Former supervisor Avant passes at 73

Published 8:29 am Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Former Panola County Supervisors Vernice B. Avant, the first black woman elected to the seat, passed away Dec. 24, 2022. 

Services were held on Monday, Jan. 3, at Melvor M.B. Church.  Rev. Andy Dandridge and Rev. Eugene Whiting officiated. 

Avant was born Nov. 18, 1949, to Albert and Della Mae Washington, and was married to Robert Allen Avant, Sr., a longtime supervisor for District 2. When her husband died, she was appointed to fill the remainder of his term and won three subsequent elections.

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She was the secretary for Crenshaw Elementary School for 31 years, and also served as vice president of North Delta Planning and Development District.

 She was an active member of Melvor M. B. Church and served on the mother board. She was a Mississippi Association  of Supervisors Education Committee member, former Mississippi Association of Supervisors Insurance Trust board member, active member of NAACP and  an active member of Keep America Beautiful/Panola County. 

She leaves to cherish her memories three sons, Robert Allen Jr, Issac Lanier, and Albert Hosiah Jerriod, in addition to Champ, Lanier, Jerrod, Vernice (Robert) Allen, Patricia Phillips Bradley, Towanda, Eppenger, Shanta McNeese and Mandra Henderson as god daughters;  siblings, Mae Durn Albert, III, Claude, Charles, Shirley Harris, Velma, Odessa Johnson, Earl, George Frost, Cleotha, Michael; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, family and friends.  

Current District 2 Supervisor Earl Burdette asked fellow supervisors and those in attendance at Monday’s meeting of the board to join him in a moment of silence in honor of Avant and her service to Panola County,

“Between Mrs. Avant and her deceased husband Robert, that family had a positive impact on many lives in Panola County and I think it is right for us to honor her memory and continue our prayers for her family,” Burdette said.