A who’s who of Miss. politics, business and advocacy celebrate lives of Gov. Winter and First Lady Elise Winter

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 9:44 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Governor William Winter and First Lady Elise Winter loved Mississippi, and Mississippi loved them back - as evidenced by the who’s who of Mississippi that stretched well past party lines in attendance at Tuesday’s Celebration of Life.

Their daughter Eleanor made this note.

“They were both so kind and so welcoming to everybody,” she said. “And I think this is a particularly good time and, right now with our country, to remind people of that, that we all have so much more in common than divides us and I think they are smiling from heaven at the crowd that came today.”

“It was a beautiful scene,” added former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. “You’d expect that from William Winter. But Haley Barbour, we all learned a lot of lessons from each other. I learned the lessons of William Winter and Haley learned lessons from me. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. And that’s kind of what we’re missing now.”

President Bill Clinton making the trip to pay his respects to a man he called friend.

“All I know is for the minute I met Bill Winter, I never had a scintilla of doubt that whatever happened in our friendship, whatever happened in his life, I was with one of the most authentic people I would ever know,” said Clinton.

The location of the ceremony, the Two Mississippi Museums, wasn’t by chance. It’s a place he was instrumental in having built.

“Governor Winter and Justice Anderson told me that we could build both the buildings, the history museum, Civil Rights Museum, and there would be room for all kinds of amenities,” said former Governor Haley Barbour. “And as you can see, they were exactly right.”

He’s known for taking up the torch for public education and racial reconciliation issues.

“That flag would never have come down had Governor Winter not started in the early 80s to bring to everybody’s attention that the damage that that flag was doing to our state,” noted former state Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson.

The couple died within six months of one another and are remembered as a team committed to public service.

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