Anita  Hood

Anita Louise Neely Hood of LaFayette went to be with her Lord and Savior on Saturday, March 20, 2021. She was born in Tupelo, Mississippi on November 27, to the late Thomas Harmon Neely and Zoula Mae Johnson Neely. Anita was an honest realist with a playful sense of humor and was a very loyal friend to those close to her. She will be remembered for her love and support of family, friends and church, and her love for music. She was preceded in death by her brother, James H. Neely. She is survived by her husband, Dannis E. Hood Sr.; children, Lisa Hood Lancaster, MD; and Dannis E. Hood, Jr. MD; grandchildren, Caroline Taylor Hood, Dannis E. Hood, III, and Andrew William Lancaster. Anita started playing the piano at age 6, and in the 9th grade she was asked to be the pianist for the First Baptist Church in Tupelo, MS. Her senior year of high school, she was asked to play for a group of faculty from the University of Southern Mississippi. She was not aware that this was an audition. She was totally surprised when she found out who they were, and they offered her a full scholarship to study Piano Performance at the University of Southern Mississippi. Anita was very active in college life. She was a member of the sorority Delta Delta Delta of the Phi Epsilon Chapter at the University of Southern Mississippi. Each year she orchestrated the program for the school's sorority musical competition, and each year under Anita's direction the Tri Delta's won. Her outstanding grades also boosted the mean GPA of the sorority. She also participated in the Baptist Student Union, Choral Union, was in Who's Who following graduation, and was nominated to the Outstanding Young Women of America. In her Freshman class, there were 33 Piano Performance majors. Of the 33, only 3 graduated with a degree in Piano Performance, and Anita finished top in her class. Her senior performances included being the featured soloist with College-Civic Symphony Orchestra under the direction of the famous Dr. William Presser. She played the last two movements of the Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor. She appeared and played frequently in college musicals and was a featured piano soloist with the New Orleans Symphony. Anita was often called a gifted young musician. She graduated the University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelors of Music in Piano Performance. Following college graduation, she was offered a full scholarship to Juilliard for further piano performance studies. Anita met Dannis during her second semester of college when they were set up by her first cousin on a blind date while Dannis was a college student at Mississippi State University, 200 miles away. Dannis would hitch hike those 200 miles from Starkville, MS to Hattiesburg, MS to see her over the course of dating for 3 and a half years. They were married June 14, 1958. After marriage, they lived for 6 months in Old Hickory, TN then moved to Delaware in 1959 when Dannis was promoted to a management position at E.I. Dupont. While in Delaware, she taught private piano music lessons and had 2 children, Dannis E. Hood, Jr and Lisa. In 1967, they moved to LaFayette, Georgia when Dannis became Director of Research and Development for Barwick Mills. They joined the First Baptist Church in LaFayette and have been members for 54 years. Anita was always active at her church and was a co-Sunday School teacher for years and intermittently filled in as pianist on Sundays for staff absences. In 1996, she became the full-time church pianist on Sundays and has played for numerous church family weddings and funerals over the years. Each Christmas as part of the community and church Singing Christmas Tree, she played accompaniment along with the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra. She loved her position with the church and the music staff. She practiced 6 days a week at least 2 hours at the church punctuated by visits with the church staff catching up on events and friends. She routinely enjoyed the church library and regularly checked out books as an avid reader. While raising 2 children in LaFayette, she was very involved in their school serving as Vice President and then President for the PTA at North LaFayette Elementary School. She spearheaded the fundraising project for the HVAC units at North LaFayette, and she served for a couple of years as a den mother for her son's local cub scout troop. When both her adult children decided to go to medical school, she expanded her teaching to help offset their educational costs. As a result, many people in LaFayette benefitted from learning to play the piano under Anita's tutelage. She was a member for 30 years of the LaFayette Women's Club where she served as Vice President one year. Anita loved the Lord, her husband, music, piano, her music students, her church and church family, friends, cooking, the Fall, Christmas, and pets. Funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Thursday, March 25, 2021 at the LaFayette First Baptist Church with Dr. Derrick Fielder, Bruce Parrott, and Rev. Tom Ariail officiating. The funeral will be streamed live on Facebook (Facebook Live: @lafayettefirstbc and on Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 2pm. Interment will be private in the LaFayette City Cemetery. Pallbearers are Wally Meeks, Neil Gilreath, Drew Lancaster, Beacher Garmany, Henry Gilbert, and Dale Pack. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to LaFayette First Baptist Church Library and the LaFayette First Baptist Church Music Program. Arrangements are by Wallis-Wilbanks Funeral Home, LaFayette.

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