Former Biloxi Mayor AJ Holloway dies at 79

Former Biloxi Mayor AJ Holloway died this morning at the age of 79.

Holloway was elected mayor five times, serving from 1993 until 2015 when he stepped down from the office due to complications with his health.

Growing up in Biloxi during the 1950s, AJ Holloway began his legacy on the Coast. As a high school football star, he was known to many across South Mississippi and then later on a national scale after playing in two Sugar Bowls and the Cotton Bowl, winning a national championship in 1960 for Ole Miss.

In 1989, he began his service toward the City of Biloxi as a city councilman and in 1993 he started his unprecedented 22 year term as mayor where he molded Biloxi into what it is today. Vincent Creel with the City of Biloxi Public Affairs said, “There is not an area of this city that was not touched by some type of improvement during his 22 years in office. If you look at Point Cadet where the first casino came aboard.”

And the list goes on and on. He helped the Coast grow during the initial stages after gaming was legalized in the 1990s. He tripled the size of Biloxi police and fire departments and oversaw the construction of an 80 acre sports complex that now bears his name. Biloxi Mayor Andrew ‘FoFo’ Gilich said, “He was part of the fabric of Biloxi in good times and bad times.”

2005 would bring Mayor Holloway’s biggest test yet: rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. “He always said do it bigger and do it better.”

And that’s exactly what he did following the hurricane. “Today we have the Biloxi Visitors Center. We have the civic center. We have the new Biloxi Public Library,” said Creel.

Those who worked closely with the former mayor say his legacy will live on for years to come. “He was a force. He was something. It’ll probably be hard to replicate what his life meant to the Coast,” said Mayor Gilich.

Services for Mayor Holloway will be held Friday. Visitation will be from 9:30 a.m. to noon at Nativity BVM Cathedral in downtown Biloxi, followed by mass of Christian burial at noon.

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