DAPHNE, Ala. (WALA) - A black wreath hung from the door at Daphne City Hall Tuesday and the flags out front stood at half staff. Those symbols marked the passing of Daphne Mayor Bailey Yelding. Yelding passed away in the comfort of his home early Tuesday morning according to Daphne City Attorney Jay Ross.
"He'd been fighting cancer and was not successful in that," Ross said. "I don't know what type of cancer it was. We understand it was colon cancer which is tough on anybody."
Yelding served on the city council for over a decade before being appointed to the mayor's position in 2011 when Mayor Fred Small resigned. He then made history when he was elected the first black mayor in the city's history in October.
Jane Ellis has been Mayor Yelding's Executive Assistant for the last year and a half and said he will be deeply missed.
"Just sad but there's so many good things that he gave us that got us on track in the city and just sad," Ellis said. "People will miss him. I'll miss him walking through that door every morning."
Yelding's personality and leadership skills rubbed off on all of those around him. He led by example and with a hands-on approach to the mayor's seat.
"He really wanted to know what was going on in your department," said Daphne Police Chief Davis Carpenter. "Not just the police department, but in every department and wanted to know what you needed to make your department better."
Who will fill Mayor Yelding's post could be determined as early as a City Council meeting that's scheduled for Tuesday night. Ross said that he will make a recommendation to the council as to the best way to proceed.
"There is some law that I'm reviewing now that will result in either the council making a selection or council president will automatically ascend to that spot," Ross said. "The law is somewhat in conflict."
No matter who takes over as mayor, all agree they will have some big shoes to fill.
Yelding was 72. Funeral Arrangements have not yet been finalized.
Daphne Mayor, Bailey Yelding died at his home overnight according to Daphne City Attorney Jay Ross.
Yelding has been in poor health and had just taken a medical leave of absence. Funeral arrangements will be made by the family, but have not yet been confirmed.
Yelding made history after being elected the first black mayor in the city's history in October. He served on the city council for over a decade before being appointed to the mayor's position in 2011 when Fred Small resigned.
The Daphne City Council will hold a meeting at 6:30 Tuesday evening. Ross will make a recommendation on filling the mayor's post at that meeting.
Ross said the position could be filled by City Council President Ron Scott or by someone recommended by the council. FOX10's Hal Scheurich will have more on FOX10 News at 5 p.m.
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