‘A VOICE FOR THE PEOPLE;’ Police Jury member Yearby remembered for being outspoken

Published 4:03 pm Wednesday, August 3, 2022

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VIDALIA, La. — When Willie Douglas “Bill” Yearby ran for Concordia Parish Police Juror in District 2 in 2020, his campaign slogan was, “A voice for the people,” said his daughter, Carrie Schiele.

“He took that seriously. He was that voice,” she said.

Yearby, a lifelong resident of Vidalia, Louisiana, died Monday at the age of 72. He had a clear, baritone-like voice and a natural gift as a public speaker, Schiele said.

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When he ran for office, he planned to use that gift to help people, which he did.

She recalled him riding around on a four-wheeler, talking to neighbors.

“He never met a stranger. He was a dynamic speaker and would do anything for anybody,” Schiele said. “He said the people needed someone to speak up for them and he was going to be that person to get the job done. He was doing that.”

District 4-A Police Juror Genesia Allen said she was shocked to learn Yearby had succumbed to an illness. Yearby missed the last police jury meeting in July but was present before that.

“He carried a strong voice on the board,” Allen said. She and Yearby were both elected in 2020. While still in his first term, Allen said Yearby brought unique expertise to the police jury having retired from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers where he worked for more than 40 years as an equipment mechanic.

“His whole family is very tied in with Concordia Parish. He had his own unique way of doing everything,” Allen said. “He will be greatly missed.”

Yearby was also a member and deacon at the St. Thomas Baptist Church, a deacon at the St. Stephen’s Baptist Church and an honorary deacon at St. James Baptist Church.

He served on the Public Works committees of the police jury. He also served the LaSalle Community Action Agency in Harrisonburg, Louisiana, as a board member.

Allen said the police jury will have to appoint an interim board member to fill Yearby’s seat on the police jury until the next election in 2023.

Yearby is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Marie, and his children, Hannibal Yearby and his wife, Courtney, of Natchez; Schiele and her husband, Devonte, of Ridgecrest, Louisiana; Kimberly Washington and her husband, Edward Washington Jr., of Houston, Texas; and Charlotte Yearby of Shreveport, Louisiana. He is also survived by his brother, Johnny Yearby Sr. of Vidalia; his sister, Emma Scott of Woodville; eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren as well as nieces, nephews, cousins and other relatives he deeply cared for.

Hannibal Yearby said he would miss his dad “always bothering him” the most.

“We called each other every day, all day,” he said.

He added his dad loved to go fishing and hunting whenever he could and loved working in his garden. Hannibal recalled a time he went hunting alone and had to call his dad for help finding a spike that he killed.

“He found it and told me, ‘Take my picture.’ He took that picture like he had killed it,” he said. He let his dad take the credit for the dear and they cleaned it together.

Funeral arrangements are scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, at St. Thomas Baptist Church in Levee Heights Addition in Ferriday, where Yearby served as a deacon, with Rev. Leon Dixon officiating. Burial will follow at the Vidalia Cemetery. Visitation is scheduled for Friday evening from 4 to 6 p.m. at Concordia Funeral Home.