Grace Jean Gillespie McClendon died peacefully at her home on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, after a brief illness. Born on March 14, 1930 to William Meek Gillespie, Sr. and Emy Louise Price Gillespie, Grace Jean grew up in Charleston, MS and graduated from Charleston High School in 1948. She attended Belhaven College in Jackson for two years, then transferred and graduated from Ole Miss in 1952 where she was a member of Tri Delta Sorority. She taught at Davis Elementary School in Jackson before getting engaged at the 1953 Sugar Bowl to B.B. McClendon. They were married on March 29, 1953 and made Jackson their home.
Grace Jean was active in civic and charitable organizations, including the Junior League of Jackson, Goodwill Auxiliary, The Old Ladies Home Association Board, and The Home Place Board. She was also a member of the LeFleur Garden Club, the One O’Clock Luncheon Club, the Southern Luncheon Club, as well as two much-loved Cooking Groups,and a Friday Bridge Group. She was a longtime member of First Presbyterian Church in Jackson and especially enjoyed her Circle and the Women in the Church activities.
Grace Jean and B.B. loved to travel and enjoyed many international trips and adventures around-the-world. They were very proud of attending all four Grand Slam Tennis Tournaments.
Grace Jean’s greatest joy was her family! She was known as “GG” to her grands and greats. GG treasured every moment with her family and especially enjoyed Sunday lunches, holidays, and the beach trips to Destin. She was famous for her delicious GG’s Lemon Cake and her yummy “Dooies”(she made thousands through the years, many as gifts!). Her sweet, loving voicemails were often saved for repeated listening.
Mrs. McClendon was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Dr William Meek Gillespie, Jr. of Meridian. She is survived by her husband of 67 years, Burwell B. McClendon, Jr.; children, Marilyn McClendon of Jackson, MS; Burl McClendon(Terri) of Austin, TX; Barry McClendon(Donna)of Cedar Park, TX; five grandchildren, Mary Grace McClendon Mooney(Ian)of Austin, TX; Emy McClendon Smith(Cole)of Dallas, TX; Taylor McClendon(Holland)of Dallas, TX; Anders McClendon of Cedar Park, TX; Avery McClendon of Cedar Park, TX; five great-grandchildren, Lynn, Mac, and Elouise Mooney of Austin, TX; and Palmer and Miller Smith of Dallas, TX. Also, surviving her are one niece, four nephews and numerous cousins, all much-loved.
The family wishes to extend their hear-thanks for Grace Jean’s wonderful care to Dr. Paul VanLandingham, Hospice Ministries(especially Kelsey, Donna and Gloria) and most especially to her loving caregivers: Latashia ”Boo” Hartley, Pat Green, Cheryl Morris, Beverly Anderson, and Annette Wade.
A private family graveside service was held on Friday, February 26 at Parkway Memorial Cemetery in Ridgeland, MS. Memorials in Grace Jean’s honor may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 1390 North State St., Jackson, MS 39202.