- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

LAUREL, Miss. (AP) - Former Mississippi state Sen. Vince Scoper of Laurel has died of esophageal cancer. He was 81.

He died Sunday, and a funeral was held Wednesday at First Baptist Church in Laurel.

Scoper served the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1972 to 1980, and was among the first Republicans elected to that chamber since Reconstruction. He served in the Mississippi Senate from 1980 to 1984 and 1988 to 2004.

Scoper worked in the oil business and was longtime chairman of the Senate Oil, Gas and Other Minerals Committee.

The Pass Christian native was a top tennis player at Mississippi State University before graduating in 1955.

Survivors include his wife, Dell Dickins Scoper; son, Dr. Stephen V. Scoper of Virginia Beach, Virginia; daughter, Cynthia D. Scoper Folmar of Dallas; and six grandchildren.

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