By Bobby Harrison | NEMS Daily Journal Jackson Bureau
Friends and colleagues described former Sen. Walter A “Pud” Graham of New Albany as a likable man who always was telling a joke.
Funeral services for Graham are at 2 p.m. today at Ingomar Baptist Church. He died Saturday at his home at age 75.
Graham was one of the most successful legislators from Northeast Mississippi in recent years, serving as Senate president pro tem from 1992 until 1996. He did not seek re-election to the Senate District 3 post in 1995, opting instead to run for commissioner of agriculture and commerce.
Graham was vying to replace long-time Commissioner Jim Buck Ross but lost the Republican primary and did not pursue another political office.
“He was always laughing and always telling a joke,” said former state Rep. Ted Foster, R-Pontotoc, who served eight years with Graham. “I always enjoyed being around Pud.”
Foster said he and Graham, who both represented a portion of Pontotoc County, always worked well together in the Legislature.
Sen. Nickey Browning, D-Pontotoc, won the seat Graham left open. Browning said he knew he had big shoes to fill in replacing Graham.
“Pud was well liked,” Browning said Monday. “He was a good guy. I have talked to several people today who served with Pud in the Legislature. They all liked Pud.
“He had a good personality and got along with people.”
Browning said Pud got his nickname while in school. During his run for ag commissioner in 1995, the name was displayed prominently on campaign signs throughout the state.
Graham was first elected to the Senate as a Democrat, but later changed to the Republican Party.
Graham died at his home after being in the hospital the previous week, undergoing a medical procedure.