by Lisa Sorg
State Sen. Vernon Malone, D-Wake, died today at age 78 of an apparent heart attack at his home, the Indy has learned. The four-term senator represented District 14, including Southeast Raleigh.
"He was extraordinarily well-respected in the senate," said state. Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham. "He was incredibly articulate and passionate about education."
Malone served as co-chairman of the education/higher education committee and its appropriations committee. He attended Thursday's legislative session, but according to state Rep. Ty Harrell, was absent from this morning's Wake County Democratic Party Convention.
He held this eastern Wake County seat since it was created after the 2000 Census. Malone, a retired educational administrator and former Wake County Commissioner, was a longtime leader in the black community in Southeast Raleigh.
Harrell remembered Malone "as a friend and a champion and strong advocate for bettering not only Southeast Raleigh, but all of North Carolina. His loss is tremendous and I am deeply saddened."
Correction: His age was misstated in the original post; according to a questionnaire Malone filled out for the Indy endorsements, he was born Dec. 20, 1930. However, the legislative directory lists his birth date as Dec. 20, 1931.