By GRACE GADDY
Longtime Palestine City Council member James Yelverton is remembered for his service and commitment to the community by city officials, friends and family. The councilman died Monday after a battle with lung cancer transpiring over the last few months.
Yelverton passed away at 11:36 p.m. in the hospice unit at Greenbrier Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Palestine.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at First United Methodist Church, located at 422 S. Magnolia St. The public is invited to attend.
City Manager Wendy Ellis said the councilman's presence will be missed.
“Councilman Yelverton had served on the city council since May of 2001, and that shows a true commitment and dedication to his community,” Ellis said. “He worked diligently to represent the citizens of the Westwood neighborhood well throughout his time on council. Our condolences go out to his family. We will certainly feel the loss of his presence at City Hall.”
Yelverton represented District 4 on the Palestine City Council and also served as Mayor pro tem for several years. He was a loving father and husband and leaves behind a daughter and three sons, seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife Donna Mae, two brothers and one sister.
“He was a 'glass half-full kind of guy,'” John Macintire, his son-in-law, said.
The councilman was born in Riverside, Texas, to John and Mary Yelverton. He graduated from Sam Houston State University before serving as a radar operator for the United States Navy during the Korean War.
After service in the military, he worked in the moving and storage business before retiring in Palestine, where he became involved with city politics.
Mayor Therrell Thomas said his thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Yelverton’s family and friends during this difficult time.
“I am truly sorry for the family’s loss,” Thomas said in an email to the Herald-Press. “I appreciate Mr. Yelverton’s years of service to the city and the community. He will be missed.”
Ellis said at this point, the city is in contact with the Texas Secretary of State's office to determine what will be done in regard to Yelverton's position, since his place on the council “is an unexpired term.”
“I believe it's going to require a special election to be held, but how we get to that point we're still working on,” she said. “We're still working out the details.”