Elton Jay, Retired Mississippi State Aeronautics Director Passes Away

Elton Edward Jay, Jr., a former engineer with the FAA and retired state aeronautics director for the Mississippi Department of Transportation passed away on January 26, 2024. 

Elton Jay, Jr.

Elton graduated from Batesville High School and from Mississippi State University with a degree in Civil Engineering.  He was a Professional Engineer and began his career working with the Mississippi State Highway Department under the Cooperative Program in 1956. After graduation, he worked with the MSHD in Batesville, the USDA Soil Conservation Service in Missouri and the Army Corps of Engineers in Memphis before beginning his career with the Federal Aviation Administration there in 1970. Moving to Brandon in 1974, he continued with the FAA before retiring in December 1996 as Principal Engineer in the Jackson, MS Airports District Office. Elton was then employed by the Mississippi Department of Transportation as the State Aeronautics Director for 10 years before retiring in June 2007.

Elton Jay, left and Tommy Booth.

“Elton was a friend to so many people who knew him,” said Tommy Booth, who retired as the Mississippi Aeronautics Director in 2021. “I was blessed to have him as a boss and a mentor.  Airports in Mississippi have thrived because of his guidance and leadership throughout his career. He will be missed greatly.”

Upon his retirement, the FAA Southern Region presented him its highest honor, The Kitty Hawk Award, recognizing him for the contributions in providing leadership in planning and developing safe and efficient airports in Mississippi while serving as the Aeronautics Director. He was an active member of the National Association of State Aviation Officials and served as a Director for the FAA Southern Region. Also, a member of the Mississippi Airport’s Association, he was appointed a lifetime member of the Board of Directors upon retirement.

He served in the Mississippi Army National Guard for 36 years and received numerous awards and citations.   After serving in various command and staff assignments in the 108th Armored Cavalry Squadron, State Inspector General and Coordinator of the State Marksmanship program, he ended his career as a Colonel and Base Commander at the Camp McCain Training Site. Upon his retirement, he was promoted to Brigadier General.