JACKSON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - The Coast community is mourning the loss of retired Jackson County Justice Court Judge Ennis Millender.
Millender died overnight at the age of 85.
It wasn’t hard for Raymond Millender to find the words to describe his father.
“He’s the type of guy who would do almost anything for anybody," said Millender. "He wasn’t a competitive type of fellow, he was the type of guy who wanted to make a difference anyway he can in his family and in the community and that’s just the way his heart and his brain worked.”
Millender served more than three decades as the District 2 Justice Court Judge for Jackson County.
His son said he was a people’s judge.
“He would always want to hear their side of it, and he’d always give them the benefit of the doubt. If he didn’t think they deserved to be fined or charged, he didn’t." said Raymond Millender.
He was also considered the “singing judge” because he was known for belting out spiritual songs during his campaign.
District 2 Supervisor Melton Harris remembers it well.
“Mostly candidates were speaking. Judge Millender, when it was his turn to speak, he sang," said Harris. “He decided to sing a hymn. And it amazed the crowd. The crowd had very little interest in the speech after that.”
Judge Millender wore many hats, and he also owned Millender’s Funeral Home in Moss Point.
“A fair judge, a businessman, so he was well seen, well known and had credibility that I think that really helped everyone to love and like him and to respect him." said Harris.
People at the courthouse say Millender left a lasting impression on every one he worked with before his retirement as judge in 2018.
Judge Jason Thornton released a statement on behalf of the Jackson county justice court saying:
“I had the privilege of working with Judge Ennis Millender for 23 years and I can say that he was a great man. I never saw him that he wasn’t cordial and a true gentleman. His Christian principals were never compromised. We will miss him.”
Court Administrator Lisa Fairley also released a statement saying:
I had the honor and pleasure of working with Judge Millender for 29 years prior to his retiring. This man was a true man of God, and always had a heart for the young. If a young person came through his court on drug charges, he would talk to them with the upmost concern about where they would end up if they did not turn their life around," you either going to STRAIGHTEN UP, GET LOCKED UP, OR GET COVERED UP" The decision is yours.
He was known as the “Singing Judge” during his campaigning for re-elections.
If one of the ladies in his office at Justice Court had a birthday, we were blessed to have the pleasure of being sung “HAPPY BIRTHDAY.”
He holds a special place in my heart and will never forget the many years working with him.