Estate of former Miss. first lady Fordice to be auctioned

Published 11:03 pm Saturday, September 15, 2007

Furniture, crystal, china, books and trinkets that belonged to former first lady Pat Fordice will be auctioned this weekend in the south Mississippi city of Columbia.

Fordice died July 12 after a battle with cancer. She was 72.

The estate sale is taking place at 2 p.m. Sunday at Columbia Auction Co., and it’s open to the public.

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Auction house owner Jennings Gilmore said estate sales normally take place in homes, but Fordice lived in a gated community in Madison and the sale couldn’t be held there.

Fordice was first lady from January 1992 to January 2000. She and Gov. Kirk Fordice divorced shortly after he left office. He died in 2004.

The Fordices had four children and several grandchildren, and Gilmore said the family has kept furniture and many items with sentimental value. They also have given gifts to friends.

“In every case when somebody passes away, the family just doesn’t want and can’t absorb everything,” Gilmore said.

He said the auction company has taken some bids by mail and will take a limited number of bids over the telephone.

Items on sale include books signed by authors and gifts from other first ladies or governors, Gilmore said. He said there also are smaller mementoes, such as angel Christmas tree ornaments or T-shirts with the “I’m not your mama” slogan from Pat Fordice’s antilittering ads.

Jack Kyle, who helped organize international art exhibitions in Jackson when Pat Fordice was first lady, said he won’t attend the auction because he’s still “a little too emotional” about her death. But he said people who go will see that she had excellent taste.

“I hope that anyone who is interested in acquiring any of these objects will know something about the kindhearted and generous individual Pat Fordice was,” Kyle said.

Kyle and Pat Fordice became close friends and were among the Mississippians who traveled to France, Spain and Germany to help organize the art shows. Kyle now works for the Area Development Partnership in Hattiesburg.

He said Friday that after Pat Fordice died, her family gave him a sculpture that had belonged to her.

“I was deeply touched and moved by that,” Kyle said.

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