Ronnie Young’s funeral service honors his ‘lasting legacy’ in Aiken County
A large crowd gathered in a Graniteville church on Friday to mourn the passing and celebrate the life of longtime public servant Ronnie Young.
Young, who represented District 84 in the S.C. House of Representatives, passed away from cancer earlier this week. His funeral was held at Christian Heritage Church and attended by a large crowd of family, friends and community leaders.
Young served on Aiken County Council for over 20 years and as a state representative for two years. However, Young’s brother-in-law, Bishop Phillip Napier, wanted people to see the other side of Young during his funeral service on Friday morning.
“I’ve known Ronnie all my life, because he’s always been a part of my life,” said Napier in an emotional speech. “I didn’t look at Ronnie quite like everyone else did; as a politician, as a friend in the workforce or a supervisor. Ronnie was Ronnie.”
Napier talked about Young’s love for his wife, Susan, his desire to improve industry and education in Aiken County and his sense of humor, which he had “up to the very end.”
“Looking around this room, it’s amazing what one man’s life can do to people,” said Napier.
Napier also conducted the benediction for Young’s funeral service.
In addition to family and friends, a large delegation from the South Carolina State House came to Aiken to honor their former colleague.
“I think you can see that Ronnie was well-loved in Columbia,” said S.C. House Speaker James Lucas.
Lucas, who spoke during Young’s funeral, touched on many aspects of Young’s character, such as his “unparalleled” work ethic and his humble kindness. He got to know Young because he kept leaving baked goods on Lucas’ desk.
“I never know who the culprit was,” Lucas said. “Ronnie was – he was never one to go out and try to let you know that he was helping you. He would just help you; y’all know that.”
Lucas also shared stories about Young from other representatives in attendance, such as Bill Taylor, R-Aiken, and Bill Clyburn, D-Aiken.
“Ronnie had an optimism that was infectious among members of the house and members of the senate,” Young said. “Ronnie knew what he did with his service was important, but he also understood how he served was more important.”
“I think Ronnie’s lasting legacy was to teach the membership and the body that politics is not just a profession,” Young continued. “It’s a mission, and Ronnie had perfected that mission.”