Mississippi city’s first Black mayor Melvin Mack dies at 72

Funeral services are set this week for the Mississippi city of Laurel’s first Black mayor, who served two terms.

Melvin Mack died Friday. A cause of death was not released. He was 72.

Mack was mayor of Laurel from 2005 until his retirement in 2013, WDAM-TV reported. Before becoming mayor, Mack served on both the Laurel City Council and the Jones County Board of Supervisors. In 2018, the fire station on Parker Drive in Laurel was named in his honor.

Mayor Johnny Magee, the current mayor of Laurel, succeeded Mack in office.

“He would always call and check on me and offer advice and tell me to hang in there,” Magee said. “He knew, as I said, what the job entailed. He knew the headache that came with the job and the pressures of the job. I just appreciate his support.”

Ward 4 Councilman George Carmichael said Mack’s passing marked a sad day for the city.

“He was a great leader and inspired so many people. So many young people too. He never met a stranger. He’s truly going to be missed,” Carmichael said.

A public viewing is set for Friday in the rotunda of City Hall from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Funeral services are set for Saturday in the auditorium of Oak Park Elementary in Laurel at 2 p.m.

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