Long County Sheriff Cecil Nobles died at 12:30 a.m. today in Wayne Memorial Hospital in Jesup where he had been in hospice care, the sheriff’s office said.
Sheriff Nobles was 76 and was beginning his 44th year as sheriff of the mostly rural county, Chief Deputy Robert Berry said.
He was also the second longest serving sheriff in the U.S.
Nobles had been hospitalized about a month, he said.
The sheriff had taught school in Long County before he was elected sheriff.
Berry said funeral arrangements remain incomplete.
The obviously distraught Berry said he is in charge of the sheriff’s office.
“We have to keep it going,’’ he said.
“Sheriff Nobles was part of a vanishing tradition in Georgia of long-serving, old school sheriffs,” U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston said. “In many ways he ran Long County.”
Anyone who wanted something done with one phone call only had to call Nobles, who knew just who to call among his extensive government contacts that included elected officials and agency heads, Kingston said.
“He fought for everything as if it was the last chance between Long County’s survival and its bankruptcy. He secured funding for countless projects and his legacy in South Georgia will be long lasting,” Kingston said.
Nobles also never failed to thank people for their help, Kingston said.
“I was proud to call him a friend,” Kingston said.
As was Sybil Lynn, a former Jesup city council member and owner of the iconic Sybil’s Family Restaurant in Jesup. Nobles drove from Ludowici, the Long County seat, across the Altamaha River to Sybil’s for lunch every day he was in town.
“He was here every day. He was a special person and one of our favorite customers. I’m really going to miss him,” Lynn said.
The nation’s longest serving sheriff, Dwight Radcliff of Pickaway County, Ohio, announced in December that he would leave office at the end of 2012. He is beginning his 48th year in office.
Read more at Jacksonville.com: http://jacksonville.com/news/georgia/2012-01-09/story/georgias-longest-serving-sheriff-dies#ixzz1iynbgYvu