Allain to lie in repose at Capital Friday; funeral Saturday in Natchez

Bill AllainJACKSON — A memorial service for former Mississippi Gov. Bill Allain will be held Friday at the state Capitol in Jackson, and the funeral will be Saturday in Natchez.

Allain, a Democrat, was governor from January 1984 to January 1988, after serving one term as attorney general. He was known for strengthening the executive branch of state government and for appointing significant numbers of women and minorities to top jobs.

Allain died Monday in Jackson after being hospitalized with pneumonia. He was 85.

Sebrell Funeral Home in Ridgeland said yesterday that Allain’s body will lie in repose in the Capitol rotunda from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, and the memorial service will begin at the Capitol at 3 p.m.

The funeral is set for noon Saturday at St. Mary Basilica in Natchez, where Allain grew up. Burial will be in Natchez City Cemetery.

As attorney general, Allain successfully sued to remove legislators from the boards and commissions that oversee state agencies. During his first year as governor, he pushed to put the structural changes into state law.

Allain also pushed to amend the state’s 1890 constitution to lift its ban on any governor serving back-to-back terms.

Voters approved the amendment in 1986, but Allain chose not to seek a second term the following year.

“Gov. Allain was a man of great vision and conviction,” former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, a Democrat who served from 2000 to 2004, said yesterday. “His separation-of-powers lawsuit made the executive branch a meaningful part of state government. Mississippi will forever owe a debt of gratitude for this action.”

After leaving office, Allain remained in the Jackson area, returned to private law practice and rarely sought public attention. He continued to serve Thanksgiving and Christmas meals at Jackson shelters, and friends say he enjoyed lively discussions about the law.

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