For Verlon Young serving the people of Madison County was one of the most important things in his life.
The former Madison County Sheriff died May 26 at his home in Farmington.
He was born June 2, 1935, in Steele, Missouri. His widow Margie Young said Verlon was never ashamed he was a son of a sharecropper who chopped cotton when he was a little boy, and only got an eighth grade education.
Margie and Verlon got married in 1972 in Fredericktown. Verlon is survived by two brothers, seven children, and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. Margie and Verlon’s son, Robert “Bobby” Young, has spent most of his life following in Verlon’s footsteps in law enforcement.
Young was a deputy for Madison County Sheriff N.F. Whitener until Whitener resigned on Dec 29, 1978. Verlon was appointed sheriff until a special election could be held in Jan. of 1979. Verlon won that election and served out the remainder of the term through 1980.
He was a businessman, owning a restaurant, a used car lot and the Park Lane Motel among other ventures. Still, he always looked to return to law enforcement.
In 1988, Young was again elected Madison County Sheriff, and he served two more four-year terms.
Margie said he loved his work.
“He said there are lot of bad things you have to do, but every day you get to help someone and that makes it worthwhile,” Margie said. “He loved people and he loved his job. It his was his life.”
Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Dwight Robbins recalled working with Young.
“I remember we had a murder case and he was the investigator on that and did a good job,” Robbins said. “He ran a good department.”
“He always had the county’s best interest at heart,” Presiding Commissioner Bob Mooney said. “He played an important role in the construction of the new jail in 1996.”
The jail opened in September of 1996. Young’s name is on the plaque hanging at the entrance to the jail facility.
He served out his second and final term in December of 1996. He lost the Democratic Primary to David Lewis that year.
“Even though David and Verlon ran against each other politically, they remained friends,” Margie said.
Before becoming Madison County Sheriff, Lewis was a Fredericktown police officer and reserve deputy for Young for a number of years.
“He was very good to people,” Lewis said. “He was an honest sheriff. He was very accessible and accommodating to people. His accessibility to people was one of things I admired about him.”
“He was always understanding and wanted to help the people of the community as best he could,” former Fredericktown Police Chief Keith DeSpain said. “He was always there for the community to talk to him personally as the sheriff.”
Lewis said during Young’s tenure the city, highway patrol and sheriff’s department worked well together.
“I was around him for eight years,” Lewis said. “He worked with everybody.”
DeSpain also said Sheriff Young always worked with all of the city, county, and state officers.
“Verlon was always dedicated to the task at hand,” DeSpain said. “He wanted to make sure it was done to the best of his ability.”
Margie and Verlon left Madison County and moved to Ste. Genevieve in 2006. They spent six years there and the last six in Farmington.
Visitation for Verlon Young is at 10 a.m. today until the time of the funeral service at 1 p.m. at the C. Z. Boyer & Son – Taylor Chapel in Farmington. Interment will follow at Hillview Memorial Gardens.
DeSpain and some current members of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department will be his pallbearers.
“I know Verlon would have loved that,” Margie said. “Verlon wanted to live longer, but he went to a better place. He had things right with God and I know that.”
Memorials may be made to the American Heart Association or the Alzheimer’s Association.