is part of the Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

  • American Agriculturist
  • Beef Producer
  • Corn and Soybean Digest
  • Dakota Farmer
  • Delta Farm Press
  • Farm Futures
  • Farm Industry news
  • Indiana Prairie Farmer
  • Kansas Farmer
  • Michigan Farmer
  • Missouri Ruralist
  • Nebraska Farmer
  • Ohio Farmer
  • Prairie Farmer
  • Southeast Farm Press
  • Southwest Farm Press
  • The Farmer
  • Wallaces Farmer
  • Western Farm Press
  • Western Farmer Stockman
  • Wisconsin Agriculturist

Late pilot bequeaths Delta land to MSU

McGeary willed Sidon Plantation in Leflore County to Mississippi State University. The bequest includes 2,069 acres of farmland and 568 additional acres around Sidon Plantation near Greenwood, as well as one of the oldest homes in Leflore County.

Willis Durden “Dan” McGeary left Mississippi to follow his dream of becoming a pilot, but he never forgot his connection to his home state or his alma mater,Mississippi State University.

The last surviving member of a prominent Delta family, McGeary willed Sidon Plantation in Leflore County to Mississippi State University. The bequest includes 2,069 acres of farmland and 568 additional acres around Sidon Plantation near Greenwood, as well as one of the oldest homes in Leflore County. McGeary died in 2011 at age 91.

The $8 million bequest of real estate, the largest in university history, is designated “unrestricted,” meaning agricultural lease proceeds from the property will provide an annual source of revenue for MSU as part its Bulldog Properties program.

“Row crops are still grown on the farmland -- cotton, corn and soybeans --and we are proud to say our efforts are prosperous each year,” said John Doty Porter, the property’s tenant farmer, whose family has farmed the property since the early 1970s.

Although McGeary deeply appreciated agriculture, he had aspirations outside of farming. He decided at the age of 10 to become a pilot. His dream led him to then-Mississippi State College, where he earned an aeronautical engineering degree in 1940.

After graduation, McGeary was employed with several aircraft manufacturing companies as an engineer before joining the U.S. Army Air Corps. He became an aircraft commander, flying missions in Europe during World War II. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

After the war, McGeary returned to Mississippi and managed the family plantation. He later became a captain for American Airlines, where he worked for 29 years. In later years, he lived in Marina Del Rey, Calif.

Although his adventures took him away from Mississippi, McGeary wanted to sustainhis legacy in his home state.

“My husband wanted to leave the plantation and farmland to MSU because he felt the university would be good stewards of the property and because of his genuine fondness and appreciation for the school,” said Joy Andreson McGeary,his wife of nearly 18 years.

“Mississippi State University is extremely grateful to Willis McGeary for allowing us to transform his treasured possession into a valuable resource for the students, faculty and programs of the university,” said Jud Skelton, director of real estate giving for MSU’s Foundation. “The gift is remarkable, not only for the level of generosity, but also for the investment in future generations and the demonstration of confidence he placed in Mississippi State.”

Hide comments

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Publish