The community is mourning the loss of longtime county leader Harvey Overstreet of the Hebron Community, who passed away last week at the age of 90. Funeral services were held Saturday at Hebron Baptist Church, with burial following in the church cemetery.
Overstreet served as Montgomery County’s Veterans Services officer from 1991 until his retirement in June 2017, and he served as the elected representative of District 5 on the Montgomery County School Board from 2000 until the school district consolidation in 2018. He also served as a columnist for The Winona Times, The Conservative, and The Star-Herald, writing the Hebron News with his wife, Tommie, since the late 1980s.
“Mr. Overstreet was one of the kindest people I’ve ever known,” said Reggie Ross, former sports editor for The Winona Times and The Conservative. “I looked forward to him stopping by the newspaper every Friday with talks about everything from the outdoors to gospel singing and his favorite grandson, Magnum. I’m truly saddened by his loss, and he will be deeply missed.”
As the Montgomery County Veterans Service officer, Overstreet was involved in the infancy in developing the North Mississippi Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Kilmichael. In fact, he was the one who brought the possibility of Montgomery County becoming home to the cemetery to the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors initially and continued to serve as a liaison between the state Veterans Affairs Board and local leaders.
“[Overstreet] always kept me in the loop of calls I need to make to ensure the cemetery was coming to Montgomery County,” said Ron Wood, District 4 Supervisor. “He insisted that I go with him to meetings of the Veterans board. He was very instrumental [in the development of the cemetery.]
As a longtime member of the Montgomery County School District, Overstreet served as board chair on several occasions and was an active member of the board.
According to fellow board member Al White, Overstreet was sentimental about the district because he was a product of Montgomery County Schools, and he wanted to represent the children of District 5.
“He was a very supportive board member and team player as for looking out for the interests of the Montgomery County School District,” White said.
White said Overstreet took his responsibility as a board member very seriously, and he always attended the various continuing education sessions for board members over the years, whether they were in Jackson or somewhere further.
“I was a very conscientious and proactive-thinking board member,” White said. “We were definitely on the same page about the consolidation.”
White said Overstreet wasn’t against consolidation, but he not approve of the process set forth by the consolidation legislation and the Mississippi Department of Education’s execution of that legislation.
“He wasn’t opposed to the consolidation but how they went about it,” White said.
Overstreet was one of five members of the last Montgomery County School Board.
As the regular writer of “The Hebron News” for The Winona Times and The Conservative, Overstreet and his wife, Tommie, reported about the everyday lives of their friends and neighbors in the Hebron Community.
“We were columnists together for many years,” said North Carrollton Mayor Ken Strachan, another longtime columnist of The Winona Times and The Conservative. “Through his military service and elected service, Harvey was a patriot of the highest order. I called on him many times for his advice and consultation. He will be missed by many, and his service to this area will always be remembered.”
The weekly column was the quintessential community column, reporting on the daily lives and happenings of local citizens, a healthy dose of prayer requests, and news from natives of the area who had moved away from the county.
“Even before I got to know Harvey personally from his visits from the office, I got to know he and Tommie, their daughter, Tammy, and grandson, Magnum, through his weekly columns,” said Amanda Sexton Ferguson, editor and publisher of The Winona Times and The Conservative. “A really great community columnist like Harvey not only tells great stories about the people in his life, he makes the reader feel invested in the lives of those he wrote about.”
Overstreet retired as a columnist in 2018.
“He was much missed in the paper and as a regular visitor of our office,” Ferguson said. “With his passing, he will be missed throughout the entire community.”
Overstreet was a graduate of the Big Black Consolidated High School in Kilmichael in 1946, joining the U.S. Navy after graduating. After her was discharged from the Navy in 1947, he moved to Memphis, Tenn., and attended Draughon’s Business College, where he earned an Associate’s degree in accounting. He worked for Gordon’s Transports in Memphis from 1950 until 1981, and Hohenwald Truck Line, Trans-Carriers, and Swain and Sons until he retired in 1989.
Overstreet served in the Tennessee Air National Guard for 37 years, retiring with the rank of senior master sergeant and earning the Meritorious Service Award for Outstanding Duty.
In the late 1980s, Overstreet and his wife, Tommie, returned home to Montgomery County, where he was hired as the Veterans Service officer for the county and was an active member of the community.
He and his wife, Tommie, organized the Poplar Creek Volunteer Fire Department, and he served as its first chief. He also served as the president of the Poplar Creek Water Association for many years, on the Montgomery County Economic Council from 1993-1994, as a member of the Mississippi Association of Veteran Service Officers from 1994-1996, and was a moderator for the Montgomery Carroll Baptist Association from 1992-1993.
On June 9, 1996, Overstreet was ordained into the ministry, serving various churches in the area as pastor, while wife, Tommie, led the music.
Overstreet is survived by Tommie Dorman Overstreet; daughter, Tammy Overstreet Henderson; and grandson, Magnum Henderson.