Scholarship honors father, family’s shared military connection

Scholarship honors father, family’s shared military connection

Col Mims and Family


A new scholarship endowment has been created in Mississippi State University’s Center for America’s Veterans by Bulldog alumnus and Circuit Court Judge Kelly Mims. Established in memory of his late father, Colonel Larry M. Mims, the award will benefit students who share the Mims family’s strong military connection.

Colonel Larry McGaughy Mims, US Army-Retired, was a Mississippi native who graduated from Shannon High School and attended Itawamba Junior College. He married Laverne Wilson of Shannon in 1958 and the couple shared 61 years together. They made their home in Plantersville, where they raised their three children, Terri, Kirk and Kelly.

A strongly patriotic American, Col. Mims entered the Mississippi National Guard in 1957, retiring with the rank of colonel in 1993 after nearly four decades of service. He was federalized in the 1962 riots at the University of Mississippi, as well as during Hurricane Camille on the Coast in 1969. His career positioned him to command several units, including the 106th Forward Support Battalion, 155th Armored Brigade and 1st Calvary Division during Desert Storm. For his courageous service and achievement, Col. Mims received numerous medals and awards.

Following his retirement from the Mississippi National Guard, Col. Mims dedicated himself to helping other veterans through his civic involvements. He was a life member of the American Legion and was deeply committed to Post 49 in Tupelo, where he served as commander. Additionally, he commanded the north Mississippi area of the American Legion, the VFW and 40 and 8 Honor Society, where he held a national office. He was a 32nd degree Mason and Shriner and was instrumental in the establishment of the Tupelo Veterans Park.

His civilian life included several entrepreneurial ventures and positions in agricultural sales, including territory sales representative for Ralston Purina, Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland. With his wife Laverne, he began The Fashion Corner retail clothing store in Tupelo and later consulted for K and K Systems of Tupelo. The ever-engaged Col. Mims also held a teacher's certification and taught at Tupelo High School.

Upon Col. Mims’ passing in 2019, his family began considering ways to honor his legacy. His sons, Kirk and Kelly, who followed his footsteps into the armed forces, understand firsthand the importance of investing in the lives of those who serve. The brothers also had the unique opportunity to serve alongside their father during Desert Story when they were deployed to the 155th Armored Brigade.

“We answer the call when our country needs us, and my father was proud of that fact,” said Judge Kelly Mims. “We want to honor and support those who do the same.”

The Colonel Larry Mims Endowed Leadership Award will provide financial support for veterans, service members or dependents pursuing higher education at Mississippi State. Candidates for the award must have a minimum 3.0 high school GPA and preference will be given to Mississippi residents.

“Judge Mims’ generosity honors the legacy of his father and will serve as a lasting tribute to the dedicated service of their family for our nation,” said Stephanie Davis, veterans benefits and program counselor for the MSU Center for America’s Veterans. “This scholarship will provide meaningful support for MSU’s student veteran community now and in the future.”

Judge Mims is a Circuit Court Judge for Mississippi District 1. He earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Mississippi State University in 1994 before completing his Juris Doctor degree at the University of Mississippi.

To help offset his own college tuition, he joined the guard in July 1988. He first enlisted in Nettleton and later attended Officer Candidacy School in 1992, serving as an officer in the 1-198 AR in Amory. He commanded units at all levels in the National Guard and later US Army Reserve, culminating at the rank of colonel, brigade commander of the 654th Regional Support Bridge in Tacoma, Washington. He served 34 years in the military, which included active-duty deployment to the Middle East for Operation Desert Storm/Shield in 1990 and combat service in Iraqi Freedom III in 2004. Upon his retirement from the guard last year, Judge Mims was promoted to brigadier general.

Judge Mims credits his father with instilling in him a passion for military service. “My dad lived and breathed military, so I was almost expected to enlist, but I learned to love it and it shaped who I am today,” he said.

Now, through his generous gift in memory of his father, Judge Mims is helping to shape opportunities for fellow Bulldog veterans who share his passion.

To learn more about creating scholarship and endowed support for the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Center for America’s Veterans at MSU, contact Jana Berkery, director of development for the Division of Student Affairs, at 662-325-9129 or