Hundreds pay tribute to Rep. Jessica Upshaw

DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - A memorial service was held Saturday afternoon for State Representative Jessica Upshaw. Hundreds of family and friends gathered at the Diamondhead Community Church to pay their respects.

In a gesture that seemed most fitting, a golf cart adorned with an American flag sat outside the place where several hundred people gathered to remember a life lost. Rep. Upshaw was instrumental in getting golf cart legislation approved for Diamondhead.

Hank Holcomb is one of the mourners who appreciated Upshaw's work on the golf cart initiative.

"We're a golf cart community. One of the things that we were concerned about was, once we accepted some of the private roads over as public, then being able to put the golf carts on the road," he said.

Holcomb noted many of Diamondhead's leaders didn't expect a challenge while pushing the golf cart legislation. But, as they soon found out, that wasn't the case. Riding carts on Diamondhead roads may seem mundane to many outside the city, but it's something that's very important to those in the city. Leaders say Rep. Upshaw saw that importance, and fought to the finish on their behalf.

"You'd give us a little smile and say, 'I told you. We're going to have to work through this. It's not always easy, but we're going to get there,'" Holcomb remembered. "That's what she did and there are many other things. Trying to get Diamondhead included in the many commissions and committees so that we can have a seat at the table. She was really good at that."

While the grieving process is still fresh for those who loved her, the service appeared to begin the healing. It was also a reminder of the legacy Jessica Upshaw left behind.

"The folks and their outpouring of all the messages about all the neat things that she was to all of us, they were wonderful, just wonderful," said Holcomb. "They talked about what an outstanding person Jessica Upshaw was."

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