Robert Earl Rutledge

Published 11:28 am Friday, March 30, 2018

Funeral services for Robert Earl Rutledge, who passed away March 22, 2018, in Oxford, will be held Saturday, March 31, 2018 at noon at Salem Methodist Church in Etta, Miss., with a visitation from 11 a.m. to noon at the church.

Mr. Rutledge was born March 8, 1932, to Robert Lynson Rutledge and Ludie Graham Rutledge in Pinedale, Miss., Mr. Rutledge graduated from Pinedale High School in 1950.

Mr. Rutledge attended Mississippi State University while continuing work on the family farm. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1955. Mr Rutledge was awarded a Master of Science degree from Mississippi State University in 1973.

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Mr. Rutledge served in the 3rd Armored Division “Spearhead” of the U.S. Army for two years, from 1955 to 1957.

Home for the holidays, Robert wed his high school sweetheart JoLane Jumper on Christmas Eve 1955. The newlyweds lived with a German family in Friedberg, Germany. They spent military leave for two years traveling Europe, building lifelong memories.

Returning home, Robert began a long career with the Mississippi County Extension Service. He initially served Benton County beginning in 1957, leaving as County Agent in 1966. Mr. Rutledge was the County Agent for Lafayette County, serving the county from 1966 to 1987. He worked with the youth of Lafayette County for years as the 4-H program leader.

During his decades with the County Extension Service, Mr. Rutledge hosted a radio program and wrote weekly news articles advocating improved agricultural practices.

He was on the Board of Directors of North East Mississippi Electric Power Association and was a long-time member of Kiwanis International.

Mr. Rutledge was an active member of the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association, working closely with the organization for 30 years. He was a lifetime member by invitation of the National Extension Honorary, Epsilon Sigma Phi. In 1987, the National Association of County Agricultural Agents awarded Robert Rutledge the Distinguished Service Award at its national convention.

Mr. Rutledge continued his farming operations in retirement. The seasons would find him riding his tractor, cultivating exotic plants and trees or growing unrivaled tomatoes. He was an avid fisherman exploring the lakes and rivers of North Mississippi.

Mr. Rutledge is survived by his wife, JoLane Jumper Rutledge; daughter, Sherry Rutledge Gwin and her husband Michael of Jackson Miss.; and grandchildren, Katherine Lane Gwin, Clare O’Mara Gwin and Ellen Elizabeth Gwin.

The Rev. Daniel Darling will officiate at the services.

The family expresses gratitude to the staff at Mississippi State Veteran’s Home and Camellia Hospice in Oxford for their compassion and care.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Salem Methodist Church Cemetery Fund, 1521 State Hwy., Etta, MS 38627; or Oxford – University United Methodist Church, Oxford, MS 38655.