John Rupert Lunceford became a gentle giant. He crossed the finish line of his earthly race with valor Friday, November 30, 2018. He was born on June 6, 1925 to Perry and Clara Nelms Lunceford on a small family farm south of Calhoun City, MS where he would learn the value of hard work and trusting in God for his every need. Four years later, the Great Depression hit and work became the purpose to survive, even for a young boy. Formation of integrity and character began at an early age.
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Rupert joked about receiving a letter after high school from the President of the United States inviting him to take an all expense paid cruise around the world. It was called “The Draft.” As an 18-year old with courage, he felt the strong call of duty to his small world of Calhoun County where he would for the rest of his life count it a high honor and privilege to have served in the Navy during World War II.
After fulfilling his military duty, Rupert returned to his much loved home. Years later, in 1958, he opened Rupert’s Grocery where he found his satisfying long-term of duty and place of service to his community. Twenty-five years later he began a new endeavor with the purchase of his own Western Auto franchise. The Calhoun County area was deeply impacted by his generosity during these many years.
Rupert was a faithful leader in many capacities at First Baptist Church, Calhoun City till the end. His vision and work was driven by the motto, “Wherever we go, whatever we do, let it be for the Lord and the common good of all members.” He was a much respected man of wisdom as
he lived out his love for God by serving others and loving them well. Jane Lunceford, his wife of more than sixty years claimed his admiring devotion. Rupert found delight with the birth of each child, grandchild, and great grandchild. He earned the endearing name “Ruru” to those who loved him. Family was everything to him. His greatest joy came when he was surrounded by them all, longing for them to know the gift of salvation from his faithful God.
“Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.” –Psalm 71:18
Rupert Lunceford was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers H.W. and Perry Jr., his two sisters Lorene Daves and Merle Webb, his loving wife, Jane Merritt Lunceford, and son, Bob Lunceford.
He leaves to cherish his memories his son, Michael Lunceford (Missy), his grandchildren, April Lunceford Sullivan (Stan), Jana Lunceford Alley, Matt Lunceford, John Lunceford (Brittany), Anna Lunceford Stunkel (Josh), his great-grandchildren, Molly Sullivan, Delaney Sullivan, Sam Sullivan, Jaycee and Jackson Alley, Kolby Jane and Easton Lunceford, and John Sawyer Lunceford, as well as a host of loved nieces, nephews, and dear friends.
Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church, Calhoun City, MS.