Former longtime Hernando mayor has died after a lengthy illness. Ed Gale was 86.
Visitation was Monday at the Gale Center in Hernando, named and dedicated in his honor. Funeral services are at 11 a.m. today at Hernando United Methodist Church. Internment will follow at Hernando Memorial Park Cemetery.
Gale was a lifelong resident of Hernando and served the citizens of Hernando as mayor for three consecutive terms. He served as Mayor of Hernando from 1993-2005.
"He loved Hernando," said Jere Lemmons Gale, his wife of 61 years.
Former Mayor Chip Johnson, who succeeded Gale in office, fondly recalled his predecessor.
"He served on the executive committee of the Mississippi Municipal League and I had the fortune to serve a term as alderman under his leadership," Johnson said. "Ed was known for his quick wit and love of Mississippi State. I knew him as the Mayor who served Hernando at a crucial point in our history and set our town on a path forward. He was always honest with me and I considered him a friend. Let us not forget his service to Hernando. He will be missed."
Former longtime Hernando Director of Planning Bob Barber also had kind words for Gale.
"I knew Ed Gale as a mentor, friend and a boss for over 20 years and he was among the best at all three," Barber said. "He was an authentic visionary for Hernando, and his influence has, and will, impact generations. Mayor Gale hired me in 1996 as a young planner when Hernando had only 3,200 souls. For such a small town in the rural south to dedicate the resources to a full-time planner was, and too often still is, unheard of," added Barber. "Mayor Gale provided the freedom to operate, an openness to new approaches and critical support when needed. In so doing, he set the stage for the transformation of Hernando to a regional and national leader in place making and quality of life. He allowed me, and by extension my family, to grow and prosper in ways I could scarcely have imagined. I am thankful and blessed to have known this servant, to have worked with him, and we are so very grateful for his life."
DeSoto County Economic Development Council CEO and President Jim Flanagan said Gale was instrumental in the phenomenal growth of Hernando and DeSoto County.
"Mayor Gale was a delight to work with," said Flanagan. "His infectious personality and love for his community shone through in all of his civic affairs. He will be sorely missed in Hernando and DeSoto County, and we feel that leadership such as his is the reason why Hernando and DeSoto County experienced such growth and now have a great quality of life."
Gale was a member of the 1951 graduating class at Hernando High School. He served his country as a member of the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army, and retired from the U.S. Postal Service after 32 years of service.
In addition to his wife Jere, Gale is survived by a daughter Cecile Hannaford of Senatobia; sons John Robert Gale and Bronson Dale, both of Hernando; a brother, R.W. "Bobby" Gale of Columbus; a sister, Margaret Hood of Senatobia; and a sister-in-law Martha Lemmons of Meridian; and five grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in his honor to Hernando United Methodist Church, the Salvation Army or St. Jude Children's Hospital.
Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at email@example.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.