Addressing the Stennis Capitol Press Forum luncheon Monday, Speaker of the Mississippi House Philip Gunn spoke of the sorrow and loss he and the rest of Mississippi feel with the sudden death last Friday of Tim Ford, who served a decade-and-a-half as Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives.
Ford, an Oxford resident and partner in the Balch & Bingham law firm, died of a heart attack at 63. Ford was elected as a Democrat to the Mississippi House in 1979 and elected Speaker by his colleagues in 1988. He remained in the leadership post until he left the Legislature after the 2004 session.
Though Ford left the House a year after Gunn’s election to the Legislature, Gunn recalls Ford strived to make him feel welcome as a newcomer. “He always encouraged me,” said Gunn, a 50-year-old attorney and Republican from Clinton.
Gunn said he came to rely on Ford’s guidance during his past three years as Speaker.
“We’re going to miss him,” Gunn said. “He was always a resource for me in my present position.”
Added Gunn, “Everyone who speaks of Tim Ford always has a kind word.”