OXFORD — Roscoe Womack Jr. was a hard-working man, which may be why he set such store by mules, which are also known to be vigorous workers.
Womack, 78, who worked as superintendent of Oxford Utilities and Public Works for 48 years, was laid to rest Tuesday afternoon in a hand-made casket brought to Oxford Historical Cemetery aboard his mule wagon drawn by two red mules.
Rhonda Womack, Roscoe’s wife of 16 years, said her husband would have loved the spectacle of a funeral cortege including a mule-drawn wagon. “He was a ham,” she said simply.
Womack owned the same two mules for 30 years — Nell and Bell — who were “his pride and joy,” said Mrs. Womack. With Nell and Bell, Womack participated in countless parades and wagon trains, always willing to give people a ride.
“On his dying bed, he asked if we were taking care of his mules,” said Mrs. Womack.
Womack retired from Oxford 16 years ago, and then trained two of his nephews to step into his shoes — Jody Reid and Scottie Croy.
Womack died Sept. 3 after a lengthy illness. As his health declined, he was less able to work with Nell and Bell, and he hadn’t hitched them to a wagon in several years, relatives said. For Tuesday’s funeral cortege, the family enlisted the help of Sammy and Marie LeVert of Good Hope, who were happy to lend their two red mules to the cause.
“I didn’t know Mr. Roscoe, but he liked mules, and that’s good enough for me,” said Mr. LeVert.
Many friends — young and old — gathered at Womack’s graveside service to express their condolences to the family and share memories.
Long-time friend and neighbor Albert Lee Clark said he and Womack were extremely close.
“He was one color and I was another, but we were both the same thing,” said Clark.
Clark recalled how he would often see Womack driving his mule wagon up the road, never trotting, always at a walk. He also said Womack always shared the bounty of his garden, whatever was in season.
“He loved farming and watching crops grow,” recalled Mrs. Womack. “He was the type of person you couldn’t help but like. He was so full of knowledge. He was a ham and loved seeing his picure in the paper… ”
In addition to his wife, Womack is survived by son Kevin Houston (Amanda) of Loganville; daughters Tina Owens (Mark) of Covington, Tammy Payton (Greg) of Oxford, and April Houston of Covington; and several grandchildren, great grandchildren, and nephews.