A public memorial service was held Monday in Meridian for state Rep. Charles Young.
Scores of government leaders, business leaders and others from the community turned out Monday to pay tribute to the man many knew as "Mr. Chairman."
A memorial service was held at the MSU Riley Center in honor of state Rep. Charles Young, of Meridian, who died Apr. 29.
"Charles Young, Mr. Chairman, statesman, the gentleman from Lauderdale," said House Speaker Billy McCoy, remembering how Young is remembered by many in the Mississippi Legislature.
"He crossed all bounds of race and or region, male or female," said McCoy. "Even this awesome thing today of political parties."
"Everyone wanted to know what Charles thought about something. Everybody wanted to know Charles' opinion," said state Rep. Greg Snowden of Meridian.
"He loved the legislature," said Rep. Billy Broomfield. "He loved the Mississippi Black Caucus but there was nothing more that he loved than his family."
It was one of his family members who gave one of the most rousing tributes during the service. Young's daughter, the Honorable Vel Young, County/Youth Court Judge for Lauderdale County, paid tribute to her father by singing "Battle Hymn of the Republic".
When it came to family, Young's colleagues and associates say he was not only concerned about his own, but that of others as well.
In one area where this was most evident was in education where he helped found Mississippi Action for Progress, or Head Start, and higher education. He served until his death as chairman of the House Universities and Colleges Committee.
"Mr. Young knew where education started and it started with the young," said Dr. Dorothy Foster of Mississippi Action for Progress.
"Rep. Young lived his life as a true friend of higher education," said Dr. Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State University.
When it comes to being a true friend, Young's longtime business partner said there was none better than Rep. Young.
"I cannot think of anybody else who has made anymore contributions in my life than Mr. Charles Young, Sr., has," said hotelier Abdul Lala.
"Someone said to me the other day, 'where are our heroes?' Here's one right here," said former Mississippi governor, William Winter.
"I believe we're brought into this world for two purposes. One, to serve our God and to serve our fellow man. Charles Young knew that well," said Mississippi Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant. "He was one of the most beloved members of the House of representatives, who had a gentle spirit and a caring heart, two things that are at a premium in the Mississippi Legislature. When you find someone with those characteristics, you cherish them."
The funeral will be held Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Newell Chapel CME Church.
The Young family requests that citizens remember Mr. Young by voting for the candidate of their choice in municipal elections Tuesday.
With Young being an advocate for community development and education, the family requested that in lieu of flowers to please make donations to the Charles L. Young, Sr., Foundation, P.O. Box 1970, Meridian, MS 39302-1970.