Services announced for Sen. Vernon Malone

RALEIGH Malone's son, Rod, said he died of natural causes. He was 77-years-old.

Malone, a retiree from Raleigh and a graduate of Shaw University, held public offices in Wake County over three decades. He has held other profession professions that include; superintendent at the Governor Morehead School in Raleigh, assistant superintendent, administrative assistant and classroom teacher.

Malone was currently serving his fourth term in the state Senate.

According to his Web site --established during his candidacy in the last election-- Malone was a Democratic member of the North Carolina General Assembly representing the state's fourteenth Senate district, including constituents in Wake County.

The Malone family has announced viewing of the body will be held Wednesday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Lea Funeral Home on Poole Road in Raleigh. Later that day, the body will be in repose at Martin Street Baptist Church at 6 p.m. where family will receive friends and visitors until 8 p.m.

Funeral services will be on Thursday at 12:00 p.m. at Martin Street Baptist Church. A burial service will immediately follow at the Carolina Biblical Gardens in Raleigh after the funeral services.

"We would like to extend to the great people of Wake County and all of North Carolina our heart-felt thanks for the love, caring and sympathy, you have shown our family during this period of grief and loss of our beloved father and brother," the Malone family said in a statement released Sunday. "We are truly touched at the outpouring of love and concern and are humbled at the flood of calls and visits at our home." The family has asked in lieu of flowers that individuals make contributions to the Senator Vernon Malone Scholarship Foundation at Shaw University. Donations can be sent to Shaw University, c/o Marilyn Fields, 118 East South Street, Raleigh, NC 27601.

On Saturday, Gov. Bev Perdue ordered all North Carolina state flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of Senator Malone. Flags will be flown at half-staff beginning immediately until sunset the day of the service.

Following the news of Malone's death, several North Carolina figures issued a statement.

"Vernon Malone was one of my closest personal friends and was a powerful voice for North Carolina's future," Governor Bev Perdue said. "He fundamentally believed that every kid should have a shot at success, regardless of their background and dedicated his life to making that belief a reality."

"The Senate, the people of Wake County and the State have lost a great advocate for education and for the future of our State," Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton said. "Throughout his life, Senator Malone was committed to public service and to making our State a better place. I am honored and proud to have served alongside Vernon Malone in the Senate, and the prayers of the entire State are with his family during this time of great loss."

"It is hard to put into words how much Vernon Malone meant to the North Carolina Senate, and to everyone who knew him," Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight said. "He had prepared himself for service early in life and he believed in a better opportunity for all. He was a man for all people and a man of integrity and he did not just seek to help those people with talents, he loved all people. He was such a big man in the way he lived his life - the concern, the love and compassion he had for people was special. I can think of no one, nowhere in this state who meets the description of what Vernon was as a person. He was a wonderful friend to me and a real leader in the Senate, and I will miss him a great deal. What I knew of him as a person, not to mention the contributions he has made throughout his life, cannot be replaced. It is a huge loss, not just for the people of his Senate district, but for all the people of North Carolina."

"Senator Vernon Malone was a giant oak in making Raleigh -the City of Oaks- Wake County, and North Carolina the models of progress, diversity, and forward-thinking vision that they are becoming," NCDP Chair David Young said. "His quiet strength and dignity were his hallmarks and should be an inspiration to all of us as we seek to carry on his unfinished work. Leigh and I, as well as all North Carolina Democrats, mourn his sudden passing and offer our thoughts and prayers to his family."

And commissioners in Wake County also offered their condolences.

"Senator Vernon Malone was a man of great character," Chairman of the Wake County Commissioners Harold Webb said." He gave his heart and soul to helping other people. He worked every day to build a stronger community. He believed in working in the trenches to uplift the lives of those who could not help themselves. He believed in the value of education and he dedicated his life to making sure people of all races had the opportunity to get an education so they could live a better life. He served admirably as Chairman of the Wake County School Board, Chairman of the Wake County Commissioners and as a three-term State Senator. As Chairman of the Wake County Board, I extend my condolences to his family and friends. We have lost a fine public servant."

"Senator Vernon Malone was a pillar of public service in Wake County," Vice Chairman of the Wake County Commissioners Lyndy Brown said. "He charted a path of progress when times were tough. He provided stable and reliable leadership on our school board, our county commission and in the State Senate. He was a loving servant of God, a faithful husband and father, and a tireless public servant who lit the torch of leadership for the African American community and all of Wake County."

"Vernon and I have been friends for over 30 years," Commissioner Betty Lou Ward said. "He was a very good legislator, county commissioner and school board member, and just a wonderful person to work with. He was a really good friend, and I enjoyed my friendship with him through the years. He was also a really good friend to Wake County since he has been in the Senate, and has been a cheerleader for Wake County. His passing leaves a very big hole, and this is really a big loss. He was very much a Southern Gentleman."

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