Body of Gandy to lie in Capitol rotunda

Published 10:56 pm Tuesday, December 25, 2007

JACKSON (AP) — The body of former Lt. Gov. Evelyn Gandy will lie in repose in the state Capitol rotunda in Jackson on Thursday with funeral services Friday in Hattiesburg.

Gandy died Sunday night at her home outside of Hattiesburg. She was 87.

Gandy had suffered from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, a disease similar to Parkinson’s disease.

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Her body will be placed in the Capitol rotunda beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday and a memorial service is scheduled there that day at noon, said James Winstead of Hewlett Winstead Funeral Home in Hattiesburg. He said the funeral is set for 11 a.m. Friday in Main Street United Methodist Church in Hattiesburg with burial in Roseland Park Cemetery, also in Hattiesburg.

During her public service career that spanned four decades, Gandy, a Democrat, was the first woman in Mississippi ever elected to the offices of state representative, state treasurer, insurance commissioner and lieutenant governor.

Gandy, who never married, is survived by several cousins. Her sister and constant companion, Frances Gandy, died in July.

She won statewide races for lieutenant governor, treasurer and insurance commissioner. Only one other woman, Amy Tuck, has served since then as lieutenant governor. No other woman has been treasurer or insurance commissioner.

Gandy fell short in two bids for the governorship, in 1979 and 1983, both times losing in a primary runoff for the Democratic nomination. She returned to her law practice in Hattiesburg in 1983.

Back in law school in the 1940s, Claire Sekul Hornsby believed her roommate was destined for greatness. And she was.

Gandy and Hornsby remained close friends through the years.

‘‘She was an exceptional, brilliant person who came from such good stock,’’ Hornsby, a Biloxi attorney, told The Sun Herald newspaper.

Gandy was two years ahead of Hornsby in law classes at the University of Mississippi. They shared a room in Gandy’s last year of law school.

‘‘We’ve stayed in touch through the years, talking by phone every other weekend,’’ Hornsby said. ‘‘If she was nominated for something, I was there. If I was nominated for something, she was there. When she was politicking, I went with her.’’

State Sen. Gloria Williamson, D-Philadelphia, said Gandy had a great influence on getting more women into politics.

‘‘She was always one we could rely on to come and encourage women,’’ Williamson told The Clarion-Ledger newspaper. ‘‘Miss Gandy was always a lady, always a graceful speaker.’’

Former Assistant Secretary of State Constance Slaughter-Harvey of Forest described Gandy as ‘‘a role model, and not just for white women and maybe not just for women.’’

‘‘She knew how, with integrity, to deal with the good old boys and maintain her integrity and still beat ’em. That’s how she actually survived,’’ Slaughter-Harvey said.


Some information from: The Sun Herald, and The Clarion-Ledger,