Herman Meek Caldwell III
After a brief stint in Mobile, Alabama during WWII, Herman returned with his family to Batesville and became a multi-sport athlete at Batesville High School. He played on the basketball team with his brother Charlie, ran track, was the short stop on the baseball team and the quarterback in football.
On graduation day, dressed in cap and gown, as President of his senior class, and in line to march in and give the welcome speech, he was approached by a scout from the Chicago White Sox who invited him to Memphis for try outs. With his mother’s blessing to follow his dreams, Herman tore off his cap and gown and headed to Memphis. After his tryout, the recruiter told him that he would be in touch. Herman always said that the recruiter must have lost his number. After high school, Herman attended Northwest Mississippi Junior College on a football scholarship and played quarterback. Thereafter, he graduated from Mississippi State University.
After graduation, Herman moved to Grenada to teach Math, Science and Chemistry at John Rundle High School. He remained very connected to the JRHS graduating classes from the early 1960’s. The way Herman always told it, he was having dinner at the Monte Cristo as a newcomer to Grenada when he saw the most beautiful girl in Mississippi walk through the dining room. He and Bettye Dyre married in August 1960.
Over the years that followed, Herman had a long and successful career in hospital product sales with Abbott Laboratories and served in many community leadership positions. He served as President of the Grenada Cancer Society and was President of the Grenada Golf Club when they broke ground on the “new” clubhouse. When he was President of the Kirk Academy Booster Club, he introduced flavored popcorn and brownie ice cream cake at the concession stands. He was a member of the Grenada Lions Club; he taught Sunday School at the First Baptist Church and until death was a member of All Saints Episcopal Church where he loved cooking for the Men’s Club; he coached both boys’ and girls’ Little League baseball; he performed in several productions of the Grenada Fine Arts Playhouse and built the sets for several more; he was a founding member of the Grenada Barbershop Quartet (where he loved to sing those minor chords and good close harmony); he cooked all night long to serve lunch for the entire town during Grenada’s sesquicentennial celebration; he served on the Grenada County Planning and Zoning Board; he was licensed by the state of Mississippi to operate a motor vehicle, and for several years he was a member of Sam’s Club in Memphis. Herman was an avid cook and enjoyed entertaining friends and family. He played golf and tennis, hunted duck and quail, and cheered for the Ole Miss Rebels. He loved to dance in the kitchen and with Bettye on the dance floor. As a breast cancer survivor, Herman was invited to throw out the first pitch at the Grenada High School Softball Tournament for the American Cancer Society. In 2009 Herman was honored as King at the Grenada Junior Auxiliary Charity Ball.
Late in life, Herman was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and for the last several years he has been a resident at Providence Memory Care. His family is very grateful for the loving and generous caregivers at Providence and the experts at Adoration Hospice.
Herman’s consistent wish throughout his life was that there should be no weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth at the end of his life. Instead, he wanted us to live and laugh and have a party. Although COVID-19 will keep us (for now) from throwing the party that Herman envisioned, the family’s request is that those who knew Herman please raise a glass, do a jig in the kitchen and join us in a toast – to live and laugh and love as Herman did.
Herman is survived by his wife, Bettye Dyre Caldwell; his daughter, Elizabeth Dyre Caldwell of Tuscaloosa, Alabama; his son Herman Mallory Caldwell, daughter-in-law, Tara Tinsley Caldwell, and two grandsons, Henry Dyre Caldwell and George Tinsley Caldwell all of Houston, Texas; his sister Bettie Caldwell Graham of New Orleans, Louisiana; and several nieces, nephews and extended family members.
The family is having a private interment at the All Saints Episcopal Church columbarium and has requested that any memorial donations be given to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America or a charity of your choosing.
McKibben and Guinn Funeral Services coordinated services.