William E. "Buddy" Phelps, lll
Mr. William Eugene “Buddy” Phelps III passed away after a lengthy illness on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020, at the age of 86. Mr. Phelps was born in Hattiesburg on August 18th, 1933, to William Eugene Phelps, Jr., and Minna Vera Chapman Phelps. He grew up in Hattiesburg, graduating from Hattiesburg High School in 1951. He received a bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1956 and a master’s degree in geology from Mississippi State University in 1957. He married Stella Ruth Barrett in 1957, and the two immediately moved to Maryland for him to complete his service in the Army. They returned to Hattiesburg where Mr. Phelps worked for 17 years at Hess Oil Refinery before transitioning to work full-time in his own coin operated laundry and car wash businesses in Hattiesburg and Wiggins. Mr. Phelps was an avid outdoorsman, enjoying hunting and fishing, and he was a skilled craftsman in construction projects of all kinds. He especially enjoyed spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren at the family’s fishing camp in Van Cleave. He was a lifelong member of Court Street United Methodist Church where he helped to raise a generation of teenagers and young adults in the church’s youth group.
Mr. Phelps is survived by his wife of 63 years, Mrs. Ruth Phelps, as well as by his son Steve Phelps and daughter Sandra Winstead (Chris), all of Hattiesburg, as well as by six grandchildren - Rebecca Winstead, Lauren Phelps, Rachel Winstead, Hunter Phelps, William Phelps, and Hannah Phelps. He is survived by his sister Vera Davis (Don), sisters-in-law Carmen Moore and Betty Rainey (B.R.), and many nieces and nephews. Mr. Phelps was deeply committed to his family and he will be missed beyond measure. A graveside memorial service will be held at Highland Park Cemetery in Hattiesburg on Friday morning, June 5th, 2020, at 10 am. The Reverends Barry Armstrong, Jesse Long, Julian Davis, and Henry Winstead will officiate. Pallbearers will be Hunter Phelps, William Phelps, Thomas Phelps, and Lee West.