By Emily Wagster Pettus/The Associated Press
JACKSON — Bill Minor, Mississippi’s northern district transportation commissioner and former state senator from Holly Springs, died Monday while he was on the Gulf Coast for a national conference. He was 68.
Mississippi Department of Transportation spokeswoman Carrie Adams said Minor was pronounced dead at 9:15 a.m. at Biloxi Regional Medical Center.
Adams said Minor’s body was being transported to Holly Springs, and funeral arrangements were pending.
Minor had been attending an annual meeting of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials at the Beau Rivage Resort in Biloxi.
Minor was first elected as one of three transportation commissioners in November 2003, and his district encompassed the northern one-third of the state.
Before being elected to the commission, Minor served 20 years in the Mississippi Senate, representing Marshall, Benton and DeSoto counties.
While he was in the Senate, Minor served as vice chairman and then chairman of the Highway Committee and helped pass the 1987 Four-Lane Highway Program that’s credited with improving roads throughout the state. Minor later served as chairman of the powerful Finance Committee, which handles bills for taxes and bonds, and on the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, which outlines state spending priorities.
Though Minor was a Democrat, he often voted across party lines when he was in the Senate.
House Transportation Committee Chairman Warner McBride, D-Courtland, said Monday he was stunned to learn of Minor’s death. McBride said Minor was a man of integrity who kept his word when he made promises.
“He really knew how government works and was always interested in getting results,” McBride said. “He was interested in making things happen that would help Mississippians.”
Minor was born and reared in Benton County, graduated from Hickory Flat High School and attended Northwest Mississippi Community College. He and his brothers formed a plumbing company that grew into a chain of hardware stores in northern Mississippi, according to his MDOT biography.