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Jack Read commemorated in ornament

Jack Read Park and its iconic pavilion was built to celebrate the history of a local man who served his city well, and this year that pavilion has been commemorated as the annual Picayune Main Street Christmas ornament.

Each year for more than two decades Picayune Main Street offers a limited edition Christmas tree ornament that features an iconic place within the city.

Descendants of Andrew Jackson “Jack” Read, who served the city in various capacities for decades, say they are honored that the pavilion at the local park is featured as this year’s ornament.

The park, located across from City Hall on Goodyear Boulevard, was dedicated to Jack Read in 1992, the same year he passed away, for his many years of service to the city and contributions in its growth.

According to written history, Read moved to Picayune at the age of 2 and attended the local schools, even quarterbacking for the high school football team in 1925 that went to the  Mississippi State Football Championship game. He went on to attend Pearl River Community College where he also quarterbacked the football team and went to the state championship.

In 1933 he was elected city clerk and tax assessor, and was later appointed city manager in 1954. Back then the city had only 11 employees, two of which were police officers and two were firefighters.

During his time in office he played a part in the construction of the historic city hall in 1937, and in the implementation of a natural gas system in 1950.

Descendants say the location of Lee Triplett Stadium used to be Read’s backyard, but he later donated it to the school district.

He was remembered as an avid hunter who could bring home five birds with only three shells, said Jeff Samples, a grandchild of Read’s.

The solid brass ornaments can be purchased from Picayune Main Street or at various businesses for $15.