Mr. Harley D. Loy, founder of Supermarket Operations Inc. (SOI), died July 17. He was 89. SOI operates seven stores under the name The Markets in five communities in southwest Mississippi and east central Louisiana.
Mr. Loy, his four sons and nearly 400 team members built a community-minded company that continues to thrive. Three of his sons still operate SOI: Barry Loy, president; Del Loy, secretary/treasurer; and Jeff Loy, VP.
According to the company, Mr. Loy was proud to see the 50th anniversary of his company being celebrated this year.
Born in Hot Springs County, Arkansas, Mr. Loy held a number of jobs before he made his mark on the grocery industry. He was employed by a textile plant and a brick plant; he sold magazines; and worked as an X-ray technician. He also served in the Air National Guard of Arkansas. Mr. Loy started his grocery career with Kroger in the late 1950s in Georgia, later working for Safeway in Arkansas and Louisiana. In December 1969, Mr. Loy started Supermarket Operations Inc. in Natchez, Mississippi, and Vidalia, Louisiana, when he bought four stores from the Lewis family and grew the operation to as many as eight stores over the next 50 years.
A highly respected member of the community, Mr. Loy served the Miss-Lou for many years through Kiwanis, United Way, Gideons and his church. He cofounded two local congregations: Community Chapel Church of God and Crosspoint Church.
Mr. Loy was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Boyd, James, Wilson and Bill; and his wife of 52 years, Jane Moore Loy.
Survivors include his wife of 15 years, Edith Freeman Loy; sons, Del Loy and wife, Renae, and Barry Loy and wife, Sue, of Natchez; Tim Loy and wife, Janet, of Fletcher, North Carolina, and Jeff Loy, and wife, Keri, of Woodworth, Louisiana; daughter Rhoda Gatson and husband, Jack, of Evansville, Indiana; stepson Larry Dykes of Natchez; stepdaughters Kim Stephens and husband, Wade, and Kristy Atkins, all of Natchez; and 12 grandchildren.