Billy McGovern Stacy
Billy McGovern Stacy, former Starkville mayor and NFL and SEC football great, 83, of Starkville died Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, at his home.
Visitation for was held Friday, Sept. 13, 2019 from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. at Calvary Baptist Church in Starkville and the service immediately followed. Burial was in Memorial Garden Park in Starkville. Rev. Grant Arinder, Bill Duncan, and Bob Williams officiated.
A native of Drew, Mississippi, Mr. Stacy was a 1955 graduate of Winona High School, where he was an extremely popular student who excelled in sports. His high school athletic exploits led to him earning a scholarship to Mississippi State College, where he developed into a stellar performer as a Bulldog football and track and field star.
At MSU from 1955 through 1959, Mr. Stacy won three varsity letters in football, two varsity letters in track, was second team All-American in football, won the Sportsmanship Award in the 1959 North-South Shrine Game, and played in the College All-Star Game and the Senior Bowl in 1959.
A 6’1”, 191 lb. defensive back, Mr. Stacy was the first-round draft choice (3rd choice in the overall 1959 National Football League draft) of the Chicago Cardinals, which in his second season became the St. Louis Cardinals (now the Arizona Cardinals).
Mr. Stacy played five years in the NFL and was a Pro Bowl performer in 1962. He was the last player in NFL history to record a touchdown reception, a fumble return for a touchdown, and an interception return for a touchdown in a single season until Houston Texan J. J. Watt repeated the feat 52 years later in 2014.
He was inducted into the MSU Sports Hall of Fame in football and track in 1970 and later inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in football in 1979.
From 1985 until 1989, Mr. Stacy served as Starkville’s elected mayor. Prior to being mayor, he was a field representative for former 2nd District U.S. Rep. David Bowen and served as director of planning and development in Mississippi’s Northern District. He also served as executive director of the Mississippi Sheriffs’ Boys and Girls Ranch.
Mr. Stacy was a faithful member of Calvary Baptist Church and Gideons International. He was also a member of the MSU M-Club.
Mr. Stacy was preceded in death by his parents and foster parents, J.L. “Pete” and Francis Whitehead and McGovern Stacy and Dora Stanley; and by brothers Benny Stacy and Bobby Stacy.
He is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Pat Fitzgerald Stacy of Starkville; three children, Stephanie Tomlinson (Bobby) of Starkville, Steve Stacy (Carrie) of Louisville, Shelly Stacy Moore of Elmore, Ala.; seven grandchildren, Jake Tomlinson (Mary Kate) of Frisco, Texas, Philip Moore (Hillary) of Montgomery, Ala., Hannah Jones (Baron) of Madison, Matthew Moore of Maumelle, Ark., Lottie Moore of Elmore, Ala., Stephen Moore of Auburn, Ala., and Hailey Stacy of Madison; and five great-grandchildren, Hayes Tomlinson, Mackenzie Tomlinson, Riley Tomlinson, Noah Moore, and Mia Jones.
He is also survived by siblings Rose Hill, Ann Roach, Jackie Stanley Baldwin, Joe Stacy, and James Stacy.
Pallbearers were: Jake Tomlinson, Philip Moore, Matthew Moore, Stephen Moore, Baron Jones, and John Going.
Honorary Pallbearers: Mississippi State M-Club members.
In lieu of flowers, the Stacy family requests donations to the Calvary Baptist Church Building Fund or Food Closet. (Calvary Baptist Church, 405 N Jackson St, Starkville, MS 39759 or www.calvarystarkville.com).
A special thanks to the many individuals who helped us through this journey.