Funeral services will be held Friday afternoon for former U.S. Rep. Ed Young, who passed away at age 96 earlier this week.
The funeral service will be held at Ebenezer Baptist Church, 524 S. Ebenezer Rd. in Florence on May 12, 2017 at 2:00 pm, with burial following in the church cemetery with full military honors.
Young briefly served in the state House of Representatives as a Democrat from 1957 to 1960. He then switched parties and ran for Congress in 1972, becoming the first Republican to ever win South Carolina’s Sixth District. However, he fell victim to a national backlash against the Watergate scandal two years later and lost to Democratic opponent John Jenrette. Four years later, Young won the Republican nomination for governor but lost to then-State Sen. Richard “Dick” Riley in the 1978 general election.
“He was an humble leader. A servant leader, if you know what I mean,” former U.S. Rep. John Light Napier remembered. “Ed always had a smile on his face. He always wanted to do things for the good of the district and the people he was serving. He was a good Christian man.”
Napier later won the Sixth District in 1980, defeating Young in the GOP primary. He revealed that he actually met with the former congressman prior to the campaign to say he would back out if Young wanted to try for the seat again. However, he said Young urged him to run anyway.
“I didn’t like that at all, at the time,” Napier joked. “But he was a wonderful man in terms of his humility. Always smiling. Always dedicated to the public interest.”
Napier was a World War II veteran who flew P-38 planes in the Army Air Corps. Young served in the South Pacific and advanced to the rank of major. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with nine Oak Leaf Clusters.
The Clemson graduate was also well-known in the Pee Dee region for hosting the “Southeast Almanac” television show in the 1960s and the live Sunday morning radio program “Radio Sunday School” he helped launch in 1957.