Bradford J. Dye, Jr.

Published 6:11 pm Monday, July 2, 2018

Bradford J. Dye, Jr., 84, passed away Sunday morning, July 1, 2018, at Hospice Ministries in Ridgeland. Funeral services will be held at Christ United Methodist Church in Jackson on Thursday, July 5, at 2 p.m., with visitation from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. preceding the service.

After three terms as lieutenant governor of Mississippi, Dye was an attorney with Pyle, Mills, Dye and Pittman in Ridgeland until retiring in 2017.  He served over eleven years until 2015 as Director, Public Finance, Duncan Williams, Inc., investment bankers based in Memphis.  Beginning in 1993, he was a director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board of Dallas for 11 years.

Brad Dye, son of Maylise Dogan Dye and Bradford J. Dye, was a native of Charleston, Miss., where he was an Eagle Scout. After graduating from Charleston High School, he entered the University of Mississippi and obtained his Bachelor of Business Administration in January 1957. Two years later, he received his degree from the University of Mississippi Law School. While at Ole Miss, Dye was active in the Associated Student Body, having first been elected treasurer and later president of the Student Body; he also served two terms as president of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, and was inducted in the 1980s into the Gamma Iota Chapter, Pi Kappa Alpha Hall of Fame. As an undergraduate, Dye was named to the Ole Miss Student Hall of Fame.

Email newsletter signup

After graduation from law school, he practiced law in Grenada with his father, under the firm name of Dye & Dye. In 1959, he was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives.  Senator James O. Eastland appointed Dye as an attorney on the staff of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C., where he worked from 1961 through 1964. Dye was able to fulfill legislative responsibilities by taking a leave of absence from his federal job during the legislative sessions.

In 1963, he was elected to the Mississippi State Senate. In 1965, he resigned from the Senate to accept an appointment by Governor Paul B. Johnson as a commissioner on the Workmen’s Compensation Commission.

In 1968, Governor John Bell Williams named Dye the executive director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Industrial Board, now the Mississippi Development Authority. During his tenure at the A&I Board, the “Shipyard of the Future” was built on the west bank at Ingalls Shipyard; Dye also oversaw the rebuilding of the State Port at Gulfport following Hurricane Camille.

In 1971, Dye resigned as director of the A&I Board to enter the race for state treasurer; he was elected and served in that position until 1976. As state treasurer, Dye was a member of the State Bond Commission, the Board of the Savings and Loan Association, the State Tag Commission, and the Public Employees Retirement System, serving one term as chairman. Following an unsuccessful race for lieutenant governor, Dye became president of Jackson Savings and Loan Association, a position he held from January 1976 through March 1979, when he resigned to run again for the office of lieutenant governor, this time successfully.

In January 1980, Dye was sworn in as the 35th lieutenant governor of Mississippi, was twice re-elected, and served until 1992, the only person in state history to hold that position for twelve consecutive years.  During that historic tenure, he presided over the passage of legislation of immense importance.

The single piece of legislation which Dye found most gratifying was the 1987 comprehensive four-lane highway program, which is the basis of Mississippi’s modern transportation system and provided an essential component of economic and industrial development. Dye’s role was critical in the 1982 passage of Governor William F. Winter’s comprehensive education reform package.  Dye’s additional impact on education included the creation of the Institute of Technology Development, the founding of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science at Columbus, and his demonstrated strong support of the University Medical Center, the Department of Mental Health, vocational-technical education, and universities and community colleges.

He was the Charter President of the University of Mississippi Business Alumni Chapter. A life member of the Alumni Association, in 2006 he was inducted into the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame and in 2014 into the Ole Miss Law Alumni Hall of Fame. In 2009, the Political Science Department of the University named him the first recipient of its Distinguished Alumni Award and established a public service scholarship in his name; he also was a member of the Political Science Advisory Board. In 2010, Governor Haley Barbour presented Dye the Mississippi Medal of Service.

Dye’s volunteer activities have been varied. As a long time Red Cross water safety instructor, he taught life-saving and swimming to hundreds of young people in Grenada and Tallahatchie counties. He was the Charter Vice-President of the Grenada Jaycees and served as the chairman of the Grenada County Cancer Society Fund Drive. After moving to Jackson in 1965, he was a member of the Executive Board of the Andrew Jackson Council, Boy Scouts of America; the Board of the United Way of the Capital Area; the Board of Directors of Jackson Junior Achievement; the Advisory Council on Programs and Research for the College of Business and Industry, Mississippi State University; and the Beauvoir Development Foundation, Inc.  He was state fund chairman in 1972 for the Mississippi Chapter, American Red Cross, and served in 1973 and 1974 as Mississippi Heart Fund Chairman. For a number of years, he coached youth sports teams in basketball, baseball, and football organized by the YMCA.  Dye and his wife were involved with the Governor’s School Parent’s Association for several years as co-chairmen. Most recently, he served on the advisory board of the Mid-South Housing Foundation.

Dye, a life-long Methodist, was an active member of three metro Jackson churches: Galloway Memorial United Methodist Church, Christ United Methodist Church and First United Methodist Church of Ridgeland.

Brad Dye considered his most valuable legacy to be his family.  He is survived by his wife of almost 55 years, the former Donna Bailey of Coffeeville, Mississippi; his three sons – Hamp (Shannon) of Madison, Ford (Sonya) of Oxford, and Rick (Emily) of Jackson; five grandchildren – Nathan (Hannah), David, Emma, Jack and Margaret; and one great-granddaughter, Ann Hampton.

Memorials may be made to the UM Foundation – Brad Dye Political Science Scholarship in care of the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Avenue, Oxford, MS 38655.