- Associated Press - Friday, March 28, 2014

TALLULAH, La. (AP) - The funeral director handling services for Tallulah Mayor Eddie Beckwith Jr. said Friday that the mayor’s body will lie at City Hall next week for a public viewing.

The News-Star reports (https://tnsne.ws/1g8zM32 ) Beckwith died Thursday of cancer. He was 64.

John Beckwith, of Beckwith Golden Gate Funeral Home, confirmed the mayor’s death, saying only that he had been ill. He said the public viewing would be Monday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. followed by a wake at Greater Mount Olive Baptist Church in Tallulah. Funeral services will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Madison-Tallulah Community Center.

Beckwith was serving his second term and had qualified for the April 5 elections. He first won election in 2006, beating incumbent Theodore Lindsey. He also served as chief director of operations with the family’s funeral home that bears his name.

Qualifying for the mayor’s race reopened Friday according to rules in the state’s election code, said Meg Casper with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office. It will close Tuesday.

Since a new candidate qualified Friday for the race, the election will now be held May 3, according to The News-Star (https://tnsne.ws/P9uQ84 ). Democrat Sandra Cannon Scott joins four other democratic candidates - Nathan Clark III, Buster McCoy, James E. Vaughn Jr. - and Donnell Rose, no party listed, who are looking to fill Beckwith’s seat.

Tallulah residents will still vote for chief of police and one City Council member in the April 5 election.

A special meeting of the Tallulah City Council will be held Saturday to determine who will be the acting mayor through the end of Beckwith’s term, which expires June 30. Councilman Tommy Watson is the mayor pro tempore. Watson has not returned telephone calls seeking comment.

Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, who lives in Tallulah and commutes to Baton Rouge, said he had known Beckwith for decades.

“I’ve known him since high school so it’s a personal loss of a good friend and a community loss for Tallulah,” Caldwell said. “He was a good leader for Tallulah, and I want to express my condolences for his family. We didn’t always agree politically, but we always agreed on our friendship.”

Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo said he knew Beckwith through the Louisiana Mayor’s Association as well as his support for the Monroe rodeo.

“Mayor Beckwith was a very good friend and colleague. Many of us are saddened to hear of his passing. My prayers go out to his family during this difficult time,” Mayo said.

Beckwith’s motto as mayor was, “Together we can.” State Sen. Francis Thompson, D-Delhi, said he often collaborated on projects with Beckwith.

“It’s a sad day for northeastern Louisiana,” Thompson said. “He had so much talent and worked so hard for Tallulah as mayor, but he also cared about the region and the state as a whole. He will be missed.”

Beckwith is survived by his wife, Mary Louise Beckwith, and their two children Michael Beckwith and Tiffany Beckwith.


Information from: The News-Star, https://www.thenewsstar.com

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