Danks remembered for service

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Dale Danks Jr. of Madison is being remembered by the cities of Madison and Jackson for his years of service to both after he died June 9 at the age of 81 following complications from a stroke. 

Danks was elected Hinds County Prosecutor in 1972. During his time in that office, he and two assistants handled more than 3,000 cases, covering a wide range of criminal activity. 

During the time he was the prosecuting attorney for Hinds County, he was voted Jackson’s “Outstanding Young Man” by the Junior Chamber of Commerce.

Danks, a Democrat, was elected mayor of Jackson in 1977 and served for 12 years. During his time as mayor, Danks led Jackson through extended Pearl River flooding between 1979 and 1983. He later lost re-election for his fourth term in 1989 to Democrat Kane Ditto. 

Following his time as Jackson mayor, Danks became a Republican and moved to Madison. He served as a Madison municipal judge for approximately eight years, said Penny McElroy, deputy court clerk for Madison.

“He was on the bench about eight years, and he’s been off the bench about three years,” McElroy said. “He was always a fair judge, and we became very good friends.”

Hundreds of people attended a memorial gathering Tuesday at Natchez Trace Funeral Home in Madison to pay their last respects to the former mayor and municipal judge.

Danks also was recognized by the Madison Mayor and Board of Aldermen during the board’s Tuesday meeting.

Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler dedicated the first few minutes of the meeting to remembering Danks. 

“It’s been a long day today and a day of sadness,” Hawkins-Butler said. “He was a very wonderful person, and we are blessed that Dale chose to move to the city of Madison to be part of this wonderful community.”

Madison Alderman-at-Large Sandra Strain said she and the rest of the board consider Danks an icon.

“He was a remarkable human being and a very dear friend of my family,” Strain said. 

“He was an influential prosecuting attorney, and I remember being his golf partner,” said Ken Jacobs, outgoing Madison Ward 3 alderman. 

Danks was born on August 27, 1939, to the late Alney Dale Danks and late Anna Marie Ross Danks. He was educated in the Jackson Public Schools and attended Millsaps College. 

He is a graduate of the Jackson School of Law, which is now Mississippi College Law School. Before he entered into the field of law in 1964, he worked for the City of Jackson, first in the sanitation department and later in the water department office.

Danks is survived by his wife of 17 years, Janet Webb Danks; daughter, Lori Ann Spreafico and her husband, Tony; grandson, Michael Dale Long and his wife Meg Gordon Long; two stepdaughters, Candace Hailey Battaglia and her husband Anthony Battaglia and Camille Hailey; granddaughters, Addilena Battaglia and Hazel Battaglia; grandson Marc Anthony Battaglia and his pets, FeFe, Dede and Crystal.


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