Longtime board of supervisors attorney Jack Brown passed away Saturday after a bout with cancer.
Brown, 72, had served as the attorney for the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors since 2000.
He was a Starkville native and graduate of Starkville High School, received a degree in political science from Mississippi State University and a law degree from the Jackson School of Law (now Mississippi College School of Law).
In addition to his service to the board of supervisors, Brown also practiced law privately for 46 years in Starkville.
A celebration of life service will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday, with visitation preceding at 1:30 p.m. at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection. A private burial at Oddfellows Cemetery on University Drive in Starkville will follow.
Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors President Orlando Trainer said he was “deeply saddened” by Brown’s passing.
Trainer said Brown provided sound advice for the county throughout the years.
“He was always an even-handed person and did the best he could to give advice that would put the county in a better position,” Trainer said. “He helped us make a lot of good decisions and kept us from making some bad decisions. He’s played a very critical role in the success of Oktibbeha County, and we are sad to hear of his passing.”
District 1 Supervisor John Montgomery said Brown was a “great guy” who was always honest in his opinions with supervisors, whether they liked them or not.
“You may not have liked what he told you, but he always gave good honest advice and sound advice,” Montgomery said. “Certainly, he’ll be missed.”
Brown fell ill a few years ago but continued to serve with the board. Montgomery said that spoke to Brown’s dedication. He said Brown was so dedicated to his work that his absence from the board’s Feb. 19 meeting was unusual.
“He was just a tough guy,” Montgomery said. “He would be there for 99 percent of the meetings. Even as ill has he had been. … I can tell you he’s missed less meetings than I can count on one hand since I’ve been on the board.”
District 5 Supervisor Joe Williams also said Brown’s knowledge will be missed.
“He was soft spoken, but had answers for every question that he asked him,” Williams said. “He had answers we could depend on. We will miss all that knowledge he acquired over the many years he worked with us.”
With the board attorney post now vacant, supervisors will have to move forward to select a new one.
Trainer said it’s difficult for the board to make decisions without legal guidance, and will have to move as quickly as possible to fill the vacancy left behind by Brown’s passing.
Montgomery, noting that supervisors recently delayed selecting a new waste service provider because Brown was absent, said the board needed a replacement sooner than later.
“It’s a little preliminary to say we’ve even begun to search, but it’s something we’ve got to do,” he said.
Alex Holloway was formerly a reporter with The Dispatch.
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