Business owner, elected official, Bumpers shares her story

Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 11, 2017

MAKING HISTORY: At top, Picayune Councilor Lynn Bogan Bumpers shares her story about being a business owner, growing up in Picayune and becoming the first minority woman to be elected to the Council.
Photo by Jeremy Pittari

This is the first in a series of stories celebrating Women’s History Month.

Born and raised in Picayune, Lynn Bogan Bumpers is not only a local business owner, she is also the city’s first African American Councilwoman.
Bumpers was born into a family with 12 other children. Born to Robert and Mabel Bogan, the family operated Baylous Funeral home, a family owned business in Picayune that goes back as far as 1934, possibly further. Bumpers said that is as far back as the business record go.
It was established by her ancestor, Robert Baylous, and has been passed down through the family ever since. She said that Robert Baylous got his start in the funeral industry by working at McDonald Funeral Home, later establishing his own business.
She grew up in a close-knit household where church was integral. Each and every Sunday she and her family attended services.
In spite of having more than a dozen mouths to feed, Bumpers said she never remembered going hungry or without necessities.
“If we were struggling, the children didn’t know,” Bumpers said.
Her childhood was spent working in the family garden, helping with the household chores and working in the family business.
“I appreciated that because it taught me that you work for what you get,” Bumpers said.
When her father passed in 1975, Bumpers assumed ownership of the business, which still employs several family members, either full or part-time.
When someone walks into the business, they might find Bumpers doing office work, talking on the phone, or even washing dishes.
The thing she loves most about being a business owner, Councilor, and community member, is dealing with people. She said her involvement with the community is what prompted her to run for public office. She ran as an independent against former Councilor Donald Parker, taking office in 2009. This year, she and every other incumbent, except for one, in the city of Picayune are running unopposed, a display of the work she and the rest of the Council has achieved during their terms.
Since she could remember, she’s been interested in politics. That interest, and a passion to make a positive difference in the community, is why she ran for office.
But one aspect of the job has been a bit of a disappointment. She thought that when she was elected she would have a designated budget to get some things done in her precinct. Instead, she found that the budget is used city-wide.
She’s raised seven children, has 15 grandchildren and is member of the Weems Chapel United Methodist Church where she serves as the youth director. Her caring nature has earned her the nickname “Momma Lynn” due to her efforts to mentor the youth of her community.
But she doesn’t think her efforts are any more important than those of any other person.
“I just don’t see anything special in what I do,” Bumpers said.
Her advice to young people is to work hard for the things they want, because nothing is free.
But at times things are taken. Her son Kema Keys was fatally shot in October of 2013. He was 38. No one has been arrested in relation to the incident.
In spite of her loss, she said she does not hate the person responsible, but she does hope that person finds help.
“I want that child to be saved,” Bumpers said.

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