A handful of family members, friends and invited media gathered at the gravesite of Congressman C.W. Bill Young on Wednesday as workers placed a simple, flat headstone to mark his final resting place.
The congressman was laid to rest in October after hundreds attended his wake and funeral, but until Wednesday there was no marker for his grave.
Young’s widow, Beverly, his son Patrick and family friend and Republican fundraiser Mel Sembler were among the few attendees. They cried and shared memories of Young well after the marker was placed. As the small crowd began to leave, Beverly Young knelt at his grave and sobbed.
Young died somewhat unexpectedly at age 82 on Oct. 17, days after announcing he was retiring at the end of his 22nd term.
Young was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1970 and held the seat until his death. Before that, he was the first Republican elected to the state Senate since Reconstruction. During his tenure in the House, Young managed to climb the ranks, eventually serving as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, a position that helped him earmark millions of dollars for local projects, including MacDill Air Force Base, Bay Pines VA Medical Center, a major reservoir in east Hillsborough County and numerous beach renourishment projects.
He was known for his bipartisan approach to politics, and speakers at his funeral included House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, and U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, the second-most powerful Democrat in the House.