William “Eph” Cresswell
Public service was Mr. Cresswell’s career and way of life, beginning with service in the Army Air Corps in World War II. He opened a law practice in Durant, Mississippi in 1948. Educated at the University of Mississippi, Mr. Cresswell practiced as an attorney for six years. He was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives in 1952, and he served in this capacity until he was appointed Assistant Attorney General of Mississippi in 1954.
When Attorney General J.P. Coleman became Governor of Mississippi in 1956, he appointed Mr. Cresswell as his Executive Assistant and Chief of Staff. Mr. Cresswell made the transition to Washington, D.C. in 1958 to become Administrative Assistant and Chief of Staff for one of Mississippi’s most outstanding leaders and one of the country’s most valued senators.
United States Senator John C. Stennis employed Mr. Cresswell as his closest advisor for 31 years, and they became warm personal friends. During that time, Senator Stennis and Mr. Cresswell worked together closely on most legislative affairs considered by the Senate. Mr. Cresswell helped advance Mississippi most significantly through his work in military and economic development.
Mr. Cresswell was a member of the Methodist Church and in his spare time, he enjoyed playing golf, woodworking, and utilizing his skills as a certified tree farmer. He had a lifelong love of Chopin’s music. Mr. Cresswell also served as Chairman of the Stennis Center for Public Service Board of Trustees from 1989 to 2010.
In 2010, the Stennis Center established the William E. “Eph” Cresswell Congressional Staff Leadership Award to recognize and honor an exceptional congressional staff leader who has demonstrated the ideals of patriotism, integrity and leadership through public service that have characterized the life and career of Eph Cresswell.