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Luther Cason: A Master of Firsts and 2020 Great Brooksvillian

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Luther Cason, distinguished this year as a Great Brooksvillian by the City of Brooksville, was truly a first among equals; one who, in truth, was a master of firsts.

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The first African-American mayor of the City of Brooksville. The first African-American named to the Brooksville City Council. Founder and CEO of Cason Funeral and Cremation Services, Cason Vaults and Monuments, and Cason and Cason Limousine Services in Brooksville, one who quickly earned the reputation as one of the largest black employers in Central Florida. 

“Luther Cason brought the leadership and experience of a successful businessman with the compassion of a good friend to the Council,” said Mayor Joe Bernardini, mayor of Brooksville. “I enjoyed the years we served together.”

The Brooksville City Council honored Luther Cason with a pair of resolutions; a City of Brooksville Proclamation in 2015, the year of his death, which acknowledged him as an “honorable community leader (who) acted as a humble public servant, and set policies by which to guide and grow our great city”; and an Appreciation Resolution in 1994, which lauded his “imagination, ingenuity, common sense, professionalism, proficiency, and good and friendly demeanor.”

“(He introduces) new, unique and far-reaching programs of service to the city of Brooksville for the advancement and betterment of the city of Brooksville and its inhabitants,” reads the Appreciation Resolution. “(He has) a kind, friendly, gentle and understanding attitude, deeming no matter too small for his attention and no situation too great for his just and well-reasoned decision.”

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Cason also shone as a business owner, says Brittany T. Sellers, Licensed Funeral Director in Charge at Cason Funeral Home.

“He was a trailblazer in Brooksville, and he set the foundation here at our business,” said Sellers. “His love for people came through in all he did. To this day, his name holds weight. It’s powerful.”

Cason’s record of community service also included numerous leadership roles, on the Board of Directors of Brooksville Regional Hospital, Spring Hill Regional, Habitat for Humanity, NAACP, Kiwanis Club, Salvation Army, Elks, Shriners, and the Masons. 

Still and all, the achievements of this Dade City native extended far beyond the borders of Brooksville. 

“Luther dedicated a significant portion of his life to bringing good into the world,” said Imani Asukile, President of the African American Heritage Society of East Pasco County. “He brought so much joy.”

Asukile also regards Cason as a social justice pioneer, one who campaigned to preserve time-honored African-American cemeteries in Pasco and Hernando counties, who oversaw the transformation of the original Moton High School in Brooksville, at one point a segregated high school for black students in Brooksville, into an inclusive place for community events, who worked extensively with the NAACP and the African American Heritage Society of East

Pasco County, who offered jobs to previously incarcerated young men with few employment opportunities, and who recorded and broadcast sermons from area churches on the WWJB radio station in Brooksville.

“He had the skill set and offered help wherever he could,” said Asukile. “He worked hard to transcend racial barriers in Brooksville.”

“He built up this community until his last breath.”

And above all, Luther Cason was a family man; a devoted husband to wife Mary and father of eight children, as well as a devoted son of Marie C. Brown and caring sibling.

“He was a big brother who looked out for his siblings and was a big help to our mother,” said Rejoyce Carter, Cason’s sister. “He was a great guy.”

Always a leader and the oldest of eight children, Carter says that young Luther Cason was an excellent student and 4H leader who–from the very beginning–displayed the mind, heart and spirit of a true leader.

“If Luther could,” says Rejoyce Carter, “He would have spread his arms and taken the whole world in.”

 

About the Great Brooksvillian Award:  

Every year the City of Brooksville calls for nominations from the community for exceptional citizens of the city who have gone above and beyond in service to their community. The Great Brooksvillian is one who “has made significant and positive contributions to the history, culture and/or economy of our community.”  The Great Brooksvillian Screening committee consists of five members who review the Great Brooksvillian nominations each year.

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