Katelan Burkley Barlow and husband, Ryan, of Vidalia, Dalaree Free Matheson and husband, Jonny, and Joshua Free, all of Charlotte, N.C., and Tara Free of Vicksburg; nine great-grandchildren, Reid, Lindley Claire, and Miller Burkley, Eli and Noah Burkley, Bella Kate, Nash, and baby Barlow due February 2019, and Carter Matheson;  one sister, Gerri Van Auken of San Antonio, Texas; one brother, Gene Free of Vicksburg; and a number of nieces and nephews.

Pallbearers were Michael Burkley, Garrett Burkley, Joshua Free, Ryan Barlow, Brian Burkley, Daniel Gasquet, Carl Bryant and Kenny Bryant.

A special thank you to Dr. Charles Borum, the staff of Compassus Care, and to his sitters, Hazel Banks and Louvette Baker.

Donations may be made to Cathedral School, Alzheimer’s Association, St. Jude Children’s Hospital or to a charity of choice.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at