On Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, Thomas McCay Luster, loving husband and father, finished the race after 93 years and went to be with the Lord from his home in Clarksdale.
“Te” known later as “Te Daddy” was born in Clarksdale on January 17, 1927 to Miles Joseph (Doc) and Ruby (McCay) Luster. An Eagle Scout at Clarksdale High School, Te attended Mississippi State University and Louisiana Tech. He paused his college studies to serve in the Navy through Southwestern University’s Naval College Training Program and later graduated from Mississippi State with a BS in Agriculture. While in college, Te was president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, played football at Mississippi State, and participated in the ROTC. On June 17, 1949, he married his childhood sweetheart and the love of his life, Betty Bramlett Luster. Te was a cotton farmer for over fifty years in the Mississippi Delta where he also raised Christmas trees, owning and operating Ms. T’s Trees Christmas Tree Farm. But he was by far proudest of raising his two sons and two daughters — Tim, Rabun, Libby, and Kay.
Known for his unfailing positivity, faithful friendship, and infectious smile, Te had a passion for serving as demonstrated by the numerous professional, church, and volunteer roles he took on over the years. He was president of the Louisiana-Mississippi Christmas Tree Association, served on the Board of Directors at First National Bank of Clarksdale, was one of the founders of the Lula Rich Education Foundation and a member of the first Board of Directors at Lee Academy. An avid hunter and fisherman, Te was President of River View Land Company and Burke’s Hunting Club. A devoted member of Clarksdale United Methodist Church, he held multiple offices and served on various committees. He was a member of First Methodist’s Character Builders’ Class, attended The Emmaus Walk, and did mission work in Alaska.
An insatiable learner, Te loved to experience new things. He obtained his pilot’s license and was an early adopter of computer technology in his business, but never was his curiosity more apparent than in his retirement years when he became a voracious reader and true Renaissance man — learning to bake bread, taking up water-color, tracing his genealogy, and attending classes to become a Master Gardener. An ardent traveler, Te and his wife visited Europe and all fifty states in their seventy years of adventures together, even driving to Alaska from Mississippi in their RV.
Te’s unflagging belief in God’s love was the defining principle of his life. His unshakeable gratitude for God’s faithfulness in the midst of challenges was humbling and inspiring to all who knew him. He was an encourager who never complained. Even in the darkest of times he would say, “I can’t complain because my cup of blessings overflows.” That attitude of thankfulness was contagious and Te Daddy’s cup of overflowing gratitude splashes out onto his family and friends today for a life that was so well-lived.
Te was preceded in death by his beloved wife Betty by only eight weeks, his sister Claire Luster Bell, and his brother Miles Joseph (Sparky) Luster, who was killed on Okinawa in World War II. He is survived by his four children – Tim Luster (Deborah), Rabun Luster (Ann Fisher), Libby Luster Sims, and Kay Luster Dykes (Tom). Te Daddy had nine grandchildren – Elizabeth Luster Sherman (Chuck), Sparky Luster (Jenny Kate), Jones Luster (Anna Claire), Fisher Luster Bullock (Joey), Virginia Luster, Michael Sims (Carolyn), Miles Sims, Michelle Dykes Rossotti (Andre), and Russ Dykes, and nine great-grandchildren – McCay, Lila, Miles, Graham, Olivia Cate, Bramlett, Bo, Sessum, and Henry – all of whom he was fiercely proud.
The family will receive visitors at Clarksdale United Methodist Church at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8. The memorial service and celebration of his life will follow at 11 a.m., with the Rev. Neville Vanderburg officiating. Meredith-Nowell Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Clarksdale United Methodist Church, Lee Academy, or CaresClarksdale.com