Aven died unexpectedly from West Nile virus Sept. 18, 2011, in Greenwood, Miss.
After receiving his bachelor’s degree in economics, Aven returned to manage his family’s farms, and until four days before his death was working to bring in his 72nd crop. He served as president of the National Cotton Council and Delta Area Council of the Boy Scouts, board chairman of Farm Credit Banks of New Orleans and Staplcotn Cooperative Association, director of Mississippi Chemical Corp., trustee of Mississippi College, and deacon of First Baptist Church.
With his sister, Mary W. Davenport (Vassar ’33), and brother Bill ’36 (Yale Law ’39), Aven gave the Whittington home to the Garden Clubs of Mississippi for its state headquarters.
Aven instigated our 1977 class trip to the Deep South by exclaiming, “We’ve been to Russia, South America, Ireland, and Great Britain. How about coming to Mississippi?” At our 50th reunion, he was named Alumnus of the Year, and according to family lore, was the University’s unofficial pingpong champion and occasional impersonator of Jimmy Stewart ’32.
Aven is survived by four children; nine grandchildren, including Anna A. Sumner ’98 and Wilson W. Sumner ’01; and many great-grandchildren. With them and his hometown, the class mourns his passing.