Jones College athletes benefit from newly endowed scholarship

ELLISVILLE- Former Jones College baseball and football player, Dennis Bohannon loved sports. When he played for the Bobcats during the 1974 and 1975 seasons, his younger sister, Diane Bohannon Smith cheered for him, and the team, as a JCJC football cheerleader. The Laurel residents were a year apart in age and very close.

“He was a year ahead of me and the oldest of the four siblings,” said Diane Bohannon Smith. “We had the time of our lives. We were close in age and had a lot of similarities. We loved people and sports.”

During the recent “Day of Giving” fundraising drive for the Jones College Alumni Foundation, Smith decided to endow an athletic scholarship in her brother’s memory. He passed away November 7, 2020, doing something he loved for the West Jones High School football team. Even though he retired from teaching math and coaching the girls’ Mustang soccer team, Bohannon continued helping the football team as its statistician. He left his last football game to go home and finish figuring up the stats for the night and then relay the info to the media and coaches. However, Dennis unexpectedly passed away in his sleep that night.

“Dennis left part of his estate to me, so I wanted to endow a scholarship as a way to continue his legacy,” said Smith. “As a math teacher, he invested in children and yet he had no children of his own and never married. He loved kids and was all about the community. I thought JC would be a good place to leave a legacy in Dennis’ memory. He loved JC, and he coached high school golf and girls’ soccer for over 12 years. He also served as an assistant baseball, softball and football coach. He impacted a lot of children over his 26 years of teaching and coaching,” said Smith.

Faithfully, Dennis also made a monthly donation of $85.22 to the JCJC Foundation, which was the combination of his baseball and football jersey numbers. The 2018 Honor Alumnus felt it was important to donate to the college he loved. Smith knows first-hand how scholarships impact students’ lives.

“My daughter Morgan earned music scholarships when she was at Jones. I know how thankful we were for those scholarships. We know college is expensive. Hopefully, this scholarship in Dennis’ memory provides students the opportunity to have funds available to help them with their education,” shared Smith.

After graduating from JCJC, Dennis Bohannon earned his B.S.B.A. in accounting at USM. Later, he opened and managed the KarmelKorn Shoppe/Popcorn Place in the mall with his parents, for 28 years. As a member of the Oakland Grove Baptist Church in Laurel, Bohannon served as Sunday School Director and sound system director since 1984, and he was the treasurer since 1998. Bohannon was also an active member and treasurer for the Laurel North Camp of the Gideon’s International.

“Even though he was very involved in the community, I think about him with every sport that comes around. There are sports going on all the time with West Jones, Jones College, and USM. I hear it all the time on the news, so I’m constantly thinking about him,” Smith shared. “Establishing this scholarship has been on my heart for a while. I’m glad Dennis will be remembered by even more people at Jones.”

The Dennis Bohannon Athletic Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to eligible Jones College athletes, after meeting other academic guidelines. Students can apply for scholarships by checking the website, through March 2023. Jones College Foundation scholarships will be awarded for the fall 2023 semester.

Tax-deductible contributions towards the Dennis Bohannon Scholarship or other scholarships can be mailed to Jones County Junior College Foundation, Inc. at 900 South Court Street, Ellisville, Mississippi, 39437, or contributions can be made online at For more information, please contact Jo Anna Newcomb in the JC Foundation Office at 601-477-4145. 

Diane Bohannon Smith (pictured center) establishes a new, athletic scholarship in her brother Dennis’ memory. Also pictured are Jones College Alumni Foundation’s Maddison Magee-Database Administrator, Amie McQueen-Interim Executive Director of Alumni & JC Foundation, Jo Anna Newcomb-Alumni Coordinator and Dr. Finee Ruffin, EVP and Chief Marketing, Enrollment Management and Technology Services Officer.

Jones College’s Tim Morris selected as Mississippi Humanities Teacher of the Year

ELLISVILLE –Jones College English instructor, Tim Morris has been selected as the Jones College 2022-2023 Mississippi Humanities Teacher of the Year. He will be honored by the Mississippi Humanities Council and the college on Thursday, February 2, at 10 a.m. in the Home & Health Services Auditorium. The public is invited to see his free presentation, “Consciousness and Contentment in The Epic of Gilgamesh.”

“I am very honored to be selected as Humanities Teacher of the Year for Jones, and I look forward to sharing my passion for The Epic of Gilgamesh, an incredible, timeless story,” said Morris, a JC English and World Literature instructor.

Additionally, Morris teaches courses in composition, creative writing, American literature and traditional grammar. When he began teaching World Literature courses, Gilgamesh’s story became more captivating to him.

“The plot intrigues me because as the term ‘epic’ suggests, it is a huge story filled with exciting adventures, but at its core is a man who learns to appreciate his own humanity. Living in a society that encourages escapism and idealistic self-promotion, I am drawn more and more to literary characters who learn to appreciate their world and become content with themselves,” said Morris.

The Jones County native earned his Associate of Applied Science degree in computer information systems technology for Jones College in 1999. Ironically, Morris wasn’t content in his I.T. world and returned to his studies, earning a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts degree in English from William Carey University in 2009 and 2011. He began teaching as an adjunct instructor at William Carey while also working as the University’s Annual Fund Director and Special Gifts Officer. He began his teaching career at Jones College ten years ago.

“As a student, I loved Jones. After completing my studies here, I always knew that I wanted to return,” said Morris. “My favorite aspect of Jones is the sense of community that is shared among the employees and the students.  I regularly hear from past students who update me on their educational and career journeys, and I feel so honored to play a part in helping students achieve their goals and dreams.”

As a JC student, Morris was inducted into the international honor society, Phi Theta Kappa, at William Carey, he was inducted into the Alpha Chi honor society and the English honor society, Sigma Tau Delta. Much of Morris’ graduate work focused on the Mississippi writer, Eudora Welty. He has presented two papers on Welty’s writing at the Mississippi Philological Association conferences. In addition, his poetry has been published in William Carey University’s creative writing journal, The Indigo.  

Morris’ teaching and writing abilities earned him the Barbara and Gary Sauls Award for Excellence in Teaching Humanities at Jones College in 2018 and he was honored with the William Winters Scholar Recognition at the Natchez Literary and Film Festival in 2016. Additionally, Morris has served as the president of the Mississippi Community College Creative Writing Association, and he is a member of the Mississippi Professional Educators and the Two-Year College Association of Mississippi Teachers of English. He is currently the JC advisor for Sigma Kappa Delta English Honor Society and is a member of the Homecoming, Faculty Development and Student Affairs committees for the college. He serves his church, The First Assembly of God in Ellisville, as the Children’s Ministry Leader and teaches the College and Career Sunday School Class. He is also involved in music and mission ministries. Morris enjoys gardening, playing the piano and spending time with his family and friends in his spare time.

Russ Farris’ “Saturday Morning Salvation” exhibit featured at Jones College

ELLISVILLE – The artwork of Russ Farris will be on display at the Eula Bass Lewis Art Gallery on the campus of Jones College from January 23, through February 17. The public is invited to view, free of charge, the unique cartoon and pop culture display of paintings, sketches, illustrations and prints called, “Saturday Morning Salvation.” The University of Southern Mississippi graduate and former newspaper industry cartoonist will also be sharing his process of creating artwork with an “Art Talk” on Monday, February 13, at 10 a.m. in the art gallery.

“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved cartoons. I taught myself to draw by copying comic strips and coloring book pages,” explained Farris. “I draw what makes me happy and that’s something I’ve always done since I was a child.”

The Petal native and current Ellisville resident’s artwork has always been heavily influenced by comic books, cartoons and pop culture. Since his last exhibit at Jones College in 2009, he has focused more on his style. As a college student, Farris believed his word had to be “fine art” until he saw the work of Daniel Johnston. He also used cartoon characters to express himself which gave Farris the confidence to “cartoon” as a way to work through his own personal views and beliefs.

“I use cartoon characters to connect and express various ideas that range from philosophical to absurd. I use these characters to represent ideas and link pop culture to other pop culture. I like to take well known pop culture characters and draw them a little bit wonky, giving them extra eyes or wings. I started doing that several years ago in my sketchbooks and over the years, those extra elements have become symbols in my work,” shared Farris.

Currently, Farris is teaching public school art. While working in the news industry, Farris won a first-place award from the Mississippi Press Association for an editorial cartoon. His work has also been on exhibit at the University of South Alabama, several group exhibits and most recently, at Lupercalia Art Society in Mobile, Alabama, before almost completely selling out.

For more information about the JC art show or to arrange a visit to the gallery call 601-477-8401. The Eula Bass Lewis Art Gallery is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., and by appointment only on Wednesdays. The gallery is closed during the holidays. If you want to know more about the Jones College Art Department, go to the JC Art Department’s Facebook page, and on Instagram @artatjonescollege.

Jones College students return to campus for the 1st day of spring semester classes

ELLISVILLE –A little rain may have dampened the beginning of the first day of classes for Jones College students, but sunshine and smiles were in abundance as the day continued. For some, this was the continuation of the spring semester because they took advantage of the 4-week mini session offered January 3, before the traditional start of the spring semester. For more information about the different options for classes and mini sessions, click on the website,

JC grad establishes scholarship in memory of former JC teacher, John Klem

ELLISVILLE – Over the last 45 years since Howard Patrick of Ellisville graduated from Jones County Junior College, he has not forgotten about the history teacher who has inspired him. John Klem III taught history at JC for 14 years and Patrick took every one of his classes from 1975 until he graduated in 1977. When Klem passed away from a gunshot wound while serving as a Forrest County Deputy in 1985, Patrick was heartbroken. However, during the recent “Day of Giving” fundraising drive at Jones College, Patrick was thrilled to finally be able to publicly honor the man who inspired his career.

“Mr. Klem had a major impact on my life. I always loved history, but Mr. Klem just made it much more interesting,” said Patrick.

He further explained that after graduating from JCJC in 1977, Patrick wanted to be a teacher, but things didn’t work out until 22 years ago, when he began teaching history at South Jones High School.

The Wayne County native explained, “Mr. Klem didn’t just teach the ‘dry’ facts and things out of the textbooks; he always came up with the ‘rest of the story’ or something extra. That’s what I do for my students. I try to do a little research on the topic to make it more interesting for my students, just like Mr. Klem.”

Ever since the tragic loss of his favorite teacher 38 years ago, Patrick has hoped for the opportunity to endow a scholarship in his memory. His wife, Rebecca Ratcliff Patrick and her siblings endowed a scholarship in memory of their parents in 2000, and that’s when the couple decided if they had the opportunity to endow another scholarship, it would be in Klem’s memory.

“I was working in the oil field when I heard he died in the line of duty and it was heartbreaking,” said Patrick. “I wanted to endow a scholarship in his memory and in his honor, so his legacy will continue here at Jones College, and, hopefully, it will mean as much to some other folks as Mr. Klem meant to me. I’m glad we were finally able to do this for him and his family.”

John Klem III with Elizabeth Herrington at JCJC-1971

Klem’s family was surprised that after 38 years, someone still remembered John Klem III. Teaching was Mr. Klem’s first vocation. The Forrest County resident taught at Purvis High School in 1969, and Jones County Junior College two years later. He began preaching at the Bouie Street Baptist Church in 1970, before becoming a reserve police officer for the Hattiesburg Police Department. In 1976, he joined the Forrest County Sheriff’s Department. His oldest son, John Klem IV, listened to the police scanner as a youngster and after turning 18 years of age, he joined his dad in the police patrol car on Saturday nights.

“I liked riding with my dad and watching him work but I wasn’t sure I wanted to make a career out of it,” said Klem IV. “The night he got shot, September 15, 1985, I decided that’s what I wanted to do. Six months after he passed away, I started my career with the Hattiesburg Police Department as a dispatcher.”

In 2019, Klem IV retired from the Forrest County Sheriff’s Department as a patrol deputy and a constable after 33 years. He explained he was surprised by Howard Patrick’s phone call discussing endowing a scholarship in his dad’s memory.

“I didn’t expect it and it caught me off guard. I didn’t know anyone thought about dad anymore,” said Klem IV. “It just meant a lot. When I called my youngest brother Mark, he was so excited about it.” The Klem’s middle brother James, passed away in 2021.

Amazingly, in addition to his jobs, their father also coached two softball teams: one for the police department and one for his church. John Klem IV said his dad also went to many of the little league baseball games he and his two younger brothers played in. Additionally, Klem III visited his shut-in parishioners, delivered communion and gave them a copy of the sermon after learning how to record the service. The Patricks also bragged on the popular JCJC history teacher’s woodworking skills.

“We have two wooden picture frames Mr. Klem made. His name is on the back of them,” explained Howard Patrick. “They are very special to us. We could never part with them.”

When Klem III was shot in 1985, Rebecca Patrick was working in the JCJC President’s Office, preparing for his return to the classroom.

“Because we were anticipating Mr. Klem’s return to the classroom, the college immediately began working on accommodations for him to teach. He seemed to be recovering well,” she recalled. “Then, we received the devastating news that he had passed away due to complications. It was a real shock to our whole college family.”

Ironically, many years later, Klem IV’s daughter Amber stumbled into her grandfather’s former office when she was a student at JCJC several years ago and met Rebecca Patrick who was teaching journalism at the time.

“After Amber confirmed her grandaddy was John Klem III, I told her she was standing in his former office and he taught my husband. I showed her his classroom and she just started crying. Thanks to Amber, we were able to connect with the family again and inform them about the scholarship,” said Rebecca Patrick.

While reminiscing, Klem IV remembered a time when the Hattiesburg American newspaper followed his dad for two weeks and published a section on each of his jobs as a law enforcement officer, teacher, preacher, and softball coach, as well as a father. The reserve officer’s 44 years on the earth managed to impact a lot of people, and still does to this day.

“When I’d meet people on the streets, they’d tell me they remembered my dad, and I’d ask them if he was their preacher, teacher, or arresting officer? Most of the time, they’d say he taught me at JCJC,” chuckled Klem IV.

He was only four years old when his father began teaching at Purvis High School. The youngster enjoyed coming to the JC campus on the occasion when his dad taught classes in the summer.

“I’m in awe of all the things he did from church visitations, preaching Sunday morning and evening, making phone calls, home visits and more. How did he find time to do all of this? I often wonder this because I only had two jobs and two kids, and they kept me very busy!” said Klem IV. “I am very honored that the Patricks wanted to honor my dad like this and are willing to endow the scholarship, leaving a legacy in my father’s name.”

Howard Patrick added, “I probably wouldn’t be teaching today if it weren’t for the impact John Klem made on my life. In my book, he is the ‘gold standard’ I use when teaching my students. He was the best!”

The John Klem III Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to eligible Jones College students majoring in history, criminal justice or law enforcement, after meeting other academic guidelines. Students can apply for scholarships by checking the website, through March 2023. Jones College Foundation scholarships will be awarded for the fall 2023 semester.

Tax-deductible contributions towards the Klem III scholarship or other scholarships can be mailed to Jones County Junior College Foundation, Inc. at 900 South Court Street, Ellisville, Mississippi, 39437, or contributions can be made online at For more information, please contact Jo Anna Newcomb in the JC Foundation Office at 601-477-4145.

Amie McQueen, Howard & Rebecca Patrick with Jo Anna Newcomb