- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 1, 2015

TYLERTOWN, Miss. (AP) - Funeral services are scheduled Thursday for longtime Walthall County Sheriff Duane Dillon.

The Enterprise-Journal reports (https://bit.ly/1PsH60D ) Dillon, whose public service also included stints as a justice court judge, constable and sheriff of Pike County, died of cancer Monday at his home. He was 67.

Visitation is scheduled 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Capps Funeral Home in Tylertown. Services are 2 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home with burial at Star Hill Cemetery.

Dillon had been sheriff of Walthall County since 1997, when he won a special election after being appointed earlier that year. He also served a term as Pike County sheriff from 1984-87.

Dillon was in his fourth full term of sheriff of Walthall County, with only a month left in office, at the time of his death.

The sheriff’s department posted a message on its Facebook page saying, “Prayers for the Dillon family in this time of sadness. RIP Sheriff Duane Dillon, our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

The sheriff, who had recently fought health issues, ran for re-election this year, seeking a fifth term. He maintained his health was not a factor in his ability to serve, but eight other candidates sought to replace him. Dillon lost in the Democratic primary in August, finishing third.

Walthall County Circuit Clerk Vernon Alford said Dillon had easily won re-election before then.

“He was a well-liked individual and he was very helpful,” Alford said. “He had a good sense of humor and people just liked him. The county is going to miss him.”

Franklin County Sheriff James Newman remembered his longtime friendship with Dillon.

“I’ve known Duane for right at 40 years. I was working for state narcotics and I met him a few years earlier,” he said. “He was the first person who gave me a donation for my sheriff campaign expenses the first time I ran in 1982.”

Newman vividly recalled the conversation:

“I never will forget it. I was talking about running and he reached in his pocket and said, ‘Here.’ I said, ‘Man I ain’t taking your money,’ and he said ‘Yeah,’ and handed it to me. I tried to pay him back through the years and he never would take it.”

Newman said Dillon would always tell him, “The Lord has been good to me. You can’t afford to pay me back, James. It’s a gift.”

The two served back-to-back terms in the Mississippi Sheriff’s Association in the early 2000s, Newman said.

“We worked good together throughout the years,” he said. “If you needed somebody and you called him, he was there.”

Newman said Dillon was well known and well liked through all of southwest Mississippi.

“I valued his friendship,” he said. “He was a good friend.”

Walthall County Board of Supervisors attorney Conrad Mord said supervisors have not made a decision about who will lead the sheriff’s office until newly-elected sheriff Kyle Breland takes over in January.

“The board will meet Monday and it will be on the agenda,” he said. “They’re going to wait out of respect for the family. (Dillon) was a longtime public servant.”


Information from: Enterprise-Journal, https://www.enterprise-journal.com

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