Former Carthage Mayor and Neshoba County native Bobbye May Henderson was remembered as an astute business owner, a visionary and a mentor.

Services for Henderson, 84, were held on Tuesday at noon from Carthage United Methodist Church under the direction of Wilcox Funeral Home.

She died  Dec.  24  at her home in the Siena Center at St. Catherine's Village in Madison.

Born on Feb.  10, 1933, to her parents Thomas and Ruby May, Mrs. Henderson attended Forestdale Elementary School and graduated from Philadelphia High School, where she first demonstrated the leader she would be throughout her life.

She was elected captain of the basketball team and named Best Girl Athlete her senior year. She received a basketball scholarship to East Mississippi Junior College where she led her team to undefeated state champions with a record 40 wins and 0 losses.

She was named Miss EMJC and Class Favorite and was elected President of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

While at EMJC, she was also invited to join the All American Red Heads, a professional basketball team, but chose to attend the University of Southern Mississippi, where she graduated with a degree in Home Economics Education.

Mrs. Henderson’s first job brought her to Carthage, where she met and married her husband of 33 years, Ray Ferguson Henderson, until his passing in 1988. She joined Ray in running his business, Henderson Oil Company, and devoted her time to her family, the family business, and her church. She led the Children's and Youth ministries during her early years at Carthage United Methodist Church, where she was a member for 62 years.

She was a member of the Friendship Sunday School Class, served for numerous years on the Administrative Board as Chairman of Missions, and named Mother of the Year.

Mrs. Henderson was remembered as a marvelous wife and mother, a gifted athlete, an amazing cook, an astute business owner, a visionary and mentor, and a beloved leader and friend.

She worked tirelessly for her family, her friends, and her city.

She was an energetic leader, who encouraged her children and grandchildren to try anything, grow, learn, excel, and have faith.

She did everything with ease and enthusiasm and with an ever-present smile, which is why she was affectionately called Happy.

Happy lived that name daily, taught those lessons to her children and grandchildren, and relished in their enthusiasm to live with her positive outlook. Happy was loved by everyone, and her home and dining table were always open.

She took great pride in her culinary skills, and her recipes are cherished by many. When she walked into a room, she lit it up, and family members said they knew on Christmas Eve, her Savior's birthday cake was aglow on her arrival.

Her leadership skills were also carried into her community.

Mrs. Henderson became the first woman to be elected alderman for the city of Carthage, and three terms later, the first woman elected as Mayor, where she also served three terms.

She worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life in her city, and under her leadership the city of Carthage was selected as one of the Most Livable Communities in Mississippi in 1998.

Her achievements and awards were many throughout her life. She was named Woman of the Year by the Carthage Chamber of Commerce, honored as Outstanding Woman of Achievement by the Business of Professional Women's Club, and inducted in the Sports Hall of Fame at East Mississippi Junior College.

Survivors include her children, Mary Glynn Wright of Oxford, David Cook Henderson of Carthage, Dawn Elizabeth Henderson of Dallas, Texas, and Martha Jo Vance of Jackson; seven grandchildren;  and four great-grandchildren .

Mrs. Henderson was preceded in death by her parents; husband; son Mark Kevan Henderson; brothers Cook and Bryan May; sisters Elizabeth Fulton and Arlene Wolverton.