Photo by Sue Watson
Members of the Jim Tuttle family attending the dedication of an overpass at Highway 309 and I-269 include Zack Wilson, Mike Singleton, Betty and Tim Tuttle, Tammy Singleton, Debby Weathers, Sandy Tuttle (wife of the late Jim Tuttle), Charlie Weathers, Lori Wilson, Faye Watson, Jim Sanderlin, and Alex Sanderlin.
Photo by Sue Watson
Kenny Dickerson shares memories of his friend, Jim Tuttle. Standing next to the sheriff is county supervisor Keith Taylor.

Overpass dedicated in memory of Tuttle

By a resolution of the Marshall County Board of Supervisors and the Missis­sippi Legislature HB 1150, a worthy servant was remembered Thursday in Byhalia for his dedication to his community.

The Jim Tuttle Memorial Overpass was marked at the intersection of Highway 309 South and I-269 after a number of people whose lives he had touched praised the late businessman and community leader for untold service he gave to his friends and neighbors and to strangers as well.

“This is quite a deal,” said Pat Hurley, widow Sandy Tuttle’s sister.

Supervisor Keith Taylor said, “I consider myself a son of Jim Tuttle.”

Tuttle’s nickname was “King Snake.”

He was born in Batesville, a son of a farmer and factory worker, and graduated from Batesville High School (South Panola).

He met his wife Sandy in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and the couple eventually settled in Byhalia in 1967.

A businessman, he co-founded Tri State Sprinkler in Memphis, Tenn., and he and his wife invested their hearts, time and money in the Byhalia community and Marshall County.

Tuttle and a partner built the industrial park west of the Town of Byhalia, and he helped several small businesses get their start, and promoted various community or­­gani­­zations, including healthcare.

Taylor said Tuttle was generous, even with his enemies.

Sheriff Kenny Dickerson and Tuttle became fast friends for a number of reasons.

He called Tuttle “a great communicator, not a person to waste time.”

“He had one rate — fast,” Dickerson said.

The two became acquainted on I-78 while Dickerson was working for the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

After stopping Tuttle in his pickup loaded down with lots of camping supplies, the two had plenty to share.

“Needless to say, he talked me out of a citation by telling me where he was going to a deer camp and so forth,” the sheriff said. “Tuttle never got credit for all that he did. He went way beyond and would give you the shirt off his back.”

The two remained friends for many years.

“One of the most important things he did was push for healthcare in this county,” the sheriff said. “He did a great job trying to keep a hospital here.”

Tuttle once served on the board of directors for Alliance Hospital.

“I know firsthand the importance of healthcare,” Dickerson said. “The hospital helped me so much in recovery and rehabilitation after my accident. If he didn’t do anything else, that one thing alone did more than you know for this county and the hospital.

“We became close friends and he was a great supporter for public safety. I’m so proud God blessed me with such a great friend.”

Sarah Sawyer, executive director of the Byhalia Area Chamber Main Street, said Tuttle worked for the Chamber and liked to put out constructive ideas.

“Most of us go through life never knowing how much we are cared for,” Sawyer said. “Mr. Jim cared and would put action behind his care for people, projects, organizations and for building things.

“My first memory of Mr. Jim was all the thousands of Christmas lights he would display on his property. A highlight was taking my boys to see the beautiful lights and decorations each year.

“My second memory would be Mr. Jim sitting in his truck and waiting on me at the Chamber with a smile, ready to get to work or to put people to work. He was one of the first to lead the remodeling of the former historic Citizens Bank building for a Chamber of Commerce.

“Mr. Jim made it a mission to get the Chamber building ready to serve the people of Marshall County. Twenty years ago, to experience Mr. Jim’s leadership and guidance meant the world to this young executive director/volunteer.

“The Byhalia Area Chamber Main Street was founded in 1988. Because of Mr. Jim and other leaders who knew how to put plans into action, you have an organization with a strong mission for the Marshall County area’s community and economic development.”

Justice court judge Mae Garrison said Tuttle “stood tall in the community.”

“He was more than a friend; he was like a father to me,” she said. “I’m so glad Ms. Sandy and Mr. Jim allowed me to be a part of their family and for letting me be a part of this special day.”

Taylor continued. “God let us have memories of him. He didn’t see race, rich or poor. Those were some big shoes to fill.”

Mike Tagert, Northern District transportation commissioner for Mississippi, said “MDOT is honored to pay tribute to Jim Tuttle and his contributions to north Mississippi. This bridge over Interstate 269 will connect his memory forever to Marshall County.”

Poem

From Milestones and Targets
To Motivation and Progress
From Failures and Setbacks
To Moving Ahead and Success
You Stood with Us
Through All these Things
Your Leadership is What
Has Given Us Wings

Holly Springs South Reporter

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