BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – On Tuesday afternoon, funeral arrangements were announced for retired Birmingham Police Department Deputy Chief Leroy Stover who passed away last Thursday. Stover was the city’s first Black police officer sworn into the force in 1966.
“I’m going to miss him; I’m going to miss him an awful lot,” said former Birmingham Police Chief Johnnie Johnson Jr.
Stover’s family is incredibly proud of his life and accomplishments. His brother and sister said he was a leader his whole life.
“He was the valedictorian of his senior class and I think he was one of the first that graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham,” said Stover’s brother, Norman.
Stover’s sister, Josephine Wallace, reflected on details about his everyday life that helped him achieve these accomplishments.
“He loved to read and that’s what helped him accomplish the things that he did in his life,” Wallace said.
Both Norman and Wallace said their brother was someone they admired.
“If I had a question, I always seeked his advice on it and he would give me sound advice; Good, sound advice,” Wallace said.
Norman said since his wife’s passing, his brother was the best friend he ever had apart from her.
“I’m going to miss that closeness and his camaraderie and everything,” Norman said.
Johnson said Stover was a trustworthy man. Johnson was the department’s second Black police officer, sworn in the day after Stover. Johnson said the two of them grew very close from their experience.
“I know that we expect for folks that we know to live you know how many years, but it doesn’t always come that way but this just sort of got me. It really did,” Johnson said.
The memorial service for Stover will be Thursday at noon. Some of the speakers honoring his life will be Mayor Randall Woodfin, Police Chief Scott Thurmond and Sheriff Mark Pettway, along with others.