Former State Representative, Walls Mayor and Ex-Police Chief Gene Alday has died at the age of 59.
Alday died Sunday, Oct. 9 at DeSoto South Hospice in Southaven after an extended illness.
Alday, a Tunica County native, literally came out of nowhere to win the District 25 House of Representatives race after serving as Walls police chief, alderman and mayor.
Alday served portions of Coahoma, Tunica and western DeSoto counties as Mississippi State Representative.
Alday had been a resident of the Walls area for the past 58 years.
The Tunica County native lived in Robinsonville for a brief time.
His father owned a welding shop and garage and his grandfather ran the "local picture show." His grandmother was the town's postal clerk.
"We were also in the cotton picking business," Alday once said during an interview about his early life. "Daddy picked cotton for people."
Gene Alday attended DeSoto County Schools until the seventh-grade, then attended secondary schools in the Mid-South area. He later attended Northwest Mississippi Community College and was briefly enrolled at Mississippi State University.
Alday had a degree in electronic engineering from the Elkins Institute in Dallas, Texas.
For many years, Alday owned and operated Alday's Garage in the heart of the tiny North Delta farming community.
Mayor Chip Johnson recalled Alday as a friendly individual and a dedicated public servant.
"The thing I remember most about Gene was his time as mayor," Johnson said. "He was a hands-on mayor. There were many times I would call him and he would be out on the tractor mowing the grass around city hall. He was well-liked in town. He did a good job."
Former State Rep. Wanda Jennings, R-Southaven, served with the Alday in the Mississippi House.
"Gene was a unique individual," Jennings said. "We worked together in the House. I came to enjoy the person that he was." Jennings recently visited Alday in the hospital.
Former State Rep. Pat Nelson also remembered his colleague.
"I'll miss his great sense of humor and his stories," Nelson said.
Graveside services are Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Oakwood Cemetery in Tunica.
Alday was preceded in death by his parents, William Eugene Alday, Sr., and Beatrice Mallette.
He is survived by an aunt, Dorothy Perryman of Lula.
Robert Lee Long is Community Editor. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.