WEST POINT, Miss. (WTVA) — At West Point City Hall on Wednesday, Mayor Scott Ross took time to remember a man whom he called a friend and a great lawmaker — state Senator Bennie Turner.
"He and I have been friends and political allies for a long, long time," said Ross. "And he's represented Clay County with distinction in the state Senate. And he's going to leave some really big shoes to fill. And, you know, our thoughts and prayers are with Edna and his family. And he just leaves a great legacy. Gonna really be missed."
Turner died Tuesday at a Jackson hospital after suffering from a brain tumor. He was 64 years old.
Turner was elected to the Mississippi Senate in 1992 to represent portions of Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee and Oktibbeha counties.
One West Point man who said he helped put Turner in office is retired businessman and political activist Johnnie Jackson.
"I remember when he ran for the Senate seat. And at that time, we were trying to find those who had the qualifications for running because it was my understanding that you had to be an attorney to run for the Senate seat," said Jackson. "I didn't know him on the basis that we were buddy-buddy or anything like that. I knew him as Bennie Turner, a very talented young man. Very talented."
Turner wasn't just a state lawmaker. He had served as district attorney and owned a radio station in the area.
State Senator Hob Bryan of Amory remembered him as a friend and colleague.
"Senator Turner was elected in 1992, and we were desk mates from the day he was elected. So he was my desk mate for 20 years," said Bryan. "There's no member of the Senate more respected than Bennie Turner was. I don't think you'll find anyone to have an unkind word to say about him, and that's unusual for a group of state senators."
He seemed to have the same reputation in his hometown of West Point.
"We have lost a great gentleman. That's all I can say, and God bless his family," said Edward Walker, a West Point resident.
Funeral services for Turner have not been finalized.