Roy C. Nixon, Shelby County’s first mayor, dies at 85


Former Shelby County Mayor Roy C. Nixon (from a 1975 Shelby County Sheriff’s Office yearbook)

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The man who served as Shelby County’s first mayor in the 1970s died Sunday after a short illness.

Roy C. Nixon was 85. He was a former Shelby County deputy who held the office of sheriff from 1970 until 1975.

On Jan. 1, 1976, he was sworn in as the first Shelby County mayor, after the county changed its form of government to add the mayor’s role. Nixon served an abbreviated term until August 31, 1978, and did not run in the general election.

“Mayor Nixon set the standard for governance and service and, because of his efforts, our county today thrives,” current county Mayor Lee Harris said in a statement.

“On this day of remembrance, it is important to keep front-of-mind that the current form and practices of our county government did not materialize out of thin air. Just the opposite, the restructuring of county government that lead to the system we have today was hard-wrought. We are thankful for the life of Roy Nixon. The system we benefit from every day in this county is the product of the determined will, good works, and devotion to community of individuals like Mayor Nixon.” — Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris

Nixon is survived by his wife of 19 years, Mrs. Betts Nixon, by three daughters, two step-sons, 13 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.

Services will be Saturday, June 8 at St. Patrick Presbyterian Church, 710 W. White Road in Collierville. Public visitation will be from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. with a funeral service at 11 a.m. A funeral service will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery.


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