Peeples is 2016 Distinguished Service Award recipient The Holmes Community College 2016 Distinguished Service Award recipient is Dr. John Lee (J.L.) Peeples, Jr. (class of '63). He is the owner and operator of Peeples Pecan Company located in Starkville. The award will be presented on October 29 at this year's Homecoming Celebration held on the Goodman Campus.
"Two of the best years of my life were spent at Holmes Junior College," Peeples said. "I had great experiences at Mississippi State University and Auburn University, but the best times were at Holmes. I didn't know a soul when I entered the campus on that Sunday afternoon after riding a Trailways bus for 18 hours from Jacksonville, Florida. From the very beginning, I received a warm welcome from faculty and fellow students. Friendships were established that have lasted a lifetime. I was privileged to room for two years with Rev. James Young who to this day is a very special friend."
As a student at Holmes, Peeples not only established lifelong friendships, but also made a name for himself. He was voted as Freshman Intellect, Student Body President, and Mr. Holmes Junior College.
"My first Thanksgiving in Mississippi was spent in the home of Clinton Tompkins and the next Thanksgiving with Hank James and his family. These were the best of times and these friendships will last forever. Even now about 35 to 40 of us gather three or four times a year for a meal, and fun and fellowship. We enjoy reminiscing about our HJC days and we never get tired of telling the same stories over and over again. Abraham Lincoln said 'The better part of one's life consists of his friendships' and that most certainly applies with Holmes friends."
Upon graduating from Holmes, Peeples earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees from Mississippi State University before obtaining his PhD from Auburn University. Before opening his own business, he worked as a research plant pathologist for DuPont Company in Wilmington, Delaware, and then as a plant disease specialist and later district director for the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service/Mississippi State University.
Dr. Peeples has received a number of awards over the years, including the Career Guidance Award from Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service, the first ever Outstanding Plant Pathologist Award for Southeastern United States, and the designation as honorary "Tator Boy" by the Mississippi Sweet Potato Growers Association. He has also served as president for and received the Distinguished Service Award from the FarmHouse Fraternity Alumni Association.
Peeples and his wife, Sandra, have three children: John Lee Peeples, III, Bradford Howell Peeples, and David Coleman Peeples. John is the owner of Starkville CafÃ© and The Camp House Restaurant in Starkville, Bradford owns River City Farm Supply in Vicksburg, and David is the network administrator supervisor for Mississippi Farm Bureau Insurance Company. The Peeples also have eight grandchildren: Brittany Leigh Peeples Fowler, 25; John Lee Peeples, IV, 23; Hunter Prestel Peeples, 20; Morgan Kelli Peeples, 19; Mary Katelyn Peeples, 16; Carter Coleman Peeples, 12; Chase Aldy Peeples, 9, and Cooper Howell Peeples, 5.