Grady Michael “Mike’’ Eakes, who was elected to the Mississippi Legislature four times, died Friday, Aug. 12 while working in his back yard. He was 60.

Eakes was remembered as an ideal public servant, sincere and helpful, especially concerned about the state’s libraries.

Services were held Monday at McClain-Hayes Funeral Home chapel. Burial was in Spring Creek Cemetery. The Rev. Mike Smithey and the Rev. Mark Cloys officiated.

The cause of death was determined to be a massive heart attack with diabetes Type II as a contributing factor, said Neshoba County Coronor Allen Collins.

Stanley Dearman, former editor and publisher of The Neshoba Democrat, described Eakes as the ideal public servant.

“You always knew he would do the right thing because his heart was in the right place,” Dearman said. “This is a better community because he served it well.”

Eakes, a Democrat, was elected to the House of Representatives in 1980, serving two terms.

He also served from 1992-1996 and 2000-2004. Eakes represented House District 44, covering a portion of Neshoba County.

He was chairman of the House Transportation Committee during his second term and later served as chairman of the House Oil, Gas and Other Minerals Committee. Eakes also served on the House Appropriation Committee.

Sen. Gloria Williamson remembered Eakes as a jovial man who could rise up when the occasion called for it. She recalled one time in particular when Eakes showed his strong side.”My freshman year in the Senate a fight broke out right in front of me and Mike between a Senator and a House member,” Williamson said. “Mike just said ‘Boys, what ya’ll doin’?’ and reached out and grabbed one with one hand and one with the other hand. That was the end of the fight.” Williamson also said that Eakes was a strong proponant of good roads in the area.” He was trying forever for four-lane roads and better access to the interstates because he knew that’s what brings business.”

Born Jan. 28, 1945, Eakes attended Mississippi State University and joined the Navy, serving in the Vietnam War.

Eakes’ cousin, Glenda Green, described him as a hard working, caring man who mowed yards for senior citizens in the Spring Creek community and played Santa Claus at the nursing home.

“He was just a big bear of a sweet, thoughtful man,” Green said.

Green said that despite Eakes’ health problems, he was always working, whether it be in the yard or building the house he and his wife lived in.

“I told him about two weeks before he died that all that working was going to kill him,” Green said. “He told me that if it did, he would die a happy man.”

Life-long friend and co-worker at Weyerhaeuser Bill Dansby described Eakes as a take charge guy who was always willing to help.” I once was trying to rid my little pond of undesirable vegetation.

Here came Mike, who along with a couple other friends, waded right out into the pond, clothes and all, to speed up the process,” Dansby said. “The stories could go on and on. He truly loved to help anyone in need, and was always ready, and more than willing to do so.”

Eakes was also a friend of the state’s libraries.

“He worked to help the libraries statewide as well as this library here.” said Courtney R. Tannehill, librarian here for more than 20 years.

Tannehill said he was instrumental in obtaining funding when the state was into building libraries in the early 1980s.

He was a native and lifelong resident of the Spring Creek community of Neshoba County. He attended Neshoba Central High School and Mississippi State University and had worked in Quality Control for Weyerhaeuser Company in Philadelphia since 1973.

He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, Ducks Unlimited and the Philadelphia-Neshoba County Arts Council.

Mr. Eakes was a member of East Philadelphia Baptist Church where he served as a deacon for a number of years and was a member of the choir.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Grady and Nellie Eakes; and his sister, Patsy Barrie.

Survivors include his wife, Linda Hill Eakes of Philadelphia; two sons, Matthew Ernest Eakes serving in the U.S. Army and Mark Allan Eakes of Southaven; one sister, Sandra Meacham of Brookhaven; and two brothers, Marzine Eakes of Jackson and Tommy Mac Eakes of Brookhaven.

Pallbearers were: Randy Deweese, Ricky Deweese, Jeff Eakes, Robert Eakes, Jay Meacham, Stephen Barrie, Bryan Fanning and Mike Barnett.

Memorials may be made to the Music Ministry of East Philadelphia Baptist Church, 635 East Main St., Philadelphia, MS 39350.