Former Speaker and last Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, Billy McCoy, passed away on Tuesday in Tupelo.

The 77 year old former lawmaker had been hospitalized for some time before his death.

McCoy considered himself an “everyone’s man” and was elected unanimously as Speaker in 2004. He was said to have maintained a different approach to politics and opting out of much of the social life that legislature brings private interest. He is well known for his policy work on things like the four-lane highway system.

Many Remember McCoy: 

Gov. Phil Bryant:

Speaker Philip Gunn:

Senator Roger Wicker:

“Billy McCoy has been my friend for 33 years. I always admired him and enjoyed his company. He believed in four-lane highways and public education. And he has a record of accomplishment on these and other important issues. Mississippi has lost a distinguished native son.”

State GOP Chairman Joe Nosef:

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann:

MS House Democratic Caucus:

“Today, we join our fellow Mississippians in honoring and celebrating the life of former Speaker Billy McCoy. We are thankful for his legislative legacy that includes equitable funding for our public schools and a four-lane highway system that links our cities, towns, and communities across the state. Speaker McCoy exemplified the idea that the best public servants retain and reflect the roots that molded them — no matter how exalted their titles.Speaker McCoy always put the best interests of the people of Mississippi first. We thank you, Mr. Speaker. May you rest in eternal peace.”

Ray Mabus:

Rep. Nick Bain:

Sen. David Blount:

Commissioner Brandon Presley:

City of Tupelo:

Commissioner Andy Gipson:

Rep. Joey Grist:

Rep. Toby Barker:

Rep. Steve Holland:

Bubba Pounds:


According to the Associated Press, McCoy died at Northeast Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, where he had been hospitalized for about two weeks. He is survived by his wife, Edith and their children, Sam and Kim.

Funeral services are 2 p.m. Friday at Gaston Baptist Church near Booneville. The funeral is being handled by Holland Funeral Directors in Tupelo.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.