Funeral arrangements set for Sen. Vernon Malone
Posted April 18, 2009 11:49 a.m. EDT
Updated April 19, 2009 5:51 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — State Sen. Vernon Malone died of natural causes Saturday at his home on Lyndhurst Drive in Raleigh, political consultant Brad Crone said.
"(Malone) 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," said Lindy Brown, vice-chair of the Wake County commissioners.
The 77-year-old Democrat represented eastern and northeastern Wake County in the North Carolina General Assembly for four terms. Malone held public offices in Wake County for over three decades, including county commissioner from 1984 to 2002.
“He was truly a southern gentleman and a wonderful person to work with and someone that I will truly miss,” Wake County Commissioner Betty Lou Ward said.
Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton praised Malone, a graduate of Shaw University and a former teacher, as "a great advocate for education."
"Sen. Vernon Malone was a man of great character. He gave his heart and soul to helping other people," Wake County Commissioner Harold Webb said. "He believed in working in the trenches to uplift the lives of those who could not help themselves."
Dalton said most recently Malone's passion for education focused on lowering the state's dropout rate.
As school board chairman, Malone presided over the merger of Raleigh city schools and Wake County public schools in 1976. Brown said that Malone's leadership then "charted a path of progress when times were tough."
"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," Webb said.
In the Senate, Malone continued his work in education. He was co-chairman of the Senate's higher education committee and appropriations committee for higher education.
Outside of public office, 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 served as vice-chair of Shaw University's board of trustees, as well as a trustee for 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.
A viewing of Malone's body will be held Wednesday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Lea Funeral Home, 2500 Poole Road in Raleigh.
The body will be in repose at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Martin Street Baptist Church, 1001 E Martin St. in Raleigh. The family will also receive friends and visitors from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the church.
Funeral services will be held Thursday at 12 p.m. at the church. A burial service will immediately follow at the Carolina Biblical Gardens,1530 Creech Road in Garner.
Gov. Beverly Perdue has ordered all North Carolina state flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of Malone until his funeral.
The Malone Family has asked in lieu of flowers that contributions be made to the Sen. Vernon Malone Scholarship Foundation at Shaw University. Donations can be sent to:
c/o Marilyn Fields
118 East South St.
Raleigh, N.C. 27601