Tifton Gazette

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January 21, 2013

Former Sheriff Edd Walker dies

TIFTON — A long-time sheriff known for his fairness and willingness to give people another chance died at his home Monday. Former Tift County Sheriff Edd Walker, 84, died at his residence of congestive heart failure.

Walker worked with the Tift County Sheriff’s Office from 1960 until 1996. He served as a deputy for over 11 years and as Tift County sheriff for 24, from 1973 until 1996.

Current Tift County Sheriff Gene Scarbrough said that he met Walker, who was a sheriff’s deputy, when he began his career as a trooper with the Georgia State Patrol in 1979.

“He was a good, honest man and he cared about people,” Scarbrough said. “He had a lot of compassion for the people he served.”

Scarbrough said Walker tried to talk with people who he knew were going to get into serious trouble if they didn’t stop what they were doing and convince them to behave differently.

“I’ve seen him on calls and he would try to tell people they didn’t need to be doing this or that,” Scarbrough said. “He was firm when he had to be, but he was fair.”

Scarbrough said that, even recently, Walker would speak with people he didn’t know in a restaurant or other locations and stop and shake their hands.

“That pretty much sums up Sheriff Walker,” Scarbrough said.

Walker gave Gary Vowell, former Tift County sheriff, his first job in law enforcement at the old jail in 1975 when Vowell was 19.

“He was inspirational in helping me get on at the GSP after that,” Vowell said. “He’s just like family. There are a lot of great men who came up through this community, but there was no better or upstanding man than Edd Walker. I never felt like I filled those shoes of his. He was mighty good to the less fortunate and he taught me a lot of lessons about life and hot to treat people.”

Vowell said he could always call on Walker — and did so many times during his 16 years as sheriff.

“He was my mentor and I thank the Lord he let him be here those 16 years,” Vowell said.

Major Bobby Brannen said Walker also gave him a chance in 1976 and hired him at the age of 19 to work in the investigation division.

“I was a kid with a little over a year in law enforcement,” Brannen said.  “I’ve been here ever since.”

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