Biloxi mourns loss of two longtime community leaders

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Flags across the city of Biloxi will be at half staff this week to mark the passing of two longtime community leaders: Sherman Canaan and Mark Barhanovich.

Mayor A.J. Holloway on Monday ordered the flags lowered at all Biloxi municipal facilities until Thursday, after both men have been buried.

Canaan, who died Saturday after battling cancer, was former president of the Biloxi Port Commission, a seafood factory owner, and a onetime king of the Biloxi Shrimp Festival and Blessing of the Fleet. Just months ago, the city named one of its commercial docking facilities as the Sherman Canaan Back Bay Fishing Dock, at the north end of Lee Street.

Barhanovich died in a boating accident Sunday morning. He was vice president of Banccorp South Insurance Co., where his duties included overseeing the city's employee health insurance plan. However, he was more widely known for his philanthropic endeavors, which included work with city youth leagues, a host of civic groups and for its support of high school athletics.

"Both of these men made their marks on Biloxi," Holloway said. "Both of them dedicated their lives to helping making our community a better place to live. Sherman's battle with cancer meant that we were somewhat prepared for his passing, although you really never are. Mark was in the prime of his life. He became a grandfather for the second time only three weeks ago, and I know that he had so much more he wanted to do."

Holloway said both men loved their community, were involved, and made a difference.

"I ask everyone to join me and Macklyn in praying for them and their families," Holloway said.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.