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Sen. Malone laid to rest amid tributes

Posted April 23, 2009

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— More than 1,000 family and friends gathered Thursday for the funeral of State Sen. Vernon Malone, who spent more than 40 years in public service to Wake County and North Carolina.

Mourners cheer Malone's life of service Mourners cheer Malone's life of service

Malone died at age 77 of natural causes last Saturday after mowing his lawn and reading the newspaper at his Lyndhurst Avenue home.

At times, his noon funeral service at Martin Street Baptist Church, 1001 E. Martin St., was lively, with the congregation cheering and singing for Malone.

"Let's hear it for Vernon Malone. Stand up on your feet," family friend Willy Gary urged listeners.

Web only: Funeral for state Sen. Vernon Malone Web only: Funeral for state Sen. Vernon Malone

After the service, a horse-drawn carriage carried Malone's casket to the state Capitol building. He was laid to rest at the Carolina Biblical Gardens,1530 Creech Road in Garner.

Gov. Bev Perdue and Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker were among those who paid tribute to the public servant.

"He lived his life believing that he could make a difference for the good of others," Perdue said.

She praised Malone as a man who who fought to give the poor and undereducated a chance to succeed.

"North Carolina misses him. Vernon was a good and special man who made a difference," Perdue said. "As Vernon once again told us, that's the reason we're here: to make a difference."

Meeker credited Malone for helping break down racial barriers when, as school board chairman, he presided over the merger of Raleigh city schools and Wake County public schools in 1976.

"You all know that story. Those were hard times. He was the right man for those hard times," Meeker said.

A Democrat, Malone was a four-term state senator and was a county commissioner from 1984 to 2002. He most recently focused on lowering the state's dropout rate as co-chairman of the Senate's higher education committee and appropriations committee for higher education.

A graduate of Shaw University, Malone worked as a classroom teacher and as a school administrator before becoming superintendent of the Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh.

Malone was a trustee for Shaw University, North Carolina State University, the North Carolina Museum of Art and Wake Education Partnership. He was also a director of Capital Bank, a community bank headquartered in Raleigh.

He was an alumnus of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the first intercollegiate fraternity established by African-Americans which was founded in 1906.

Malone is survived by two sons and a daughter. His wife passed away last year.


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  • mys1983 Apr 23, 2009

    RIP Sen. Malone,I contacted him about getting ajob after college and he helped me get 2 interviews...and I got both offers!!!

  • time4real Apr 23, 2009

    amen ratherbnnc!
    Malone may have done much good and what he felt was correct through his life, but he and his new buddies over in the county comm. seats think parents who want change with the school board and school system are racists and want to segregate people again. people like that are stuck in the 60's and think those of us who don't have their same dated beliefs are out to get them. not at all, it's called living in the now! care to try it Stan Norwalk?

  • Phrostbite Apr 23, 2009

    Lay down thy faithful servant & take your rest.

  • ratherbnnc Apr 23, 2009

    Now lets appoint someone to take his place who doesnt have self interest at heart and has the interest of the people. At least not Rosa Gill his buddy on the school board. Appoint someone who has never served, an unknown who is for the people and not the NAACP.

  • moonpie Apr 23, 2009

    R.I.P. Vern

  • RonnieR Apr 23, 2009

    While he probably had good intentions, and we know where that leads, the merger is mostly to blame for the problems that WCPSS has now.