Mayfield will be missed, but his legacy will carry on

Published 2:02 pm Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Although I didn’t get a chance to get to know him well, I was deeply saddened when I got the text early Tuesday morning letting me know Alderman Michael Mayfield had passed away overnight.

In the nearly three months since I joined The Vicksburg Post, I believe I was only able to have one real, one-on-one conversation with with the late alderman, but that was all it took for me to see why he was so beloved by the community – although at the time of our talk, I wasn’t aware of his reputation at all. But, he spoke of Vicksburg, its history, and his role in it all, like he was talking about a dear friend. It was obvious to me during that exchange that he loved his community and its people. 

It was on a weekend a few weeks later when I received a text that there was going to be a “parade” in his honor. It wasn’t until I made it to Greater Grove Street Missionary Baptist Church that I found out it was all being done for support after a cancer diagnosis. 

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In the weeks that followed, I listened at meetings of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, as well as at other events around town, and marveled at the outpouring of love, prayers and overall support for Mr. Mayfield and his family from all corners of Vicksburg, Warren County, and beyond. But, what truly touched me about the situation was the alderman’s message back to the community. Aside from giving thanks for the support, he, without fail, talked about his plan to continue serving Vicksburg and its people as best he could while he waged war with what he called his second stint with cancer.

Sadly, that war was lost late Monday night, but it speaks volumes about who Michael Mayfield was as a person that he seemed much more concerned with how much of the city’s work he could continue to tackle than he was with the uphill battle that lay ahead. That’s not to say he wasn’t doing all he could to fight back against the thief that is cancer. He was clearly motivated and prepared to fight. But, even in what must have been some of his darkest moments, he never seemed to take his eye off his work as Ward 1 alderman. Time and again he would reassure the crowd at the Robert M. Walker Building that he would be present for as many meetings as possible; that his work would continue as he battled against his bleak diagnosis. 

He spoke more than once of how this second stint with cancer would be a more difficult one than his first. He clearly knew the score, but never lost sight of his goals or his priorities.

As the community mourns this week, I feel sure most of you have many more memories of Mr. Mayfield to draw from than I do. And I feel sure this loss cuts deeply, because if he made such an impression on someone like myself – someone who didn’t know his name four months ago – I can only imagine the mark he has left on countless lives in this community and beyond.

In the hours after his passing, I learned a great deal about Mr. Mayfield in a very short span of time, including the fact that he served as a deacon at his church, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words to Timothy. In 2 Timothy 4:7 Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

There is so much I don’t know about Michael Mayfield. I simply wasn’t given enough time. But, it certainly seems as if that verse applied heavily to his life. He never seemed to lose faith and he fought the good fight until the end. 

My deepest condolences to the City of Vicksburg, it’s people, and Mr. Mayfield’s family. 

Blake Bell is the general manager and executive editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at