Margaret Dennis, namesake of Margaret's Grocery, dies at 94

On the front porch of Margaret's Grocery

Margaret Rogers Dennis | 1916-2009

Vicksburg, MS

Embellished visionary environment | Created 1994 to present

4:02 PM CDT, October 7, 2009

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) — Margaret Dennis, the namesake and longtime proprietor of a grocery store that became a folk-art landmark in the Mississippi Delta, has died. She was 94.

Dennis died Monday at Vicksburg Convalescent Home. Services are 2 p.m. Saturday at Cool Springs M.B. Church in Vicksburg with burial in Cedar Hills Cemetery. W.H. Jefferson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Dennis is survived by her husband, the Rev. Herman Dennis, who turned the couple’s modest grocery store into a maze of red and white bricks, Christmas lights, Mardi Gras beads and signs with theological slogans.

Margaret and her late husband ran a rural grocery outside Vicksburg on old Highway 61, until he was fatally shot by a neighborhood kid during a robbery. Margaret met Rev. Dennis through the ladies at church. They married in 1979 and began to fix up the place to attract attention, so Rev. Dennis could share the word of God. Rev. Dennis began to paint the building red, white, and some blue, but Margaret added the crowning touches of pink and yellow. Brick towers and signs abound, welcoming “Jews and Gentiles” with various symbols of the double-headed eagle of the Prince Hall Masonic Lodge, of which he is a member. The interior of the store is elaborately decorated with beads and bold paint, and as well is the church bus, which also has pews and a pulpit for preaching.

Rev. Dennis and Margaret

Rev. Dennis and Margaret

Vicksburg, MS