Mills Eugene Barbee, Jr., age 77, resident of Hernando, Mississippi, passed away on April 11, 2023, surrounded by loved ones in the same house where he was raised and where he raised his daughters.
Mills, born on March 30, 1946, grew up in Hernando and was a sixth generation DeSoto Countian. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Mississippi and a Juris Doctor degree from the Jackson School of Law (now Mississippi College School of Law). Upon the completion of his studies, Mills clerked for the Mississippi Supreme Court and then returned to Hernando to practice law. In 1981, he was elected as DeSoto County’s first County Court Judge. Through this role, he heard various civil and criminal matters and started the County’s Youth Court program. Except for his first election, he ran unopposed for all other terms. He had the honor of serving as County Court Judge for 26 years before retiring.
However, retirement simply was not for him. He returned to private practice and then served as a Senior Status Judge, where he was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court to hear various cases in different jurisdictions across the State. In February of 2018, the first Juvenile Justice Center in Desoto County was unveiled, and it was named the Mills E. Barbee Juvenile Justice Center. Mills was both surprised and humbled. In 2020, he finally retired, after completing decades of service to the State.
Mills married Laurie Allen in 1979 at the First Presbyterian Church in Hernando. They absolutely adored one another and shared over 43 years of marriage together. The birth of his daughters Ashleigh and Brittany were the highlights of his life. Although a man of few words, Mills was an empathetic man who loved fiercely, lived humbly, and treated each person he met with kindness and acceptance. He loved Ole Miss football, ZZ Top, and black-eyed peas and cornbread. He is survived by his wife Laurie; his daughters Ashleigh Murdock (Jeremy) and Brittany Barbee (Taylor Weglicki); his three grandchildren Finnley, Hawkins, and Kitch; and a host of loved ones. He was preceded in death by his parents, Mills, Sr. and Willie Belle Smith, and his sister Brenda Ballard (Bill).
Visitation will be Friday, April 14, 5:00pm - 7:00pm at the DeSoto County Courthouse. A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, April 15, at 10:00am at Idlewild Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tennessee, with a reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to a charity of your choice.