Kathryn Yerger Becker

Kathryn Yerger Becker died peacefully Wednesday, December 12, with her three children by her side. She was 86.

She was born April 15, 1932 to Edward and Kathryn Yerger. She attended Newcomb College (Tulane) and later Ole Miss and married James A. Becker Jr., who as a young man would often compliment her by saying that she was “out of his league.”

Kathryn was a trailblazer in the retail business, opening a clothing store named High Cotton in 1974. She deftly navigated decades of changing styles -- expanding, rebranding, and relocating as needed to grow her business. She opened stores in Banner Hall, Centre Park and Highland Village and served customers throughout the South. She was an instinctive and bold entrepreneur willing to take risks. Her daughter, “Little Kathryn,” joined her in the business and helped it flourish through 2018, when she retired.

“High Cotton” was an expression used by Kathryn’s father, Edward Yerger Jr. It means the fields have produced bountiful crops, and life is good. Kathryn lived her life in “High Cotton” – travelling internationally with her friends, children, and grandchildren, learning Italian, painting, and building a vacation home in Oxford. She was an avid reader, moviegoer, collector of antiques, and an artist.

Mimi, as her grandchildren knew her, was foremost an adoring and loving mother and grandmother. She gave her time whenever called to be with her grandchildren -- babysitting, carpooling, doctor visits, sporting activities, and school performances and ceremonies. She was always there. She loved celebrating New Year’s Eve with her grandchildren and organized many Christmas gatherings and Easter egg hunts at her home for the extended family.

Two of Kathryn’s brothers, Edward Yerger III and Mark Yerger, precede her in death. Kathryn is survived by her brother George Yerger (Lila) and by her three children: James Y. “Jamie” Becker (Norma), Kathryn Becker Sams (Lee), and Ed Becker (Hillis). There are eight surviving grandchildren: Will Becker and Maggie Becker Prezioso (Crawford); Becker Sams (Weatherly), Sarah Sams Weyrens (Nick), Taylor Sams (Allie); and Duncan, Olivia, and Anna Kathryn Becker; and three great-grandchildren: Bryan Sams, Farren Sams, and James Weyrens.

The family would like to thank the many talented and dedicated associates who were integral to the success of High Cotton during its 40-year run. They would also like to thank Kathryn’s special friends Martha Hill and Carlos Dominguez, and also Wendy Kelly and the staffs of the Orchard and Manhattan Nursing Home for their devoted care in her final months.

Relatives and friends of the family are invited to attend funeral services at St. Andrews Episcopal Cathedral, 305 E. Capitol St., Jackson, Miss. on Friday, December 28, at 2 p.m., followed by a celebration at the home of Kathryn and Lee Sams, 2515 Eastover Drive, in Jackson.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Andrews Episcopal Cathedral, the Mississippi Museum of Art, or the Jackson Symphony Orchestra would be welcomed. 

 

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