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Community mourns the passing of Bo Booth

Community mourns the passing of B.O. “Bo” Booth

The Gibson County community was shocked and saddened last Sunday to learn of the passing of B.O. “Bo” Booth, the legendary principal and athletic director of Gibson County High School.
Booth began his career in education in 1968, serving as a coach at Cooter High School in Missouri, before moving to Gibson County, where he spent 39 years with the Gibson County Special School District.
Booth served as both principal and vice-principal of Dyer High School from 1971 until the GCSSD high schools were consolidated in 1979. Booth was the first principal of Gibson County High School, serving from the school’s opening in 1980 to his retirement in 2007.
In addition to his role as principal, Booth also served as the school’s athletic director for 21 years, where he oversaw many standing-room-only basketball tournaments during the formative years of the program’s dynasty.
As tournament director, Booth hosted 23 district tournaments, 13 regional tournaments, six sub-state tournaments and five county tournaments between 1981 and 2005.
After his retirement, the GCHS gymnasium was renamed in Booth’s honor. He was inducted into the TSSAA Hall of Fame in 2016 and the Gibson County Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.
Booth was instrumental in the success of both Gibson County High School and its students, and will be missed by the community.
“There will never be another person like Mr. Booth,” said GCSSD Director of Schools Eddie Pruett. “He loved and cared so much for his students, his school, and his community. His impact on the district is immeasurable and will be missed tremendously. His character, faith, and selfless love for other humans is something you don’t come across often and I consider myself lucky knowing him.”
“‘Bo’ Booth was the heart and soul of Gibson County High School. No administrator was ever more dedicated to his school and his students than ‘Bo.’ Every decision concerning the school was made with the best interests of the students in mind. The quality education that thousands of students received during those 27 years was largely based upon the leadership of ‘Bo’ Booth as he inspired and led both faculty and students. Bo will be greatly missed by the Gibson County High School community,” said Jim Acree.
“‘Bo’ took real ownership of Gibson County High School,” said Jackie Tucker. “The first principal, he nurtured the school as he would a child. Every employee, every over-flowing toilet, every test score and every student who made that test score, every extracurricular event, every desk that may have been carved on, every shiny hallway floor—EVERYTHING at GCHS mattered to ‘Bo’ Booth. Nothing was too small to escape nor receive his attention. Arriving early and staying late every day, he believed GCHS was the best school in the state, and he did everything he could to make it such. It was not unusual to see him scraping a piece of chewing gum off the floor with a putty knife that he kept in his desk drawer or walking a great distance across campus to pick up a stray piece of trash that had blown away. He pored over test scores making his own lists and charts to dissect standardized scores committing to memory specific students’ scores. He knew which students excelled and which students struggled. He knew them by name.
“‘Bo’ was a man of faith. He took every school decision he made seriously and was often heard to say, ‘I’ll get back with you in 24 hours.’ This meant that he was going to pray about it. And he did pray — not just for his school and its people, but for family and friends and friends of friends who needed prayer. It was not unusual to ask ‘Bo’ to pray for someone in need.

“To say he was totally vested in GCHS is an understatement. No matter how many administrators have and will come after him, no one ever will have greater love and pride for Gibson County High School than ‘Bo Booth, one of education’s finest.”

“I taught Band for Bo for 11 years at Gibson County High School,” said Trenton Mayor Tony Burriss. “He never understood anything I ever did with the Band program
but he gave me the freedom to run the program the way I wanted. He was a wonderful principal to work for and he was a kind and gracious man. He was also a true Christian and all kids were the same in his eyes. He was one of a kind and I will miss him.”

“Quietly, Bo Booth was one of the most generous Christian men that I knew,” said Lynn Tucker. “He was also fiercely competitive and loyal.  He came to Dyer as an assistant principal in the early 70’s and transitioned to the role of principal in 1974. I was asked to be his assistant and reluctantly left the classroom to move into administration with him, serving in a professional relationship in different roles with Bo for the next 35 years.  School administration is often challenging, and many difficult decisions are required. Mr. Booth always solicited input from others and spent time in prayer before final decisions were made.  He loved his school and “his” students.  He had nicknames for some and called others by their last names. I was one of his double name persons.  He always addressed me as one word, LynnTucker.  I shall miss that.

“He shared stories from his early coaching days in the bootheel of Missouri, growing up in McKenzie and relocating to Dyer. He loved history and sports and enjoyed playing cards with colleagues. He had high standards for his staff and students. He ended each day reviewing what had been done and made a new list of things to be accomplished the next day…often two pages.  He was well known and respected outside of Gibson County, but may be best remembered by individual students that were helped along the way by Mr. Booth”

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