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Service Wednesday for deceased alderman

By Davis Coen

Town of Sardis Alderman Thomas “Tommy” Neal Rayburn died Thursday, Jan. 9, at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford.  He was 76 years old.

He had served as an alderman for Ward 4 seven years, and was nearing the completion of his second term. The Como native also was a former deputy sheriff with the Quitman County Sheriff’s Department,  a Shriner ,and a Mason.

“He will be greatly missed, because he was a very active member of the board, and whenever we needed to be anywhere, Tommy was always one of the aldermen that definitely was going to be there,” said Sardis Mayor Lula Palmer.

Fellow board member Michael Price, alderman at large, said Rayburn had been in the process of working with others on various community projects.  He had a hand in The Walking Trail, Sidewalk Project, The Edwin Circle Project, and a CDBG Grant (Community Development Block Grant), which made up part of approximately $1 million worth of grants that had been set in motion by the members, according to Price.

“He was hands on with everything,” Price said.  “With the claims dockets and all of that, you couldn’t find anybody better.”

The Sardis Lake Project especially, which is only in its beginning stages, is possibly one that Rayburn was involved with that will have the most residual impact.  “It’s a grant that’s not only going to change Sardis, but it’s going to change this whole region,” said Price. “It’s projected to bring over 900 jobs.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently gave a substantial grant providing for a study which applies to the project’s liftoff.    

A memorial service will be held  Wednesday, Jan. 15, at noon at First Baptist Church of Sardis, and will be preceded by a visitation at 10 a.m.

The next meeting of the Mayor and board will be Tuesday, Jan. 21, at Sardis City Hall, at which time aldermen will discuss the details of setting a special election to fill Rayburn’s seat.