Tupelo - Vernel Howard Hancock, a precious soul, met her Creator and Savior on Thursday, October 4, 2019 after a brief stay at North Miss. Medical Center at the beautiful age of 92. Vernel lived a Christ-filled life and brought joy, encouragement and love to countless souls during her long, fruitful earthly pilgrimage. Vernel Howard was born in Benton County, Hickory Flat, MS on January 19, 1927 to the late Boothe Howard and Jessie Goode Howard. She grew up there enjoying the love of a close knit family and many friends. On March 16, 1946, after graduating from Myrtle High School in l945, she met and married the dashing Sanford Autrey, "Junior" Hancock. They made their home in Tupelo where they were partners in several businesses including the Natchez Trace Inn and Restaurant, the Natchez Trace Hall of Fame and, their trademark enterprise, Hancock Advertising.
Vernel worked alongside her husband, Junior, in all these pursuits and was a community leader and promoter of all things Tupelo and the Natchez Trace Parkway. She had a sterling personality, an innate ability to remember folks’ names and the gift of making everyone feel special. Vernel loved God's creation. She and Junior traveled extensively across the country and took countless cruises around the world. A longtime member of Harrisburg Baptist Church, she loved her Church, worshiping with her family, and reading and living the promises of the Word of God. Nanny's great love was her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, whom she doted over constantly. As she posted in her ole worn out Bible, "I want to live every day by the word and promises in this Book" - her life on earth was transformative to those she met, loved and encouraged. She will be missed but is fully realizing now the promises of her lifelong faith.
A service celebrating her life will be held at 2 PM Monday, October 7, 2019 at the Tupelo Chapel of Holland Funeral Directors with Dr. Forrest Sheffield officiating. Private burial will take place at Lee Memorial Park in Verona. Visitation will be from Noon-service time Monday only at Holland-Tupelo Chapel, which is honored to be serving their friends. For those who may not be able to attend, the celebration may be viewed via www.hollandfuneraldirectors.com/Livestreaming in live time and for 90 days thereafter.
Vernel leaves behind her daughters, Sandra Hancock and Sheba Hancock both of Tupelo; her 3 grandchildren, Alan Woodruff, Michele Woodruff Harrell and Sterling Woodruff; and 3 great grandchildren, Greyson and Audrey Woodruff, and Hanna Harrel; her nieces and nephews, Layne, Debbie, Tracy, Marcia, Janis, Edwin, William and Phillip and their families; as well as several cousins and a host of friends. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, S. A. "Junior" Hancock; 2 brothers, Leach Howard and James Lowrey Howard, and sister, Helen Howard Taylor. Special thanks are given to Jettie Shell, her caregiver and driver, and all of those who lovingly cared for her in the past.
Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer's Association of Mississippi, 855 S. Pear Orchard Road, Suite 501, Ridgeland, MS 39157; Harrisburg Baptist Church, 4675 Cliff Gookin Blvd., Tupelo, MS 38801; or The Green Houses, United Methodist Senior Services-Tupelo Campus, 2800 W. Main Street, Tupelo, MS.
To send flowers to Vernel's family, please visit our floral section.