William “Billy” Joseph Carollo

A memorial mass for William Joseph Carollo, Sr., 84, of Leland will be at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, January 7 at St. James Catholic Church, Leland. He died on December 31, 2016 at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Arrangements are under the direction of Boone Funeral Home, Leland. 

He was born in Leland in 1932. He was the son of Charlie and Lucille Thornton Carollo and was a member of one of the Delta’s pioneer Italian families. He cherished his Italian heritage and his Delta roots. He was a communicant of St. James Catholic Church in Leland, MS. 

He was affectionately known as “Billy Joe” by family and friends. He graduated from Leland High School in 1951, where he was captain of the football team. He attended Sunflower Junior College, now Mississippi Delta Community College where he was selected as the “Outstanding Back” and received Honorable Mention All-State honors. In 2004 he was inducted into the Mississippi Delta Community College Sports Hall of Fame.

His passion for sports continued on during his years in the military. During the Korean conflict, Billy Joe was stationed in Germany where he was assigned to the U.S. Army Signal Corps attached to the 37th Army Combat Engineers.  Not to miss out on his beloved football while in Europe, he played football two years for the U. S. Army Pioneers Football Team. The team traveled to U. S. bases scattered around Europe.  He was selected All-Europe First Team Army.

Upon his return to the Leland, he worked briefly in the in the arena of insurance, then moved over to the U.S. Post office where he worked till his retirement. Not to miss out on football, Billy spent the better part of the next four decades officiating junior high, high school, and junior college football as part of the MS High School Athletics Association as well as MS Association of Community and Junior Colleges.

Billy was a member of the Leland Volunteer Fire Department and proud supporter of the Leland Boy Scout Troop 42. He was active in the startup of Leland Academy where he served as president of the boosters club.  

Survivors include his wife Glenda of Leland. Three children. William J. Carollo, Jr. (Tami) of Brandon, Donna Carollo Cox, of Horn Lake, and Mandie Carollo Vowell (Dave) of Brandon. Other family members include Rebecca H. Hunt (Steven) of Grenada, David Heep (Vivian) of Vicksburg, and Jeff Heep (Jenae) of Clinton. He had 16 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. He is also survived by brothers Charles Carollo of Greenville, Alphonse Carollo (Wanda) of Tuttle, OK, Mike Carollo (Vicki) of Madison and sisters Roselyn St. Clair (Edward) of Denham Springs, LA, Camille Doiron (Warren) of Vicksburg, Sarah Marie Stanton of Greenville, Linda Winter of Jonesboro, AR, and Barbara Ivy (David) of Brandon. He is preceded in death by his parents and five brothers Johnny Carollo, Paul Carollo, Sammy Carollo, Otis Carollo, and James Carollo.  

A visitation for family and friends will take place from 9:30-11 a.m. on Saturday at the church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. James Catholic Church, Leland.