Bay St. Louis Ward 6 Councilman Ray Kidd died Saturday night in Gulfport from lung cancer complications.
Kidd, 67, had represented the city since he won a special election in 2007 following annexation. The lifelong Bay St. Louis resident had been one of the city's most active and vocal citizens even before he was elected to the council, Mayor Les Fillingame said.
The mayor had known Kidd for about 50 years and said he would always remember him for the his constant smile and his integrity. Fillingame said the Coast has lost a great leader.
"There was his never-ending drive to make the community a better place," Fillingame said. "Ray was always, even prior to him being an elected official, one of the most outspoken citizens about trying to build an economy to keep our children employed and keep the community growing. He was just very active in growing our community's business. He was a great ambassador in that respect."
"He was a man of great class, charm and integrity and I think people will miss that in government circles," Fillingame said.
Kidd, a Republican, lost his re-election bid last month to independent Lonnie Falgout.
Former Lil' Ray's owner
Kidd was for years the owner of the Lil' Ray's restaurant in Waveland and he retired from an over 40-year career in the restaurant business following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Kidd was a member of the Hancock Chamber of Commerce and was involved in efforts to promote tourism and casino initiatives there. He was also involved in youth soccer, baseball and football programs. In the wake of Hurricane Camille in 1969, he did search and rescue missions with the Mississippi National Guard.
Kidd and his wife Jackie were married for 46 years. They had three children -- Trey Kidd of Bay St. Louis, Kyle Kidd of Pass Christian and Kristy Kidd Nicaud of Diamondhead. He also had five grandchildren.
'Who Dat?' he'd say
He was also an avid New Orleans Saints fan, who replaced the traditional greeting "hello" with a popular Saints saying.
"He would answer his telephone year round with 'Who Dat?'" Kristy Kidd Nicaud said. "He would answer his front door 'Who Dat?.'"
Kristy Kidd Nicaud said her father set a great example for his children and the rest of his family, instilling in them honesty and integrity.
"My father was a man of integrity and honesty and he was very trustworthy person," Nicaud said. "He was the most loyal a friend you'd ever want to meet. He laid many road maps for our family as far as morals and values … He was the greatest role model in our family and extended family."
Published in The Sun Herald from July 2 to July 30, 2013