Former Poplarville mayor services held

Published 4:31 pm Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Funeral services for former Poplarville mayor, Col. Marvin Hubert Castleberry, were held at 10 a.m. today at First Baptist Church of Poplarville.

Castleberry, 88, died Saturday in Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg. The Belmont native was born Jan. 23, 1920 to Elmer Prentiss Castleberry and Roxie Ann Newell Castleberry.

He was a retired pilot in the United States Air Force. Castleberry enlisted in 1942 and served during World War II as a P-51 fighter pilot with the United States 8th Air Force. Because of his service during that war, he was one of the first 100 pilots to receive the call to fly the P-51 at the outbreak of the Korean Conflict, said his daughter Sandra Castleberry Few.

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He later cross-trained in electronics and served as an inspector for missile silo sites during the Cold War. Before his retirement from the Air Force in 1974 he was Chief of Operations at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi.

As a member of the First Baptist Church of Poplarville he served as a Deacon and taught a men’s Sunday School class. Few said in the early 1960s Castleberry was instrumental in establishing the first Southern Baptist Church north of the state of Maryland, the Manhatten Baptist Church in New York. She said he was ordained as a Deacon at that church in 1962.

After retirement from the Air Force, Castleberry and Alyce Wanda Daniels Castleberry, his wife of 67 years, settled in Poplarville. Few said the pair met while both were students at Pearl River Community College.

Castleberry was elected mayor of Poplarville in June 1977 and served until 1981. Few said her father always said he was proud to be from Poplarville.

Poplarville Mayor Billy Spiers said Castleberry was instrumental in the last annexation move of the city prior to the current annexation proceedings.

“He was one of the pioneers in setting up Poplarville to grow,” Spiers said. “He was a good mayor, a good man.”

Castleberry was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Billy Wayne Castleberry.

Survivors in addition to his wife are a son, Brad Castleberry and wife Soni of Louisville, Ky.; daughter, Sandra Castleberry Few and husband Pat of Huntsville, Ala.; three brothers, Richard Hollis Castleberry of Poplarville; Kelly Castleberry of Hattiesburg, and Paul Castleberry of Denver, Colo.; one sister, Betty Jane Sullivan of Cheyenne, Wyo.; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Visitation was from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. Tuesday at White Funeral Home in Poplarville. Brother Tommy Anthony officiated the service. Interment followed in Poplarville City Cemetery.