The City Auditorium has been renamed the Ardis T. Williams Sr. Auditorium.
Ardis T. Williams managed the facility from 1995 until his passing in May of this year after a short illness. He was remembered in a ceremony this evening for his family and in his honor.
City leaders praise Williams
Mayor George Flaggs opened the event with close to 100 family, friends and co-workers present.
In describing Williams the Mayor said, “He walked through here with so much passion and loyalty and dedication. And not just for the building but for his friends. What a man, what a giant of a man.” The Mayor became emotional at one point as he talked about Williams’ spirit and his always cheerful attitude. Mayor Flaggs thanked the family for sharing Ardis with the community.
That cheerfulness was mentioned by Alderman Michael Mayfield and Alderman Alex Monsour, with Monsour going on to say, “Ardis will always be here. He will always be a part of the spirit of this building.”
After the ceremony in the auditorium, a plaque and new signage was shown to the crowd in the lobby of the facility.
Sheriff Martin Pace talked about the long working and personal relationship he shared with Williams, “I knew Ardis well. He was very good friends with my family and of course, we worked together with different programs. Miss Mississippi Pageant Events and things of that nature. One of the most energetic people I’ve ever known but also one of the kindest and most respectful people I’ve ever known. He did his job well, he never never met a stranger. He has always been, he was just there willing to help with anything you needed. He was willing to help.”
Big shoes to fill
Monica Shorter has taken over running the auditorium since Williams passed in May. “These are big shoes to fill but I’m going to be able to handle it. Ardis taught me well, I was his assistant for 8 years. Ardis trained me really well.” Shorter also chimed in to mention Williams always being upbeat, “Always. Always to the end. He was a fighter.”
Mississippi House District 55 Representative, Oscar Denton, said, “I’ve been knowing Ardis for a long time. He is a great guy. A great guy.” Denton went on to say, “Listen, this is what he used to say to me when I walked through these doors, in a high-energy falsetto voice, “55! 55!” denoting Denton’s district. “I’m going to miss that when I come down here to this auditorium. The Ardis T. Williams Sr. Auditorium.”
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