Miskelly Furniture Patriarch Passes at 96

Miskelly, right, with retired Air Force Major Gene Smith at a 2017 veterans memorial

Howard Miskelly led his family into retail

By Alan Wolf, YSN

Howard Miskelly, who lent his family name to one of the largest independent furniture dealers in the nation, died last week just shy of his 97th birthday.

Though Miskelly had no ownership position in BrandSource member Miskelly Furniture, the onetime department store founder encouraged, inspired and advised his sons Chip, Tommy and Oscar in building the Mississippi-based business, for which he served as an informal ambassador.

“He taught us well in retail,” CEO Oscar Miskelly told Furniture Today. “He said it’s a lot more fun to sell a recliner than a pair of socks. He believed in us and said we could do it. We launched out with small beginnings, but he encouraged us …  and gave us great guidance.”

A combat veteran who received two Bronze Stars for his service in World War II, the elder Miskelly went on to launch Howard’s Department Store, which he and his wife Ann operated for 40 years. He also served on the Veterans Administration Board, assisted the Mississippi School for The Deaf and Blind, and was president of the Mississippi Retail Association.

A deeply devout man, some of Miskelly’s best advice was about how to treat people, his son Oscar said. “He was a great example of that.”

See: What Goes Around, Spreads Around

Miskelly was laid to rest this past Tuesday with military honors.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the First Baptist Church of Okolona (201 West Main Street, Okolona, MS 38860) or the First Presbyterian Church of West Point (P.O. Box 366, West Point, MS 39773), where he spent his last years serving as an elder.