Ministers and Staff of First Presbyterian
The Reverend Olin W. McBride
Olin graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance. His youthful dream was to be a professional golfer or baseball player but God had other plans.
Olin was called to ministry in 1983 and graduated from Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, GA, in 1987 with a Master of Divinity degree. He has served churches in Mississippi, Georgia, and South Carolina. Rev. McBride is an avid golfer and tennis player, and enjoys hunting and fly fishing.
Olin and his wife “Jim” have been married for 37 years, having first met in high school in 1976. Olin’s mother actually taught “Jim” in the first grade. They have two children, Emory (Pearl, MS) and Watson (Madison, MS), both graduates of Mississippi State. They are also blessed with two grandchildren, Emma Watson Skates and Aubrey Watson McBride. “Jim” and Olin also love to travel and have led groups to Honduras, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Scotland and Ireland.
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.
Emily grew up in the second pew at First Presbyterian Church, Shreveport, Louisiana. The Jarretts found a spot in the back pew at First Presbyterian, Tupelo seven years ago and are happy to be part of this church family. Emily believes the church community has an important role to play in the nurture of our faith, especially the faith of our children. When she is not at church, she can be found at the soccer fields or dance studio with her children Wilkes and Maggie.
Danielle Frerer 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 Interim Co-Youth Director 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, 9; Carter, 5; and Emma, 3. 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!
Allison Neal is excited to serve as FPC’s Communications Director. She is a lifelong resident of North Mississippi and currently resides in Oxford where she is studying English Education with a minor in Journalism. She has spent the past 6 years working in public relations. She served as the Nettleton High School Yearbook Editor, Newspaper Co-Editor, Weekly Newscast Anchor, and Jr. Civitan Public Relations Coordinator. She was also named the 2015 State of Mississippi High School Yearbook Editor of the Year. She spent one year at Itawamba Community College, where I served as the yearbook editor.
Allison works specifically with the church’s Facebook page, website, event flyer design, Constant Contact, weekly newsletter, and monthly Tower publications.
Teresa has enjoyed working at First Presbyterian Church as our church secretary since June 2006. She is married to Scott Nichols, and they have three grown sons; Chris (April), Corey (Mandee), and Ty (Tiffany) with five grandchildren. She enjoys singing in her church choir, camping, hiking, and gardening.
Mary P. “Miss Sunny” Waters is Director of our weekday Preschool and Kindergarten Program. A graduate of Canton High School, she then attended Mississippi University for Women.
A love for teaching children began in High School when she directed the children’s choir at her Church. She taught Preschool at Harrisburg Baptist Church before coming to teach at First Presbyterian in 1990. She was an early member of the Association for Excellence in Education for the Tupelo Public Schools, served as PTO President, and is an Associate Member of Junior Auxiliary.
Sunny is married to Bill Waters, and they have four children who were reared in the Tupelo Public School System. She enjoys gardening, reading, playing bridge and spoiling her grans. She feels it a privilege to teach in such a loving and welcoming environment and is thrilled when former students return to enroll their children in the Preschool.
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.