2007 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Williamson, Thames, Dawkins, Walls, Frazier, Jordan, Harden, Simmons, Horhn, Thomas
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION COMMENDING THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF CHESTER A. THIGPEN, FORMER NATIONAL AND MISSISSIPPI OUTSTANDING TREE FARMER OF THE YEAR, AND EXPRESSING THE SYMPATHY OF THE LEGISLATURE.
WHEREAS, the State of Mississippi has lost a leading spokesman for the tree-farming community with the passing of Chester A. Thigpen, 95, of Bay Springs, Mississippi, formerly of Montrose, on January 8, 2007; and
WHEREAS, spokesman, pioneer, community-minded -- these words describe the philosophy of this outstanding Mississippi citizen; and
WHEREAS, on March 21, 1996, both houses of the Mississippi Legislature honored Chester and Rosett Thigpen, National Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year with a resolution, signed by Speaker of the House Tim Ford and Lieutenant Governor Ronnie Musgrove, commending the Thigpens. Chester Thigpen spoke before both houses and entertained members with stories of his thirty years of tree farming. Thigpen considered himself an ambassador for forestry in Mississippi, and spent a lifetime practicing and promoting forestry; and
WHEREAS, the Thigpens were Mississippi's 1994 Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year. After facing stiff competition from 73,000 other tree farmers across the nation, they received the national award November 4, 1995, at the National Tree Farmer Convention in St. Louis, Missouri; and
WHEREAS, as National Outstanding Tree Farmer, Chester Thigpen served for two years on the National Tree Farm Operating Committee, which oversees the tree farm program. Also, he served as a spokesman for the American Tree Farm System and served on the Editorial Board of Tree Farmer Magazine; and
WHEREAS, both Chester and Rosett Thigpen were born on portions of the land that now make up the tree farm. With the help of their county forester, they developed a written forestry land management plan when they became tree farmers, and the land remained under a written land management plan for 45 years. Tree farm income provided college educations for the five Thigpen children; and
WHEREAS, Chester Thigpen served on the Mississippi Forestry Commission, on the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Forestry Association, and as President of the Jasper County Forestry Association. He traveled to Washington, D.C., in February 1995 to testify before the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee in support of estate tax reform. By promoting forestry field days and county forestry associations, Thigpen shared his knowledge of good stewardship with his community; and
WHEREAS, in 1966, Chester Thigpen served on the Mississippi Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service's Advisory Committee. This position took him to Washington, D.C., where he advised the national organization on erosion control and cost-share programs. Thigpen was appointed by Governor Winter to serve a seven-year term on the Mississippi Forestry Commission. In 1983, Thigpen was entered into the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum's Hall of Fame. He was instrumental in organizing the Jasper County Forestry Association; and
WHEREAS, Chester Thigpen was always philosophical when speaking about the long-term benefits of tree farming. "It could reduce crime and welfare. It helps keep your mind off things." He also recommended tree farming for those getting on in years. "If you can't handle the cattle and hay anymore, move over to trees totally. The trees grow while I sleep"; and
WHEREAS, he was preceded in death by his wife, Rosett Thigpen; daughter, Inez Pride; father, Frank Thigpen; and mother, Pinkie Tenort Thigpen. He is survived by two sons, Roy (Julia) Thigpen and Lonnie (Doris) Thigpen, all of Montrose; two daughters, Doris Williams of Irvine, California, and Hester (Phield III), Parish of Greenville, Louisiana; 15 grandchildren; and a host of great-grandchildren; and
WHEREAS, Chester Thigpen and his late wife, Rosett, represented what is best about forestry in Mississippi, and the forestry community and the State of Mississippi are very proud of them and will miss their service and their friendship:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby commend the life and legacy to the forestry community of our state of Chester A. Thigpen of Bay Springs, Mississippi, former National and Mississippi Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year, and express the sympathy of the Legislature on his passing.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to the surviving family of Chester Thigpen, be forwarded to the Mississippi Forestry Association and be made available to the Capitol Press Corps.