By Dewain E. Peek,
Vice Mayor Bill Winningham’s dedication to the Town of Livingston continued until his last day.
An emergency called meeting of the Livingston Mayor and Board of Aldermen was held at 5 p.m. Friday, July 5 to consider an item Mayor Curtis Hayes and the aldermen did not want to consider – accepting the resignation of Bill Winningham as alderman and vice mayor and deciding how to fill the position.
At the beginning, Mayor Hayes said Vice Mayor Winningham had requested the special meeting to be called.
He then turned the floor to William Winningham, Bill’s son, who spoke to the City Council by speakerphone from the hospital.
“Dad is on the way to expire here,” he said. “They’ve done all they can do for him. So, he will pass away here after while.
“But he dictated to me this resignation letter, so I read it to you, and it goes, ‘It is with a sound mind and heavy heart that I feel it is in the best interest of the fine citizens of Livingston, Tennessee, that I resign my duties as alderman. As you may know, I’m dealing with some health issues that have prohibited me from attending recent City Council meetings.
“‘It has been an extreme honor to serve my home town of Livingston for 40 years as vice mayor and alderman. I am proud to have worked with many top notch mayors and councilpeople that helped make Livingston a better place to live.’”
His resignation letter then asked that fellow pharmacist Rex Dale be given his seat on the Board of Aldermen for the remainder of his term.
“‘He is a stand-up man and he will represent our community well,’” he concluded.
Then Mayor Hayes consoled him, saying, “William, I know that’s very tough to do because it’s tough for me to hear, and I pray for you and your family.”
Before turning back to the City Council’s decision on the business at hand, Mayor Hayes said, “This is a very sad day for me, and I know for most of you here. And it is with very, very mixed emotions, but this, Vice Mayor Winningham absolutely wouldn’t have it any other way when he talked to me at the hospital Tuesday night.
“These are his wishes. He was in sound mind. And at first I truly refused to take heed to the conversation. But he insisted that we do this, and he was in front of three witnesses.”
Fighting back tears, Mayor Hayes went on to say, “Forty-plus years, he has helped the city of Livingston move forward. And his counseling to me, as mayor, and I’m sure others, has been unmeasurable.”
He then asked for a motion.
Before a motion was made, Alderman Kelly Coleman spoke up to say he had known Bill Winningham his whole life, that he was a friend of his family.
“And I wouldn’t be sitting here if it weren’t for Mr. Winningham. He’s the one that came to me and encouraged me to consider running.”
He went on to say, “It would be only fitting that we as a body move in the direction that Bill has requested for us.
Alderman Coleman then made the motion to respect the wishes of Vice Mayor Winningham, and, wiping away tears, Alderman Ken Dodson seconded the motion.
Mayor Hayes clarified that the motion was to accept Bill Winningham’s resignation and to add Rex Dale to the City Council to carry out Winningham’s existing term.
On the vote, Aldermen Coleman, Ronald Dishman, Dodson, Chris Speck, and David Langford all voted yes.
The meeting adjourned.
Later Friday night, Bill Winningham passed away.