Mississippi House officials: Rep. Gardner dies at 68

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — Mississippi House officials say state Rep. Joe Gardner of Batesville died Monday. He was 68.

Gardner, a Democrat, had served in the 122-member House since 2007 and was chairman the House Ethics Committee.

He represented District 11, which included parts of Panola and Tate counties.

Gardner was a Vietnam veteran and was chaplain at Tri-Lakes Medical Center in Batesville.

House Speaker Philip Gunn says he was shocked and saddened by Gardner’s death. Republican Gunn says Gardner “was a fine man who was well-liked by everyone.”

Gardner is the second House member to die in the past month. Democratic Rep. David Gibbs of West Point died Jan. 13.

Two Democratic state senators, Bennie Turner of West Point and Alice Harden of Jackson, died in late 2012.