Pearl River Community College has inducted the first honorees into the PRCC Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame. Sidney Malone of Hattiesburg, Dr. Thomas J. Malone of LaGrange, Ga., Jim McQueen of Hattiesburg, the late Henry Thomas of Hattiesburg and Jean Baughman Wessel of Huntsville, Ala., were honored.
Sidney Malone attended Pearl River in 1962-64 and played on the Wildcat football team. After earning a degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, he began a career as a real estate and business developer in Mississippi and Colorado.
His brother, Thomas Malone, also played Wildcat football and attended Pearl River in 1957-59. After being inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa honor society at Pearl River, he earned both the bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from Georgia Tech University. Malone joined Deering Milliken Inc. as a chemical engineer in 1966 and rose through the company ranks, retiring as executive vice chairman of Milliken & Co. in 2004.
McQueen, a native of Picayune, attended Pearl River from 1950-52 before earning degrees from USM and the University of Mississippi. After teaching high school art, he was hired to illustrate golf columns written by Jack Nicklaus, starting a 40-year career as a freelance sports illustrator.
Thomas, who passed away in 2011, attended Pearl River in his hometown of Poplarville from 1957-58. He earned degrees at USM and studied at Mississippi State University but it was Pearl River that captured his heart. Thomas taught school before joining Coast Electric Power Association where he was manager for 13 years and then South Mississippi Electric Power Association, which he managed for 19 years.
Wessel spent only the 1954-55 school year at Pearl River but was a busy student — serving as a Wildcat cheerleader and writing for both the campus newspaper and the Future Business Leaders of America newsletter. Wessel moved on to what she called a “wonderfully interesting life.” She earned her bachelor’s degree at Eastern Michigan University and was an airline stewardess and instructor before she and her husband, Fred, opened a Burger King franchise in Huntsville, Ala. After Fred Wessel’s death in 1995, she became president and CEO of Westfam Restaurants Inc., which owns and operates 27 Burger Kings in northern Alabama.