Mrs. Leftwich was born November 10, 1916 at Laconia Circle, Arkansas to Mr. Lynn Evans Arnold and Nannie Jordan Arnold. When she was four, the family moved across the river to Gunnison where her father farmed. She graduated from Gunnison High School, then attended Delta State Teachers College and graduated with a degree in education in 1939. She did her practice teaching at the Hill Demonstration School on campus, then after graduation she taught in Houlka, Wade School outside Drew, Benoit, Gunnison and Rosedale before retiring in 1978.
She met her husband to be, Eugene Porter Leftwich, Jr. on a blind date and they eventually married on March 15, 1943. They married in the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, also known at the time as "The Little Church Around the Corner" in New York. Mr. Leftwich was stationed at Fort Hamilton at the time. They lived in Brooklyn until he received his orders later that year to go overseas in World War II and she returned to Mississippi to continue teaching.
Mrs. Leftwich loved her time at Delta State and the many friends she made because of the doors it opened for her. She and many of those friends were fixtures at Delta State events for many years until she was no longer able to attend. Since graduating in 1939, she only missed returning to campus for homecoming activities one time until just a few years ago. She was a charter member of Alpha Sigma Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, as well as the University Golden Circle. In 2008, she was honored with the Delta State University Legacy Award. She was also proud to have an endowed scholarship established in her name at Delta State for elementary education students.
She was a long-time member of the Gunnison Methodist Church and could be found there most Sunday mornings along with her two dogs, Pup and Lady, until it closed recently. She was also a member of the Mississippi Delta Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
She is preceded in death by her husband Eugene Porter Leftwich, Jr. and her sister Dorothy Lynn Darby. She is survived by her daughter Mary Ellen Merritt, her son and daughter-in-law Porter and Debbie Leftwich; grandchildren Ray Goodwin (Angie), Lynn Goodwin (Brooke) and Erin Peters; eight great grandchildren, one great, great grandson, nieces Lynn Delas and Sheley Rose and nephew Keith Leftwich.
Services will be Monday, January 10 at the Rosedale United Methodist Church. Visitation will be at 10:00 and funeral services at 11:00. Burial will follow at the Shelby Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Mary Ellen Arnold Leftwich Endowed Scholarship at Delta State, the Methodist Children's Home in Jackson, MS or to your favorite charity.