Ivy manages different hats in home town
Editor’s Note: This is the third of four articles on area women making a difference in their community.
OKOLONA – For Stelle Ivy, Okolona is the place to be.
“I was born and raised here, graduated in 1973,” Ivy said of her home town.
After attending Draughn’s Business College in Tupelo, she entered the world of work.
“I worked in a factory, just like everybody else,” Ivy said.
She returned to school at Itawamba Community College and received her degree in General Business then went back to school in 1984 to study to be a paralegal, but life got in the way.
“I went all the way to 1988 up to Spring break,” Ivy said. “I’m still on Spring break. I need nine more hours.”
She began working at the Okolona Carnegie Library as a substitute in 1993 and went part-time as computers were added to the facility and more staff was needed. When Librarian Vickie Ross transfered to Tupelo, Ivy moved into the full-time position and has been a famliar face at the library ever since.
And a familiar face in civic and volunteer clubs as well.
She is a member of the steering committee for the Battle of Okolona re-enactment and the Confederate Cemetery and is the chairman for the local cemetery board.
A 32-year member of the National Council of Negro Women, Okolona Chapter, she has also been the secretary for Mt. Pisgah Church for 30 years. And she is a former member of the Okolona Area Chamber of Commerce.
“I had enough to do, I had to let that one go,” laughed Ivy.
Chamber Director, Perry Grubbs, doesn’t hold her resignation against her.
“For years, Stelle has had an enormous impact on the lives of young people and persons throughout the community of Okolona,” Grubbs said. “Her influence has been felt in every facet of the community and especially as the learning resource center executive at the Carnegie Library. Ms. Ivy is loved by everyone because of her tremendous intellectual depth, wealth of knowledge, diligence in her work and her beautiful attitude and spirit.”
As if her work and vounteerism weren’t enough, she also maintains a personal life. She has one grown daughter and a granddaughter of whom she is very proud.
“She was just inducted into the National Honor Society, carrying a 3.75 average,” she beamed.
She enjoys reading and has been the family genealogist for a quarter century. She became interested in geneaology while doing research on her grandfather. His daughter, Ivy’s mother, was murdered and she believes his grief led to his death.
“He was the sweetest, kindest man, but he greived so hard,” Ivy said.
He left the family home and moved to St. Louis where he later died and, as a teen, she began her research to fill in some blanks.
Ivy is happy with her work at the library, saying it is never boring.
“Everyday it’s something new,” Ivy said. “It’s not the same old grind everyday.”
She prepares visitor bags for newcomers that include maps and historical information about Okolona.
“We get a lot of people coming in who want to know about Okolona,” Ivy said. “We’ve got people coming back to live and that’s good for a little town. I want people to know our little hometown and why their ancestors stayed here.”