Family and Friends Remember Rep. Lesley Vance

By: Dorothy Sherman

PHENIX CITY, AL – He was a husband, father and father-in-law.

"He told me just always treat people like, like they’re part of your family and that’s what we always tried to do,"  son-in-law Lance Brooks said.

A servant to the community is how many friends and family described the Alabama House member Lesley Vance whose district included both Lee and Russell counties.

Vance passed away Tuesday after family and friends said he battled colon cancer for about a year.

"He was always just, really, going out to the people and….it’s a sore loss for us,"  Russell County District 3 Commissioner Peggy Martin said.

Vance, who owned Vance Memorial Chapel in Phenix City started in the funeral business when he was only 18-years-old.  Then in his twenties Vance decided to serve the public in a different way, as a public official.  Vance eventually served two years as a Russell County Commissioner and among many things Russell County District 1 Commissioner Gentry Lee recalled Vance implementing a tag fee that would help pave dirt roads across the county.

Commissioner Lee described Vance as a friend. One he called "the big man".

"Not only big in stature, which he was, he was a large man, but his heart and soul were also big…I mean he would just do anything to help people…I mean he just always did."

Not only did Vance serve as a state representative and a county commissioner Vance also served the citizens of Russell County as coroner for 27 years.

Lee and Russell County Coroners said Vance was well-respected and as a legislator he was always on their side.

Representative Vance’s friends in the legislature said he was passionate about bills relating to insurance and consumer protections.  They also said Vance serving as the Chairman of the Banking and Insurance Committee as both a Democrat and Republican showed how he was respected by both parties alike.

And, in a statement Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard described Vance as a fine man, a fighter, and a great leader.

Vance was in his 21st year as a state representative when he passed.

According to Vance’s family there will be a visitation at Vance Memorial Chapel open to the public Thursday at noon.  Vance’s funeral is set for eleven on Friday at the Summerville Baptist Church in Phenix City.

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