Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ellis Koury Honored "With Love"

More than 100 people attended the fourth To Vicksburg With Love event Tuesday afternoon to enjoy entertainment and witness a memorial in honor of the late “mayor of Washington Street.”

With a theme of Rainbow and Roses, the event, sponsored by the Pi Alpha Kappa Sorority, was held at the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation and included a catered lunch and entertainment by pianist and accordionist Janusz Szlubowska.

“It was a great crowd,” SCHF Executive Director Annette Kirklin said. Coordinator Frances Koury, whose late husband was honored during the event, agreed on the success, remarking, “It was wonderful.”

Szlubowska, a Polish immigrant and classical musician, entertained with tunes and melodies from the piano and accordion. He was joined on stage by his daughter, Marta, the concert mistress for the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra.

They played such familiar tunes as music from “The Sound of Music.”

Veronica Joerg, a first-time guest at the luncheon event, said, “It was wonderful. The violin and piano are my favorite two instruments.”

As a gift from Danish couple Henning and Inge Deichman a U.S. flag was presented to the foundation in memory of the late Ellis Koury, a Washington Street merchant for more than 50 years. Ellis Koury died in 2008 at the age of 93.

During the presentation, Kirklin read aloud the words on a plaque signed by President Barack Obama honoring Ellis Koury’s military achievement. He was a veteran of World War II.

“The Deichmans wanted to do something for us,” said Connie Koury Hosemann, the Kourys’ younger daughter, who presented the flag.

“They wanted to do something where my daddy would be remembered in the community.” The Deichmans are longtime-family friends of the Kourys.

They have also been for 17 years the employer of Kathy Koury Knudsen, the Kourys’ older daughter who lives in San Francisco.

Neither the Deichmans nor Knudsen could attend.

“This was a wonderful event, very fitting,” said First Baptist Church associate pastor Jim Hess, who led in the Pledge of Allegiance and a rendition of the “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Hess remembers Ellis Koury as “a pleasant person, a real gentleman and always welcoming to everyone.”

“He’d be so proud,” Hosemann said. “He was such a neat person. He was a part of the greatest generation. He saw gravel roads to the Internet during his lifetime.”

The flag will remain on permanent display in the SCHF auditorium, Kirklin said.

The Valentine-themed concert was one of the Four Seasons of the Arts presentations.

Contact Manivanh Chanprasith at

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