Horace Wheat

Published 8:49 am Monday, August 22, 2016

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the windows of Heaven that there will not be room enough to store it.” Malachi 3:10

Horace Hobart Wheat passed away on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, at his residence in Crossroads, Miss. at the age of 86.

His love of family was only exceeded by the love for his Savior, Jesus Christ, and his church home, Bethel Baptist Church. From very humble beginnings in 1930, his life followed a path that was guided by his faith and the Lord’s hand upon him. He spent his childhood and young teen years working in the field, as he was raised by his grandmother, since his mother passed when he was very young. He joined the U.S. Army and served two years, and then served five years with the Army National Guard. It was when on leave in North Carolina with his army buddy, that he met and married the love of his life, Mattie Lee Vines. After serving his country, he lived in Michigan, where he picked up work installing siding and roofing. After a time there, he and his wife moved back to Crossroads, and began what would become his legacy-the roofing business. Around 1970 he opened a small roofing supply store in an old building at the intersection of old Hwy. 26 and Hwy. 43. As the business grew, he relocated to Hwy. 26 into an old service station, and then to the current location today. He eventually expanded and bought a building in Poplarville, and opened a second location. During all those years, Horace’s knowledge and generosity was instrumental in starting many local friends and neighbors in the roofing contracting business.

His passion for stock car racing led to his opening of the Ponderosa race track sometime in the mid 1960’s on his property at Dillard Road. There was never any question about what make of car he would race-”FORD” all the way. Along with a couple of others, he was instrumental in the beginning of crossroads Volunteer Fire Department, of which he served as chief for many years.

In addition to his many years in the roofing and building supply business, he owned and operated M and M Gravel with his friend Wayne Mitchell. After he turned the daily operations of the store over to family, he partnered with others in the buying and selling of real estate. One of his ventures led to the development of Chinquapin subdivision on Highway 43 at Crossroads. He had such a vision for looking and being able to transform it into something beautiful.

An avid sportsman, he enjoyed hunting turkeys and deer on his property and fishing in the gravel pit, always inviting friends to come fishing at his camp. After his official retirement from the building supply he started, he spent most of his time on his heavy equipment that he owned and still operated up until his health began to decline last fall.

Horace served as deacon of Bethel Baptist Church for many years, as well as various committees. With his servant’s heart, he was always willing and ready to help when and where help was needed.

Through all the hardships and adversities scattered throughout his life, including the tragic loss of his only child and then his beloved wife, his faith in the Lord remained steadfast, and never questioned God or failed to give him all the glory for the bountiful blessings God graced his life with.

In 86 years, Horace touched hundreds of lives in hundreds of ways. His absence will be felt by all who knew him. Heaven is surely a little sweeter today!

Horace is survived by his many nieces and nephews, June Wheat (Pug) Stafford of Bogalusa, La, Robert Harrell (Bobby) Wheat of Crossroads, MS, Beverly Wheat (Billy) Martin of Crossroads, Miss., Charles (Sandi) Wheat of Crossroads Miss., Wade Wheat of Tucson Arizona, Michael (Teri) Hines of Jacksonville, Florida, Mark (Wendy) Hines of Hattiesburg Miss., and Michelle (Bill) Arlt of Columbia City Indiana. Also, his wife’s family whom he loved dearly, all from Lenoir, N.C., Russell and Marie Dula, Jean McGuire, and Winnie Walsh and their children and grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, Mattie Lee Vines Wheat, daughter, Cynthia A. (Cindy) Wheat, his parents A.C. and Velma Wheat, his brothers Harrell and Herbert Wheat, his sister Marie Wheat Hines, nieces Brenda Wheat, and Rene Wheat.

Visitation was held on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016, from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. at Bethel Baptist Church. Funeral service will be held on Monday, Aug. 22, at 2 p.m., with interment in the church cemetery. Dr. Dan Finley and Rev. Billy Kent Smith will officiate.