Obituary – Betty Joyce Upton Magee

Published 11:27 am Thursday, January 31, 2019

Mrs. Betty Joyce Upton Magee, 85, passed away unexpectedly on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, at Madison Hospital in Madison, Alabama. A longtime staff member at the Univ. of Mississippi and the widow of Ole Miss professor and Assoc. Dean Dr. Lyman A, Magee, she was a devoted mother and grandmother who also enjoyed friends, the beauty of the South, especially the food, and fresh flowers.

Visitation will be Monday, Feb. 4, 2019, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., with services immediately following at 2 p.m. at Coleman Funeral Home. Interment will be at the Oxford Memorial Cemetery. Coleman Funeral Home of Oxford is in charge of arrangements.

Born in Prairie Point, Mississippi (the Macon area), Mrs. Magee was for many years a pillar at Ole Miss in the financial aid department as a financial aid advisor and scholarship coordinator. Anchored in the basement of the Old Chemistry building, before students could file for assistance online, she was often the first and last person students seeking aid saw, known for her extra effort in helping them achieve all financial aid possible for their education.

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She and Dr. Magee lived on University Avenue for more than four decades and she spent much of her time on the front porch, visiting with friends and family and “watching Oxford go by.” After retirement, she spent countless days with her grandchildren and hosted many annual traditions including dyeing Easter eggs. Mrs. Magee had a knack and love for flower arranging and was part of a network of friends around town who often knew what lovely plants were in blossom and where at any given moment so that the right vase could be assembled and delivered to someone in need for brightening their day. 

Mrs. Magee’s other hobbies included knitting, quilting, collecting green depression glass, old houses, reading, journaling and watching sports. She always pulled for Ole Miss first but also rooted for LSU and for the SEC in general and for any pro team that had a former Ole Miss athlete on it.A graduate of Mississippi College, she and her husband met at the First Baptist Church of Baton Rouge, where he was the organist and she was the church secretary. After Dr. Magee graduated from LSU, they moved to Houston, Texas while he worked at MD Anderson Cancer Center and then to Jackson, Mississippi while he was at the Univ. of Miss. Medical Center and then on to Oxford and Ole Miss. 

She got involved in University Dames and for decades welcomed newcomers to town the same way she felt she was welcomed. They also mentored many Ole Miss students, welcoming them for dinners and offering unwavering support. Lifelong friendships were developed with students including Dr. Wyck Neely, Dr. Ford Dye, Dr. Bruce Newell, and countless others.

Mrs. Magee volunteered at various times in many years of community service with the Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Pilot Club, and the University Dames. She was a former member of the First United Methodist Church of Macon and the First Baptist Church of Oxford. 

Mrs. Magee is survived by one daughter, Esther Margaret Magee of Oxford, Mississippi; one son, David (Kent) Magee of Oxford; one grandson, Hudson (Logan) Magee of Bozeman, Montana; one granddaughter, Mary Halley Magee (Luke) Carlson of Pike Road, Alabama; and one great-grandson, William Wilder Magee of Bozeman.  Mrs. Magee was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Lyman Abbott Magee; her parents, Wallace Cooper Upton and Lessie Gertrude Arnold Upton Hinchey; and one grandson, William R. Magee.

Mrs. Magee or “Betty” as she liked to be called was loved by all who knew her and was known as a very sweet, kind, thoughtful, and gracious lady who will be sorely missed.

In lieu of flowers donations and memorials in honor of Mrs. Betty Magee may be made to The William Magee Center for Wellness Education at Ole Miss, c/o University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Avenue, Oxford, MS 38655 or to a charity of the donor’s choice.

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