Tribute to Daphne Mayor Bailey Yeldingby Former Representative Jo Bonner
Posted on 2013-01-23
in the house of representatives
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Mr. BONNER. Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to a beloved public
servant who defined leadership in his community by reaching out to all
points of view. I am speaking of Daphne, Alabama Mayor Bailey Yelding,
who passed away on January 22, 2013, after a brief illness.
Born and raised in Daphne, Mayor Yelding loved his community so much that he never really left it. He was always proud of his home town, noting to the Mobile Press-Register, ``You live and work in a place where it's all been great for you, why not love it?'' And he gave back so much to the community he loved. After graduating from the Baldwin County Training School in Daphne in 1957, and receiving a degree from Alabama State University, he set his sights on helping young people in Daphne. He soon began a career in local education that would encompass 39 years of his life, changing lives and racking up an impressive record as both a football and basketball coach.
At Baldwin County Training School, Coach Yelding earned a 49-16-1 record at the helm of the school's football program. After he transitioned to Fairhope High School in 1970, he went on to become the first African American coach of an integrated high school team in Baldwin County. As head varsity basketball coach, he led the team to a 302-130 record.
After nearly four decades of educating the young people of Baldwin County, Coach Yelding then turned his attention to a different challenge--serving his community in elected office. In 2000 he ran for and was elected to the Daphne City Council. For the next 11 years, Councilman Yelding was a reliable voice for all the people of Daphne, reaching out to his fellow councilmen and the community to put the city first.
In 2011, the Daphne City Council appointed Yelding to serve the unexpired term of Mayor Fred Small who retired early from office. In 2012, Mayor Yelding ran for a full term on the platform of experience and stability. He survived a lively campaign and a runoff in October 2012 to become Daphne's first popularly elected African American mayor.
To everyone who knew him and worked with him, Mayor Yelding was more than the chief executive of the city. He was a pillar of integrity and a consensus builder. In short--a leader. It's not surprising that he was successful in public office. He took the skills he honed as a winning football and basketball coach to city hall, forging teamwork while motivating city employees and the community to greater heights.
Mayor Yelding will be remembered not only as a trail blazer, but also as a wise and steady hand at Daphne City Hall.
On behalf of the people of South Alabama, I wish to extend my condolences to Mayor Yelding's family, many friends and to the people of Daphne. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.
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