Louisville politicians, family members react to death of beloved community activist, political figure

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Louisville politicians and family members responded to the death of a beloved and prominent figure in Louisville politics on Sunday.

Clarence Yancey passed away over the weekend at the age of 89, according to family members.

Born in 1932, Yancey went to the army and served in the Korean War. He became heavily involved in politics and centered his focus on helping people get jobs and encouraging them to get into politics.

Yancey’s son, Stephen Yancey, said his dad wanted to make the community better and help give people second chances in life.

“Once he committed and gave you his word, he never wavered,” Yancey said. “And he was a man of his word. He once told me, ‘son, my word is all I have’. And I’ll always stand by that.”

During his lifetime, Yancey became involved in bettering the Louisville community. He served as the LD chairman for Louisville’s West End Democratic Party for many years, his son said.

Yancey’s son was influenced by his father’s work and has become involved in politics himself.

“He would go to these politicians whether it’s the mayor, or county clerk, or whoever, and say ‘I need to get these people jobs’,” Yancey said. “And when he helped them, that was his way of doing it. He never really asked them for anything, he just wanted to help the community and get people jobs, and that’s one of the reasons why I ran, I want to help clean up the city and I wanted to get people jobs.”

“I’m just proud to say I’m his son,” Yancey said.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer released a statement on Twitter Sunday afternoon stating, “Mourning the passing of Clarence Yancey, a one-of-kind, incredible citizen and friend to many that energized civic involvement and political participation for decades. Rest In Peace, my friend.”

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Democrat Craig Greenberg, a candidate for Louisville mayor, also released a statement following the news of Yancey’s passing.

“Saddened to hear about the passing of my good friend and iconic community leader, Clarence Yancey. Clarence, you’ll remain an inspiration to me and so many others in public service. Rest In Peace,” Greenberg said on Twitter.

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”My heart is heavy after learning the devastating news of a local hero passing away,” U.S. Senate Nominee and former State Representative Charles Booker said in a statement. “Mr. Yancey is a mighty and influential figure in our community. The countless memories and many stories I have of Mr. Yancey will always be remembered and cherished. His love and support are etched in my heart. So much, in fact, I wrote about Mr. Yancey in my book. He was the person who first told me I could do more than be a staffer. I loved him dearly, and neither our city nor this commonwealth will ever replace him. We don’t just grieve losses like this, we change. I definitely will not be the same. In his honor, I will do my best to be better and achieve what he strived for – a better future for our children and a united community filled with love and respect. Mr. Yancey was active in Louisville, always working to increase the quality of life for all of our families in the West End and throughout Kentucky. Whether he was working in a community garden to grow crops, or advising elected officials through the various boards in which he was appointed to, delivering yard signs, or mentoring young people, including me, Mr. Yancey understood the power of coming together to achieve great things. This news is devastating and crushing. I’m honored that Mr. Yancey has always supported me. He motivated me to get involved in politics and he still motivates me to continue fighting for equity. He will be missed forever. May he rest peacefully.”

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