A host of dignitaries from Washington to Tallahassee to Tampa Bay will be on hand to honor the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young at his memorial service Thursday.
But one particularly prominent politician won’t be welcome at First Baptist Indian Rocks: Charlie Crist.
Young’s widow, Beverly Young, emailed the former Republican governor and likely future Democratic gubernatorial nominee, instructing him to stay away.
This e-mail is to officially advise you that your presence at my husband’s memorial services will be unacceptable. I have watched over the years, as Bill had, your transparent attempts to manipulate the political arena. I don’t want my husband’s memorial service to be another opportunity for that and I will not tolerate anyone turning this into a platform for political gain…
Widow of Congressman Bill Young
Precisely what caused the bad blood was not immediately clear, though some Young allies were turned off with the way Crist in 2009 held a cattle call of sorts, summoning Young and other potential candidates for Crist to appoint to the unfinished term of U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez. Young showed up in sneakers and a baggy polo, as if Crist had interrupted his lawn mowing, and told a surprised Gov. Crist that he had no interest in the appointment.
Mrs. Young said she also emailed Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice and St. Petersburg lawyer Jessica Ehrlich — both Democrats who ran against her husband — telling them they were unwelcome at the memorial service.
“BILL SPECIFICALLY said he didn’t want his memorial service to be a platform for local politicians to work the crowds. He’s right. It’s not only wrong, it’s disgusting to see that happen,” she said. “HE GAVE me the names of the people he wished wouldn’t show up, that was just three and we both know I don’t care about political correctness so I took it upon myself to honor his wishes. I’ve been at many political funerals and listened to locals standing in groups planning their strategies. God gave people souls, but some don’t know to take advantage of that God given gift.”