BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Former Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway received a celebratory sendoff Sunday after serving 22 years in that role. Holloway, who turned 76 on Friday, resigned in March, citing an accumulation of health issues. But, he says he's feeling good and the honor of serving Biloxi was his.
Friends, family and coworkers came by the hundreds to honor Holloway. Six terms in the city's top position has earned him plenty of recognition, and, in his case, plenty of respect, regardless of political persuasion.
"A.J. and I worked together for 13 and a half years," said Councilman George Lawrence. "We had our good times, and we voted a lot together, more than a lot of people think. But we did. That's part of it. But now, he needs to enjoy himself. Don't waste a minute. Enjoy life with Macklyn, and have a good time."
The casual reception at the Biloxi Civic Center for Holloway and his wife, Macklyn, was organized by a group of volunteers and businesses. It featured free food and refreshments, and was billed as "A Celebration of a Lifetime of Public Service."
Holloway earned top marks from past and current leaders.
"A.J. deserves all the credit in the world. He and his lovely wife have been around Biloxi for a long, long time," said former Mayor Danny Guice, Sr. "Been good friends of mine for a long, long time. I was mayor of Biloxi when he was a big football player. Went to Ole Miss. That's how long I've known him and have been real happy with the way he has made Biloxi come alive and progress."
"I think this is a great honor," said Acting Mayor Robert Deming III. "It's an honor for the people of Biloxi to have had a mayor like A.J. for as long as we have. He did a great job in the six terms that he was our leader."
Holloway was honored by the reception.
"It's bitter sweet, you know," Holloway said. "I love the people here in Biloxi. It's just going to be a real adjustment for me being mayor for so long, loving this city, doing what I could do for it and what it's done for me."
Can he totally stay out of the way?
"If they ask for it, I'll give them plenty of advice," said Holloway.