NORTHEAST Miss. (WCBI)- People across Mississippi are mourning the loss of a pioneering State lawmaker and lawyer.
State Senator Bennie Turner passed away last night at University Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
Legislators describe State Senator Bennie Turner as perhaps one of the most highly esteemed statesmen of our time. He was a family man, scholar and a pure professional in every capacity. A man that made his mark on the Golden Triangle and Mississippi. A man who will be greatly missed.
Turner spent his 64 years on this earth as a public servant to his community and his State. He was born in West Point on August 21, 1948. He graduated from Mary Holmes College in West Point and Mississippi State University. He earned his law degree from Ole Miss.
In 1992, Turner was elected to the State Senate. State Senator Hob Bryan and worked alongside him for 20 years.
“I don’t think you can find anyone in the State Senate to say anything unkind about him. You know, that’s saying a lot,”says Senator Bryan.
State Representative Tyrone Ellis worked across the aisle from Turner in the legislature and says he was a man that everyone respected.
“All governors, all economic development officials and dept. Of education officials as well as judiciary depended on his knowledge because of his integrity and of course because of his depth of intelligence. They would always depend on him when it came to fine tuning the legislation. Whether it be ethics, which he was chair, whether it be judiciary which he chaired over the years…He would always put the finishing touches on it and ironically enough, he would always be behind the scene. He never looked for the forefront. He never looked for “hey, this is me, I’m trying to show ya’ll who’s in charge.’ That was not him.”
When voting in office, he always put the interests of the people he represented, first.
“He and I could go dinner or breakfast and just meet in the hallway and talk about the needs of West Point, Clay, Oktibbeha County. If something came up about Okt. County, he would say, ‘well, what do you think about this. Is it going to help you or hurt you. What do you think about Redistrict? Is it going to impact you. He always put himself out there to say, ‘if it adversely impacts you, then I’m against it.’
Flags in West Point are flying in half staff as his hometown remembers their hero.
Turner leaves behind his wife, Edna Walker and his three daughters. No word yet on what day his funeral will take place.