Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Ex-Mississippi Lt. Gov. Evelyn Gandy dies
JACKSON, Miss. — Evelyn Gandy, the first woman in Mississippi ever elected to the offices of state representative, state treasurer, insurance commissioner and lieutenant governor, died yesterday at her home near Hattiesburg. She was 87.
In a time when few Mississippi women earned law degrees or entered politics, Gandy did both successfully.
Former colleagues said she was determined to be fair to those she served, and she displayed a quiet demeanor that belied her political strength.
“She was absolutely a public servant in the classic sense of the words,” said Jackson attorney John Corlew, who served in the Senate from 1976-80 when Gandy, a Democrat, was lieutenant governor. “She had no interest in doing anything but the utmost for the public good.”
Gandy had suffered from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, a disease similar to Parkinson’s disease, said Carroll Ingram, a law partner of Gandy’s.
Wayne Dowdy, chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party, said Gandy “left behind a legacy of major achievements.”
In 1943, Gandy was the only woman in her graduating class at the University of Mississippi School of Law. She was elected to the Mississippi House in 1947.
In 1960, she became the first woman elected state treasurer; 12 years later she became the first female state insurance commissioner. In 1976, she became the state’s first female lieutenant governor.
She fell short in two bids for the governorship, in 1979 and 1983.
Gandy is survived by several cousins. Funeral arrangements were incomplete yesterday.