Charleston native Brad Dye, longest-serving lieutenant governor, dies at 84

By SPECIAL TO THE SUN-SENTINEL,

Charleston native Bradford J. “Brad” Dye Jr., the longest-serving lieutenant governor in Mississippi history, died Sunday of respiratory failure at Hospice Ministries in Ridgeland.  He was 84.

Funeral services will be Thursday, July 5, at 2 p.m., at Christ United Methodist Church in Jackson.  Visitation is scheduled from 11:30-1:30 preceding the services.

Dye was the son of Maylise Dogan Dye and Bradford J. Dye. In Charleston, he was an Eagle Scout and graduated from Charleston High School.

Dye attended the University of Mississippi and obtained his Bachelor of Business Administration in January 1957. Later, he received his degree from the University of Mississippi Law School.

He practiced law in Grenada with his father, under the firm name of Dye & Dye.

In 1959, he was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives.  Sen. James O. Eastland appointed Dye as an attorney on the staff of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C., where he worked from 1961 through 1964.

In 1963, Dye was elected to the Mississippi State Senate. In 1965, he resigned from the Senate to accept an appointment by Gov. Paul B. Johnson to the Workmen’s Compensation Commission.

In 1968, Gov. John Bell Williams named Dye the executive director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Industrial Board, now Mississippi Development Authority.

In 1971, Dye resigned as director of the A&I Board to enter the race for state treasurer. He was elected and served in that position until 1976.

In January 1980, Dye was sworn in as the 35th lieutenant governor of Mississippi, was twice re-elected, and served until 1992 — the only person in state history to hold that position for 12 consecutive years.

The single piece of legislation which Dye found most gratifying was the 1987 comprehensive four-lane highway program, which is the basis of Mississippi’s modern transportation system and provided an essential component of economic and industrial development.  Dye’s role was critical in the 1982 passage of Gov. William F. Winter’s comprehensive education reform package.

In 2010, Gov. Haley Barbour presented Dye the Mississippi Medal of Service.

After his service as lieutenant governor, Dye was an attorney with Pyle, Mills, Dye and Pittman in Ridgeland until retiring in 2017.

Dye is survived by his wife of almost 55 years, the former Donna Bailey of Coffeeville; three sons, Hamp (Shannon) of Madison, Ford (Sonya) of Oxford and Rick (Emily) of Jackson; five grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.

Memorials may be made to the UM Foundation — Brad Dye Political Science Scholarship, in care of the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655.