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Stars that died 2010

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Bill Waller, American politician, Governor of Mississippi (1972–1976), died from heart failure he was 85.


William Lowe "Bill" Waller, Sr.  was an American politician. A Democrat, Waller served as the Governor of Mississippi from 1972 to 1976 died from heart failure he was 85.. During his military service he attained the rank of sergeant and was offered a commission in the Counter Intelligence Corps, but he declined being discharged on November 30, 1953. He returned to Jackson, Mississippi, to active Army Reserve duty under Colonel Purser Hewitt, and resumed his legal career.[1]

(October 21, 1926 – November 30, 2011)

 As a local prosecutor, he unsuccessfully prosecuted Byron De La Beckwith in the murder of civil rights advocate Medgar Evers (the first two murder trials of De La Beckwith both in 1964 ended in hung juries and subsequently because De La Beckwith was never acquitted in these trials, he was later eligible to be prosecuted again). In 1994, De La Beckwith was found guilty of the murder.
In 1971, Waller defeated Lieutenant Governor Charles L. Sullivan in the Democratic primary run-off. His main opponent in the general election was Evers' brother, James Charles Evers, then the mayor of Fayette, who ran as an independent. Waller handily prevailed, 601,222 (77 percent) to Evers' 172,762 (22.1 percent).
Waller is credited with winning elections without using racially charged or racially offensive rhetoric. He organized working class white voters and African American voters separately and usually did not merge their election efforts until it was too late in the election cycle for internal conflicts to disrupt the campaign. Litigation in the Southern Mississippi federal court and in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals at New Orleans stripped the Regular Democrats of Mississippi of their official status and their 25 seats in the 1972 Democratic National Convention.[2] Prior to a national party policy conference in December of 1974, the Loyalist and Regular Democratic Party factions united when the subject and Aaron Henry were elected as co-chairmen of the Mississippi delegation to the Kansas City conference.[3] Waller effectively shut-down the segregationist Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission by vetoing its appropriation while he was governor. He appointed many blacks to positions in state government.
After leaving office, Waller lost the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate in 1978 and for governor again in 1987. He practiced law in Jackson for several years.
His son is the Hon. William L. Waller, Jr., Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court.[4]
On November 30, 2011, Waller died at St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson of heart failure after being admitted the previous night. He was 85.[5][6]

To see more of who died in 2011 click here

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