TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA/AP) — Former Mississippi House Speaker Billy McCoy has died, according to state Rep. Steve Holland.
McCoy, 77, served as leader of the House for two terms, first elected unanimously in 2004, then defeating Rep. Jeff Smith of Columbus in 2008.
The Democrat from Rienzi announced in 2011 that he would not seek another four years in office, ending a legislative career that began in the House in 1980.
He represented Alcorn and Prentiss counties, holding the same House seat once held by his father, Elmer McCoy.
According to Holland, McCoy had been in failing health, suffering complications from a stroke he had years ago.
Visitation for McCoy will be Thursday, November 14 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and again on Friday, November 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Services will be Friday, November 15 at 2 p.m. with burial to follow.
Visitations, services and burial will be at Gaston Baptist Church in Booneville where McCoy was a long-time member.
Holland Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Holland released this statement about his friend and colleague:
"Speaker Billy McCoy has crossed the chilling waters of the Jordan at 5:15 tonight at the North Mississippi Medical Center after a two week stay. Speaker McCoy served the people of Prentiss and Alcorn county for 32 years. He served with passion, with intelligence and with reason. His last two terms were as speaker of the house for the Mississippi House of Representative where his progressive style led to all kinds of improvements in public health, in public education and in infrastructure in the State of Mississippi. His legacy will be strong and powerful for many years to come. We express sympathy to Mrs. Edith, his wife, Sam and Kim, the two children, and all his grandchildren and great grandchildren."