Former Sen. Mettetal funeral service Tuesday
Condolences and tributes circulated throughout Panola County, and further, Monday, Dec. 28, when the family of retired Mississippi legislator, and Sardis businessman, Nolan Mettetal announced his death. He was 75.
Mettetal served in the Mississippi Senate and House of Representatives for 24 years until his retirement in 2019.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 29, in the Martin Willingham Memorial Chapel of Wells Funeral Home with interment to follow at Forrest Memorial Park in Batesville.
The family will be receiving friends on Tuesday from noon until service time.
Those honored to serve as pallbearers include, David Cole, Preston Lawrence, Kirk Isbell, Greg Arnold, Senator Chad McMahan, David Woodard, Luke Montgomery and Honorable George C. Carlson.
He was first elected as a conservative Democrat, but moved across the aisle to the Republican Party in 2008. Mettetal was a constant advocate for his constituents during his years serving at the state capitol, and earned the respect of fellow legislators in both political parties.
As well known in Jackson as the former lawmaker is his wife, affectionately called “Mrs. Kay” by governors and custodians alike. She and the couple’s children were at his bedside when he died early Monday at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford of Covid-19 complications.
Mettetal most recently served in the State House as the District 10 representative, having easily won two elections to the seat which covers most of Panola County, and a portion of Lafayette and Tallahatchie Counties.
In the 2019 General Election, the seat remained Republican-held with the election of Rep. Brady Williamson of Oxford.
Williamson released the following statement Monday, following announcement of his predecessor’s passing:
“I am so sorry for Mississippi’s loss of such a great man,” Williamson said. “From his many miles walking these roads for schools, work, and campaigning and through years of local business to serving the Mississippi House and Senate, Nolan, in the short time I knew him, was so kind.”
“When he and Mrs. Kay decided to step down from serving our district, I will never forget him introducing me to every single person at the capitol. He would have done the same for anyone because he genuinely loved everyone and it showed,” Williamson said.
“It’s been quite a task attempting to fill two pairs of shoes, Nolan’s and Mrs. Kay’s. I’ve told my wife how much I’d like to serve together like the Mettetals did,” he said.
The Mettetals rarely missed any community events in Batesville, Sardis, or Como, and were fixtures at music festivals, car shows, arts and crafts days, and general gatherings of their neighbors and friends.
Cole Flint, president of the Panola County Board of Supervisors said Mettetal will be remembered for his efforts to bring jobs and resources to his district, always with the goal of providing opportunities for the local electorate.
“He was great for Panola County and great for Mississippi,” Flint said. “No matter who you were, Rep. Mettetal would try to help you with any problem. Even after he retired and wasn’t an elected official he worked just as hard to help the people of Panola County, and we will always be thankful for his service in Jackson.”
Flint said much of the early groundwork and planning for The Concourse in Batesville would have stalled without Mettetal’s efforts in convincing other lawmakers the work development branch of Northwest Community College would prove to be pivotal in the recruitment of industry, and higher wage jobs, to North Mississippi.
Batesville attorney and Municipal Judge Jay Westfaul echoed the sentiments of others in his released statement:
“Sen. Nola Mettetal was a great servant of the people of Mississippi. He was attentive to the needs of the people of Panola County, even in retirement, and would go the extra mile to help in any way he could. He loved his people,” Westfaul said.
Speaker of the House Phillip Gunn said the following via his Twitter account:
“My thoughts & prayers are with the family of Nolan Mettetal. He served MS with distinction during his many years in the #msleg Nolan will be remembered for his kindness & calm, considerate manner in all circumstances. An esteemed colleague, it was an honor to call him my friend.”
Henry Nolan Mettetal was born Nov. 19, 1945, in Baton Rouge to the late Wayne and Georgia Brewer Mettetal.
He was a registered pharmacist and member of the Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church in Sardis.
His family said in a posted obituary that he “had a servant’s heart, so that’s when he made a leap of faith to run for a State of Mississippi Office.”
He and Kay enjoyed their daily walks around Sardis Lake and he had a special love for Ole Miss and Northwest Mississippi Community College. He got immense pleasure while watching his hummingbirds and feeding the deer on his home place near Sardis.
He loved his five grandchildren with everything he had, and was most proud to watch his granddaughter, Gracie, play softball and recently watch her sign to play softball for Northwest Community College in Senatobia.
His survivors include his wife Kay Ford Mettetal of Sardis; daughter, Kim Mettetal Reed (Randall) of Senatobia; son, Dr. Cary Mettetal (Carla) of Sardis; five grandchildren, Gracie Kay Mettetal, Julien Carlton Mettetal, Nolan Paul Reed, Adelaide Marie Reed, and Sadie Kay Reed.
Along with his parents, Nolan was preceded in death by his grandparents, Fannie and Edger Brewer and Mr. and Mrs. Henry Mettetal.
Anyone wishing to make a memorial contribution in Nolan’s memory may forward those to the NWCC Foundation, 4975 Hwy 51 North, Senatobia, MS 38668 or to Magnolia Heights School, 1 Chiefs Dr., Senatobia, MS 38668.