By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal Corinth Bureau
BOONEVILLE – The memory of F. Wade Lambert burns brightly in Booneville, where he served as mayor from 1993 to 2001, having also served as alderman from 1973-1985.
The late mayor, who died in 2003, was memorialized Wednesday with the dedication of the Highway 30 bypass from Highway 45 South to Highway 30 East as the F. Wade Lambert Memorial Highway.
Officials and family members – particularly his 92-year-old mother Gladys Nash Lambert, who is in ill health – were present to honor his memory and contributions to the community he loved.
“He was a distinguished leader and today we see many of the results of those efforts,” said state Rep. Tracy Arnold, R-Booneville, who introduced the legislation that renamed the highway.
Among the other officials who praised Lambert’s tireless efforts to bring the project to completion were Northern District Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert, Sen. J.P. Wilemon, D-Belmont, and Amy Hornbeck, secretary to the Transportation Commission. The highway formally opened in September 2011.
The years of Lambert’s leadership saw the construction of the Caterpillar plant, expansions of existing industries, construction of the city-county jail, creation of the Booneville Area Chamber of Commerce and implementation of Booneville Main Street.
“I don’t think I can do much, but we can do a lot,” is a saying Hornbeck quoted Lambert as using often.
Mayor Joe Eaton, who was an alderman under Lambert’s leadership when the highway bypass was proposed in July 1994, said Lambert called the highway a “beltway around Booneville” that would lead to great economic progress for the community, something Lambert always worked for.
Lambert’s daughters, Sheila Gann of Booneville and Sherry Lambert of Atlanta, each shared insights about their father from a more personal side.
“The same qualities that made him a wonderful father are the qualities that made you honor him today,” Gann said.
Sherry Lambert reassured Booneville residents that her father never found any request from them a bother.
“You helped fulfill his life’s journey,” she said.