Jackson County

His illness came suddenly ‘and it broke our hearts,’ alderman says of Linwood Grierson

Linwood Grierson, bottom left, with family. The former Moss Point alderman died Sunday. He was 62.
Linwood Grierson, bottom left, with family. The former Moss Point alderman died Sunday. He was 62.

Moss Point Alderman Linwood Grierson died Sunday night at Providence Hospital in Mobile. He was 62.

Grierson, who represented the Escatawpa area and grew up in that area, was an avid recreational fisherman and outdoorsman.

This was his first term on the Board of Aldermen, elected in 2013, but a sudden illness about a month ago kept him from campaigning for re-election, fellow alderman Wayne Lennep said, and he was not re-elected.

Lennep said Grierson complained of a backache and feeling very tired and weak. He said they thought he had a kidney stone, but he wound up dealing with an infection.

“I talked with him Friday a week ago, and he was in good spirits in the hospital. He thought he was facing surgery, but they were waiting to get the infection down,” Lennep said.

Lennep said Grierson’s family explained that complications developed, one after another, and there were just too many hurdles to overcome. His wife, Beth Clark Grierson, had put out a community plea for prayers last week.

Grierson replaced longtime alderman Tommy Hightower, who did not seek re-election in 2013. Grierson was an upbeat, friendly fellow who liked to tell a good tale and helped interject some humor in Board of Aldermen meetings.

But he was serious about economic development, championed current Police Chief Calvin Hutchinson in his first bid for the job, and worked hard to get some flooding relief for residents in the Dutch Bayou area of Escatawpa and neighborhoods north of Interstate 10. The area has never drained well since I-10 was built. Dutch Bayou has silted in over the years, and drainage ditches aren’t cleaned out often enough.

Grierson lived in the Dutch Bayou area and knew the issues.

One of his favorite projects was the Pascagoula River Audubon Center in downtown Moss Point. Though it was in the works before his tenure on the board, he like to say he helped in the early stages.

He would tell how he was fishing the river years ago, when Audubon first came looking at property along the Pascagoula. He was in a boat, and he said they came up to him and asked if he knew who owned the Frank Griffin Road property, where Audubon first landed in the city. He was able to give them a name. The center later moved to downtown.

Lennep said Grierson wanted the city to expand its economic development department and believed Moss Point needed to more thoroughly develop its I-10 interchanges.

He retired from Merchants & Marine Bank, finished a degree at Mississippi State University and began teaching at East Central School in the Jackson County School District.

He was a big Bulldog fan.

He graduated from Moss Point High School and attended the Perkinston Campus of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

Grierson was from an old Moss Point family. Grierson Street, a main artery in the city, was named after his father’s side of the family that hailed from East Moss Point.

Lennep said he and Grierson were friends and had distant family connections. He said he considered Grierson a mentor and a good person to talk to.

“He was a personable guy, always good for a hug and a pat on the back,” Lennep said.

“I was definitely surprised by this. It came so suddenly. The serious portion came on suddenly,” he said. “We thought he would be fine. When it took a turn for the worse, it was a shocker and it broke our hearts.”

Grierson had a long history with the Safe Harbor Methodist Church, where he taught Sunday School for years and later the youth group, said his first cousin, Rita Goff.

She said teens were texting and calling on Monday to say that he had been instrumental in their lives, recounting what he had done to help them make better decisions.

“He loved history, and he knew the Bible,” Goff said. “I called him my Bible dictionary, because he knew so much.”

She said with his knowledge of ancient history connected with the Old Testament, he made the Bible easier to understand.

He was devoted to his wife and two daughters, Leah and Rachel.

And he had a remarkable knack for catching fish.

Goff said Grierson would take one boat and her family would go out in another to catch fish for seafood suppers at her house, “and 95 percent of what we ate would be what Linwood caught.”

He was a good father, she said, and the family was concerned that he might die around Father’s Day.

He died at 6 p.m. Sunday.

“Father’s Day is hard for me, because I had a good dad and I miss him,” Goff said. “I told the girls it will always be especially hard for you. You had a wonderful father and he died on Father’s Day.”