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AMerican Veteran 11

Billy Wade Spires

November 4, 1943 ~ September 18, 2019 (age 75)

Billy Wade Spires, 75, reached the meridian of his life on Wednesday, September 18, 2019 while in surgery at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo.  One of Northeast Mississippi’s most colorful and enthusiastic souls, Wade cut a wide path in his lifetime that was marked by his service to his fellowmen in their struggles with addiction as well as building character and direction through his illustrious pilgrimage as a 33 degree Scottish Rite Mason.  Wade was born Nov. 4, l943, in his beloved Tippah County to the late James Milton Spires and Ellen Ann Jeter Spires.  He graduated from Center High School, attended Northeast Mississippi Junior College and was later drafted in the U. S. Army honorably discharging with the rank of Private.  After struggling with addiction himself early in life, Wade made himself whole through his involvement in the AA Movement.  He moved to Tupelo in 1972 where he became affiliated with Harbor House, later Region III Mental Health Center.  He retired in 1995 after many years as Executive Director of the Drug and Alcohol program.  In that capacity, Wade successfully provided a compass for recovery complete with untold hours of personal encouragement to thousands trying to overcome their struggles. All the while, Wade was a significant figure in the Masonic Orders which culminated with the 33rd and highest degree in Masonry.  A member of Tupelo Lodge #318, Wade was active in all levels of Masonry and participated in the awarding of all the degrees in Scottish Rites.  He lectured hundreds of Masons in his almost 50-year Masonic journey.  Wade loved people, encouraged people and led people to overcome their struggles with strength and dignity.  A gentleman who lived large, Wade loved conversation, genealogy, lunching with his many friends as often as possible, and spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren.  His dying goal was for his family to remain strong and vibrant.   Wade was a longtime active member of the First Presbyterian Church in Tupelo. 

A service celebrating his life will be held at 2 PM Sunday, September 22, 2019 at the Tupelo Chapel of Holland Funeral Directors with Rev. Dr. Ron Richardson officiating with special friends, Walt Walton and Carol Thompson delivering personal reflections with Masonic funeral honors following the service in the Chapel.  Private burial will follow in the Spires’ family plot at Tippah Memorial Gardens in Ripley.  Visitation will be from Noon-service time Sunday only, all at Holland-Tupelo Chapel (662-840-5000), which is honored to be serving their friends.

Wade leaves behind his wife, Silvia Dennis Spires, whom he married April 9, l992 at the Elvis Presley Birthplace Chapel in Tupelo;  his children, Debbie Ritter of Nashville, Justin Spires (Lori) of Tupelo, Michael Rinehart of Dumas, Joe Rinehart of Fox Lake, Ill, and Rusty Rinehart (Jackie) of Fulton; his baby sister, Ruth Spires of Ripley; his 8 grandchildren, who affectionately knew him as Poppy or Papaw,  Carson, Channing, Evan, Hannah, Eric, Joseph, Katelyn (Zack) and John; his great-grandchildren, Penelope Rinehart and Brody and Sawyer Whitfield.  He was preceded in death by his parents, 2 brothers, Lorenzie Spires and Jimmy Spires, and a sister, Betty Spires Hurt.

Honorary Pallbearers will be the members of Tupelo Lodge #318, all Masons, former Executive Director of Region III Mental Health Center Robin Young, and all former employees who worked with Wade.

Memorials may be made to the Shriners Children’s Hospital, 3100 Sanford Avenue, Shreveport, LA.  71103.  The service may be viewed via Condolences may be emailed to  

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