Wiggins city leaders adjust after the death of Mayor Joel Miles

Updated: Dec. 16, 2020 at 7:29 AM CST
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WIGGINS, Miss. (WLOX) - City leaders in Wiggins are stepping up to the plate after their mayor tragically died this week following a battle with COVID-19.

It was a little quieter, definitely more somber, Tuesday at the city’s board of alderman meeting. Before the regular meeting, city leaders held a moment of silence before taking time to remember the legacy of Joel Miles, who served as mayor in Wiggins since 2013.

“The whole city is in mourning after losing the mayor,” said Mayor Pro Temp Darryl Berry.

“Joel’s happiness came from his family and his service to the City of Wiggins,” states his obituary. “His wife, children, grandbabies, and mayoral duties brought joy and fullness throughout his earthly life. Many people move away from home as they grow older, but Joel had the biggest appreciation for our small, close community. He loved the people of Stone County and the City of Wiggins as his family.

Berry and his colleagues shared memories of Miles, talking about his strong character and the legacy he left behind of working to make Wiggins a great place to live and work.

“He would listen and talk to people and to us,” said Alderman Ron Dyal. “If we had a problem, we would work it out before we had to talk it out here.”

While city leaders say emotion and shock still linger after Miles’ death, they say they are doing the best that they can to continue his work.

“We’re just going to all work together and do the best we can to move the city forward,” Berry said.

For now, Berry will serve as interim mayor until after the general election on June 8. A special election will not take place since the general election date is more than six months away.

“We’ve never had this before,” Berry said.

Berry will hold his temporary role until the winner of the general election is sworn in on June 30. Until then, the focus is on making sure the wounded community comes together and heals.

“Right now, we are just concentrating on paying respects to his family and all,” he said.

A visitation will be held for Mayor Joel Miles at Moore Funeral Home in Wiggins on Thursday, December 17, 2020 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The funeral will be at Blaylock Park on Friday, December 18, 2020 at 1:00 with a private burial to follow. Masks and social distancing are required at the funeral. Everyone is encouraged to bring a lawn chair.

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