Memorial services for former State Sen. Edward Vincent Jr., the first Black mayor of Inglewood, will be held Saturday, Sept. 7, at 11 a.m. at Inglewood Mortuary, 1206 Centinela Ave., in the Galleria. Attendees should enter on the Florence side.

Vincent died on Aug. 31. He was 78.

The viewing will be held Sept. 6 from 3-8 p.m. at the mortuary.

The death was announced by Sen. Roderick D. Wright, who was elected to succeed Vincent in 2008.

Vincent, who was born June 23, 1934, in Steubenville, Ohio, loved to compete, which enabled him to win an athletic scholarship to the University of Iowa in 1952. While there he played football and earned All Big Ten and All-American honors.

As the third draft choice of the 1956 Los Angeles Rams, Vincent played in several games before being sidelined by injuries.

He later went on to earn a bachelor of arts degree in corrections and social welfare from California State University Los Angeles. He then embarked upon a 35-year career with the Los Angeles County Probation Department.

In another facet of his life, Vincent was elected to the Inglewood Unified School District’s Board of Trustees, where he served as president from 1978 to 1979.

He was later elected to represent the residents of District No. 4 on the Inglewood City Council from 1979 to 1983.

In 1983, Vincent began his term as the first African American mayor of Inglewood and was re-elected for three additional terms. He was also a commissioner on the State of California World Trade Commission.

From local politics, Vincent stepped up to begin working at the state level, when he served as a member of the California State Assembly from 1996 to 2000, representing the 51st Assembly District. In the Assembly, he chaired the Elections, Reapportionment and Constitutional Amendments Committee as well as the California Horse Racing Industry Committee.

Between 2000 and 2008 Vincent served in the California State Senate and represented the 25th Senatorial District, which included Compton, Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lynwood, Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Pedro, and the Palos Verdes Peninsula. He was a member of the Senate Committees on Agriculture, Governmental Organization, and Health. He also chaired the Select Committee on the Horse racing industry. In this function, he authored legislation on gambling licenses, state teacher retirement benefits, horse racing, and community care facilities. He was forced to leave the Senate in 2008 due to term limits.

Among the awards Vincent received during his long public service career was the Cuactemoc Award for outstanding public service on behalf of farm workers. It was awarded Oct. 24, 2000, from La Cooperativa Campesina de California. This is a statewide association of service providers implementing Workforce Investment Act Title I Section 167 and farmworker service programs.

The largest park in Inglewood is named for him.

Vincent is survived by his wife Marilyn; two daughters, Dawn Vincent and Valerie Vincent-Taylor; three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

City News Service also contributed to this story.