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Dr. Roy Dean McAlilly, D. Min.

December 14, 1929 ~ December 20, 2018 (age 89)

Tupelo-Roy D. McAlilly died after an extended illness December 20, 2018 at the Griffis Green House at Traceway Retirement Community. Roy was born on a farm in Winston County, Mississippi in the middle of a snowstorm on December 14, 1929 to Roy Parks McAlilly and Archie Dean Breckenridge McAlilly. He grew up in the height of the Great Depression. After graduating from Louisville High School as the senior class president, he enrolled at Millsaps College to be the first of the McAlilly family to attend college. At Millsaps he sang with the Millsaps Singers.


Wishing to serve as a student pastor in the Methodist Church, he transferred to the University of Mississippi and accepted the appointment to the Salem and Friendship Methodist Charge at Etta, MS.  There he met his lifelong companion, Lorene Long.  Roy and Lorene married June 16, 1950.  He received a B.A. in Philosophy at Ole Miss in 1950. Roy next attended Emory University in Atlanta, where he obtained a Master of Divinity degree from the Candler School of Theology. He and Lorene raised their young family in North Mississippi and during his last year at Candler, each week, he would hitchhike from Belden to Atlanta for classes at Emory, returning to Belden in time to preach every Sunday.


This began a storied career for Roy in the Methodist Church, for which he served as a Minister and District Superintendent. Roy was licensed to preach as a Methodist pastor in September 1947. He was admitted as an Elder in Full Connection to the North Mississippi Conference of the Methodist Church on June 8, 1956. Roy’s career moved his family all over North Mississippi, planting roots and serving Methodist Churches in places like Etta, Algoma, Tishomingo, Belden, Bruce, West Point, Fulton, New Albany, Grenada, Corinth, Batesville, and Kosciusko. He was proud to have been appointed District Superintendent of the New Albany District at the age of 39.  Reverend McAlilly was a master orator and exceptional storyteller. His generous spirit and wisdom offered a guiding hand to all the members of his various churches. He was a pioneer, leading churches through turbulent eras of American history and starting outreach ministries.


In 1976, he completed his doctoral studies at Methodist Theological School of Ohio in Delaware, Ohio, earning the Doctor of Ministry Degree.


Retiring in 1995, Roy and Lorene moved to Fulton. In retirement he taught an adult Sunday School Class and was an active in community affairs, serving on the Itawamba County Port Authority and Itawamba County Development Association boards.  Roy also was instrumental in helping the Fulton United Methodist Church secure its pipe organ.  In 2005 they moved to a cottage at the Traceway Retirement Community in Tupelo.



Roy's intellectual curiosity of the world lasted until the very end of his life. He had many talents and interests. He was a theologian, sustenance farmer, single-engine pilot, singer, philosopher, historian, electrician, mechanic, craftsman, and thrifty handyman. He loved to fish, hunt, boat, farm, and anything else involving the natural world. A good meal and good conversation are all Roy needed to be satisfied. Every moment was a gift that he graciously received. 


Aside from his service in the United Methodist Church, Roy served through his love for family. He and his wife Lorene raised three children—Debbie Brangenberg (Carl), Steve McAlilly (Beverly), and Bill McAlilly (Lynn)—who became “mighty fine” leaders much like himself. He was very proud of his children and the families they raised. He leaves behind his wife Lorene, three children and their spouses, six grandchildren, Caroline Turney (Brandon), Chris McAlilly (Millie), Laura Paulk (Nate), Lee McAlilly, Ben McAlilly, and Sam McAlilly and nine great-children, most of whom he’s baptized or officiated a marriage. He is also survived by his younger sister, June McAlilly, of Jackson, Mississippi. He was preceded in death by his mother and father, and his grandson, Gale Stauffer, Jr.


A Service of Death and Resurrection will be held at Tupelo First United Methodist Church, at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday December 22 with visitation in the Gathering Room at the church from 10:00 a.m. until the service time. Holland Funeral Directors is honored to be serving their friends.


Pallbearers with be Carl Brangenberg, Lee McAlilly, Ben McAlilly, Sam McAlilly,

Brandon Turney, Nate Paulk, Paul Mize, Jr., and Kurt Saul.  Honorary Pallbearers are the members of the Tombigbee Seminar, and Steve Vinson, Mancil Ray, Jib Crawford, Hal Ferrell, Bill Howell, and William Butler.


The family wishes to express their thanks to the team at the Griffis Green House at Traceway for their kind, loving care and support during Roy’s residence there.


Memorials may be made to ­­­­­­­­­­­­­Mississippi Methodist Senior Services, PO Box 1567, Tupelo, MS 38802.

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