Ministers and Staff of First Presbyterian
Rev. Dr. Taylor Todd
The Reverend Dr. A. Taylor Todd
Taylor and his wife, Abby, are from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Taylor did his undergraduate studies at Rhodes College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion. He attended Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, earning a Doctor of Ministry degree.
Taylor has been an Interim Pastor in several churches over the years. Prior to moving into interim ministry, he brings years of pastoral experience to FPC, having served as associate and senior head of staff pastor at several churches.
The Reverend Ron Richardson
Reverend Dr. Ron Richardson
Ron is a graduate of Hinds Jr. College, Mississippi State University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Master of Religious Education), Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity), and Columbia Theological Seminary (Doctor of Ministry). He completed 13 quarters of Clinical Pastoral Education at Bryce Mental Hospital (Tuscaloosa, AL), Kentucky Baptist Hospital (Louisville, KY), and Memorial Hospital (Houston, Texas). He was employed by the NMMC in 1976 to develop the first Department of Pastoral Care and was Director of this Department for 29 years. He retired from NMMC in 2005 and became the Parish Associate for Pastoral Care (part-time) for First Presbyterian Church the same year. He became a certified T’ai Chi Chih teacher in 2003. He has since taught weekly TCC classes at the NMMC Wellness Center.
Ron is married to Deanna (52 years), has two sons (Chris and Todd), two daughters-in-law (Angelia and Leigh) and four grandchildren (Anna Reese, Christopher Cole, Ava Holland, and Corinne Louise). After retiring as an avid Harley Davidson motorcycle rider taking trips through all 48 continental states plus Canada, he now enjoys being with his family, working in his garden, caring for older adults, and teaching TCC.
Dr. Bob Taylor
Bob Taylor serves as Director of Music at First Presbyterian. His duties include directing the Chancel Choir, Tower Ringer’s handbell choir and supervising the other areas of the music program.
Originally from Crystal Springs, MS, Dr. Taylor received the Bachelors and Master of Music Education degrees from Mississippi State and the Doctor of Arts from the University of Mississippi. His career includes teaching band and choir in the Amory and Monroe County public schools. He was the assistant band director at Mississippi State University and Choral Director at Northeast and Itawamba Community Colleges where he also taught applied voice and Music Appreciation.
He and his wife Jan have two children Claire and Robert, son-in-law Trey and have just welcomed their first grandson, Owen Taylor Leeke.
Dr. Ray Harris
Dr. Harris has been organist at First Presbyterian Church since January, 1994. His duties include providing organ music for weekly worship services, as well as special and seasonal services. In addition, he provides rehearsal accompaniment for the Chancel Choir and soloists. He has recorded a CD of organ music on the Letourneau Organ at First Presbyterian Church.
Dr. Harris holds a Bachelor and Master of Music Education degrees from Mississippi State University and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Louisiana State University. He is a member of the American Guild of Organists and the Mississippi Music Teachers Association, for which he has served as vice-president for Public Relations.
In addition to his duties at the church, Dr. Harris teaches music at Northeast MS Community College in Booneville, MS. His duties include teaching piano, Music History and accompanying the college choir. He also serves as faculty advisor for the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society on campus. He has been chosen as Humanities Teacher of the Year, has been named a TOPP teacher and has represented the college at the state capital as a HEADWAE honoree.
Danielle Frerer Ratliff
Danielle Ratliff is a Tupelo native who currently works at Tupelo High School as a show choir director and music teacher. She received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Mississippi College and her Master of Music Education degree from the University of Mississippi. Previously, she taught middle school choir and was a children’s choir director at Fondren Presbyterian Church in Jackson, MS. Her hobbies are cooking, singing, playing guitar, and dancing. Danielle feels incredibly blessed to work with the children and youth of First Presbyterian.
Melissa McDuffie currently serves as Director of Youth and Christian Education at First Presbyterian Church. She was born, baptized and reared in these halls and pews and is honored to serve in this role. She finds it is humbling to work with the youth group that nurtured her faith and helped shaped her during her middle school and high school years! After high school, she earned a degree in Biblical Studies with an emphasis in Christian Ministry from Belhaven College, married Jason McDuffie, served with Jason as Camp Directors of Presbyterian Camp on Okoboji Lake in Northwest Iowa and welcomed three children into this world – Joey, 13; Carter, 9; and Emma, 7. A week at the beach, fun times outside, trying to stay a step ahead of their kids, and good conversations with friends are a few of my favorite things!
Melissa’s absolute favorite part of serving as Youth Director is the relationships that are built and the questions and discussions that spill out of those relationships!
Helen Curtis serves as Church Secretary. She is responsible for publications, including our weekly worship bulletin, our weekly newsletter, and our monthly newsletter, The Tower. She maintains the membership records, website and social media. Helen is a Tupelo native, is married to Jim Curtis, and has two children, Laura Stroup (Robert) of Germantown, TN and Will Collins of Milwaukee, WI. She also has one cute grandson, Walt Stroup, who is 15 months old. She is a member of her church’s chancel and handbell choirs along with other committees and loves being with family, babysitting Walt, playing piano, cooking, sewing, painting, and traveling.
Eddie has been the Maintenance Superintendent since January 2001, maintaining the church grounds and buildings. He is married to Debbie Baker and they have one daughter, Madison, two sons, Thomas and Austin (wife Lynn), and two grandchildren. Hobbies include working the in the yard, watching sports and spending time with family and friends.