WILLIAM JOEL BLASS

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice William Joel Blass died Tuesday, four days after his 95th birthday, a spokeswoman for the court said.

Funeral arrangements are pending for Blass, of Pass Christian, said Beverly Pettigrew Kraft in a statement late Tuesday. She did not provide further details.

“He was a great legal scholar and outstanding leader of the bar for many years. He lived professionalism by example and was an inspiration to attorneys and judges,” said Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr., of Jackson.

Former Gov. Ray Mabus appointed Blass to fill a vacancy on the court in 1989. He served through December 1990 but was defeated in his bid for a full term by Justice Chuck McRae.

Chancery Judge Jim Persons, of Gulfport, said Blass touched all parts of the legal profession — lawyer, law professor, legal scholar and judge. He also represented Stone County in the state Legislature for seven years.

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