E. J. Grisham, Sr., 89, died on September 3, 2013, following a lengthy illness. Wright and Ferguson Funeral Home of Clinton is handling arrangements. Visitation will be from 5:00 until 7:00 on Wednesday evening, September 4, 2013, and from 10:00 until 11:00 on Thursday, September 5, 2013, followed by a memorial service at 11:00 a.m. in the chapel of Wright and Ferguson in Clinton. Interment will be Friday, September 6, 2013, at 2:00 p.m. in the New Albany City Cemetery.
E. J. was born in Union County, Mississippi to Howard and Lurah Grisham. Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1942, he graduated from New Albany High School and immediately joined the United States Army Air Force. When the war ended, his goal was to join the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol; however, because he was too young to meet the age requirements, he went to Washington, D. C. to work in the Fingerprint Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In 1949 he returned to Mississippi to attend Itawamba Junior College, where he played football under Coach A. D. “Butch” Lambert. The team referred to themselves as “Butch’s Boys,” and after Coach Lambert’s death, began the tradition of a yearly reunion, an event enjoyed by E. J. for many years.
E. J. realized his goal of becoming a member of the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol in the summer of 1950, successfully completing Patrol School and being sworn into duty on August 1, 1950. Life was to change quickly for him. On December 2, 1950, after stopping a car carrying four suspected automobile thieves, he sustained a gunshot wound to the neck and was left on a country road just north of Vicksburg. Although he was given little chance for survival and virtually no prospect of resuming normal daily life, he not only survived but thrived, astounding doctors by his determination to overcome the lasting effects of this injury. In 1960, he became an investigator and fingerprint expert in the Identification Division of the Highway Patrol, a position he held until mandatory retirement at the age of 60. Following retirement, E.J. remained active in the Mississippi Highway Patrol Retired Troopers Association.
E. J. will be remembered as a generous man of strong conviction and determination who loved his family, country, and God. For 34 years, he was a faithful member, deacon, and Training Union leader at Van Winkle Baptist Church in Jackson. After moving to Clinton in 1993, he became an active member of First Baptist Church. As a World War II veteran, he enjoyed membership in both the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion. Until his health declined, he was also very active in the Right to Life organization.
E. J. was a remarkable gardener and could repair virtually anything. More importantly, he was a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. When possible, he attended all school, church, and sporting events in which his children and grandchildren participated and, as a strong believer in the value of education, supported and encouraged their academic activities.
Although he battled permanent difficulties for the rest of his life, he never gave up, refusing to be labeled as handicapped or disabled in any way. He was determined to live fully, joyfully, and contentedly in all circumstances. E.J. accomplished much in life and will be remembered as someone who served God and others.
Preceded in death by his parents, he is survived by his remarkable wife of 61 years, Alice Murphy Grisham, son E. J. “Jack” Grisham, Jr. (Debbie), daughters Beverly Lawrence (Tim) and Suzan Newman (Rick), brother W. R. (Robert) Grisham, grandchildren Katie Lawrence, Mary Ellen Lawrence, Kellon Lawrence, Elizabeth Newman Adrian (John), David Newman, Allison Newman, and Andrew Newman, and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
The family wishes to thank the staff of Clinton HealthCare Center and PAX Hospice who have lovingly cared for him during his final days. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorials be made to the Mississippi Baptist Children’s Village, P. O. Box 27, Clinton, MS 39060 or to a favorite charity.