Edmondson’s son addresses the LaGrange City Council, video tribute unveiled

Published 7:50 pm Wednesday, February 28, 2024

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On Tuesday night, at the close of the LaGrange City Council meeting, the city debuted a video honoring the legacy of former Mayor Willie T. Edmondson.

The late mayor’s son, Jay Edmondson, addressed the council after the video was played at the close of the meeting.

“I am the son of the late W.T. Edmondson. I’m proud to be his son. I will not try to, but I will continue on his legacy,” he said.

Jay thanked the council for standing beside his father for so many years and helping unite the city, and he thanked the community for believing in his vision.

“I wanted to just speak with you because I got a chance to speak with my father, and my father spoke of each of you with the utmost respect,” Edmondson said, noting he particularly spoke about former councilman and mayor pro-tem Jim Arrington.

“He spoke about Mr. Arrington the whole time. He was like, ‘Son, I really do hate running against Jim,” Jay said, noting his father told him Arrington was a good guy.

Jay said his father never talked about city business at home or at work.

“He never talked about politics at all. With saying that, the most important thing that I can remember my father saying is, ‘Continue on with being a good person and treating people right,’” Edmondson said.

Edmonson noted his father was also a big supporter of the LaGrange Housing Authority, and the things they’re doing around the community. He said he will continue to support that.

Jay said his father was a minister, but he also was a businessman through and through. He was also a huge supporter of both the LaGrange community and his church community.

“He was a person that not only stood for the community, but he was the person who stood with the community,” Edmondson said. “It didn’t matter your race, your religion or even your gender. He was a mayor for all.”

Jay also briefly addressed the concerns that were raised over the timing issues for the meeting that called for an election to replace his father the day before his burial and an accusation that Councilman Nathan Gaskin had inappropriately broached the issue at the family’s funeral home on the day of his passing. 

“Mr. [Nathan] Gaskin, respectfully, I know you all had to address certain issues. That was at the wrong time. Wrong situation and I just so happen to be one of those family members at the time,” Edmondson said.

“You are more than welcome to come visit my funeral home. More than welcome, but we service families with the utmost dignity and respect. So I ask, if you come back, and you’re more than welcome, be sure to come back with nothing but the utmost respect for the families and lives that are being served.”

Gaskin did not comment on the issue during the council meeting but did note during the earlier work session that he was only one of three council members who called for the vote.

Councilmen Mark Mitchell and Tom Gore are believed to be the other members who sent a letter to City Attorney Jeff Todd requesting the meeting. Then mayor pro-tem Jim Arrington said the letter was sent after he refused to call the meeting.

The timing of the meeting was to ensure the mayor’s election could take place in May, instead of having to wait until November.