The Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges and Holmes Community College lost a dear friend in longtime Pearl River Sports Information Director Mitch Deaver.
Deaver passed away earlier this week at his home in Purvis. For the past 19 years, Deaver roamed the sidelines at Pearl River Community College games taking photos and writing articles for Pearl River and the media outlets in South Mississippi. But at the same time, he provided information to his fellow SIDs across the state.
"Like clockwork I could go into my email the night of a contest between Holmes and Pearl River or the morning after and find box scores and high quality photographs that he'd taken especially for Holmes which highlighted our players and coaches in action," Holmes Community College Associate Athletic Director for External Relations Steve Diffey said. "I came into the league in early 2000 and since that time he's been doing this without me asking or without payment of any kind.
"That just tells you what kind of person Mitch was," he said. "He loved Pearl River and the MACJC and didn't mind sharing with others and using his photography skills he was richly blessed with. It made my life a lot easier to have a timely photograph to put with the game story for the web or share with my local media outlets."
Diffey said he and Deaver had many conversations about the MACJC and life in general. "He was always looking ahead at what was coming up in the very near future," Diffey said. "Just a few weeks ago, Mitch did a composite football schedule for the whole MACJC and made it look great. He's been doing this schedule for as long as I can remember and sending it out to us to use in our media guides and to print and have on our desks to know who was playing who that particular week.
"He also called me a few weeks ago about the MACJC State Soccer Tournament," he said. "He wanted to know who (North or South men and women) would be hosting it. I just laughed and told him I had no clue but would find out. He was already looking for to the playoffs and expected his teams to be there."
"One story I remember about Mitch is the pronunciation of his last name," Diffey said. "I, along with many others, pronounced it 'Deaver like Beaver' but as all of the South Mississippians know, this is not how he nor his family pronounced it. He was the type of guy that let this go and said it didn't matter to him. He said as long as people were calling him and needed his service, that was what was important to him."
Deaver graduated from Purvis High School and Pearl River. Diffey said Pearl River will have a hard time filling this position with someone who loved Pearl River as much as he did. "He was a Wildcat through and through," Diffey said. "It will be a strange fall not receiving emails from him with photographs and box scores, and the same time, his funny jokes, etc. that he would send.
"I'll miss the calls, too. He would talk for hours about MACJC business. But know this, if one of his coaches called him and needed him, he would dump your call in a heartbeat," laughed Diffey. "I know Heaven is getting some good pictures taken today by an exceptional photographer. I'll miss my friend and I know the MACJC and its SIDs will as well."
Before joining the staff of PRCC, Deaver spent 20 years in other media work, to include serving as editor and general manager of The Booster and Lamar County News, former weekly newspapers in Lamar County.
Funeral arrangements for Deaver at Hulett-Winstead Funeral Home in Purvis include a 5-8 p.m. Friday visitation with a 2 p.m. Saturday funeral at the funeral home. Burial will be at Slade Cemetery in Purvis. Deaver is survived by his brother, Mac, and sisters, Melanie, Melissa and Michelle.