Thursday, November 11, 2010
remembered for loyalty, legacy
By SUE WATSON
Bill Minor was honored by friends and long-time associates Thursday at funeral services in Holly Springs. He was laid to rest in Potts Camp.
Minor, northern district highway commissioner and former state senator, died November 1 while attending a meeting of highway officials in Biloxi.
A lifetime of friends and family said a final farewell as Minor’s body lay in state at the Eddie Lee Smith Multi-Purpose Building in Holly Springs, his coffin draped with the American flag, befitting a beloved and esteemed public servant.
Minor was remembered by his peers across the political spectrum for his hard work, dedication, loyalty, vision, honesty and much more.
Sen. Bill Stone of Ashland said of Minor “home was important. He leaves big shoes to fill.”
His primary lifetime contribution to the state was his vision for economic growth by helping frame the 1987 four-lane highway bill - a $1.6 billion project that passed over former governor Bill Allain’s veto. The bill has helped Mississippi to become competitive in today’s markets, drawing industry and business to the state. The highway infrastructure he helped lay will be his legacy, living a hundred years beyond Minor’s lifetime, said Rep. Kelvin Buck.
Long-time friend Rep. Jack Gadd said Minor did not need politics to be successful.
“But he did need public service,” Gadd said.
He called the late commissioner “a no-nonsense, strong, honest, and hard-working ally.”
“But it was your worst nightmare, if he opposed you,” he said.
He quoted Minor as saying it did not matter who gets credit for a road project.
“He would say, people won’t be able to tell if it’s a Republican or Democratic road, once it is built,” said Gadd. “He was not looking for publicity. North Mississippi is going to miss him, but we will enjoy the fruits of his labor for years and years.”
Sen. Allen Nunnelee said when Minor spoke on the floor of the Legislature, everyone listened.
Minor voted his conscience even when it was going to cost him politically, he said.
He remembered Minor for helping create jobs and for helping get the Legislative car tag credit passed years ago.
Former state Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck remembered Minor for his “impeccable character” and for caring for his fellow man and for Mississippi.
“He was loyal, trustworthy and a true man of integrity,” Tuck said.
Tuck served with Minor in the Senate and while she was lieutenant governor.
His old deskmate in the Senate, former senator Travis Little, said Minor was a statesman.
“A politician worries about the next election. A statesman worries about the next generation,” said Little. “He fell in the category of a statesman.”
He added the Nissan plant in Madison as another of the commissioner’s legacies – the groundwork put together for the automobile manufacturer when Minor was in the senate.
“If we had more Bill Minors, I can assure you things would change for the better,” Little said.
Highway commissioner for District 2, Dick Hall, said Minor didn’t seem to struggle with any new task. He made it look easy.
“He didn’t seem to experience the learning curve,” Hall said. “He spoke with passion and with volume. You never doubted where he stood. He was the right guy at the right time.”
Butch Brown, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, summarized what many had already said.
Minor was a leader, loyal, a legend, a legacy, loud and lead-footed, he said, referring to the commissioner’s driving habits.
“Everywhere he went, he became a figure whom everybody would love and will miss,” Brown said.
Daniel Minor, the late commissioner’s nephew, talked about the way his uncle helped teach him the right way and the ropes of political life. His nephew recalled how Bill Minor put him to work making stump speeches at age 20. He referred to his uncle as “a true mentor, a great uncle, but a dear friend.”
Rev. Joe Epting of Cornersville Baptist Church; Bro. Chuck Fowler, formerly of Potts Camp Baptist Church; and Rev. Joe Selman of Latter Rain Church; spoke of Minor’s contributions to the faith community as deacon and as friend.
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