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Union County Sheriff Jerry Whitehead dies from heart failure

8:12 AM, Dec 20, 2013   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: Community remembers Sheriff Whitehead

Video: Union County Sheriff Jerry Whitehead dies from heart failure

Gerald M. (Jerry) Whitehead -- 1953-2013

UNION COUNTY, Fla. -- Long-time Union County Sheriff Gerald M. Whitehead died Wednesday in Gainesville after suffering cardiac failure. He was 60-years-old.

According to the Gainesville Sun, Whitehead complained of a flu-like illness and was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday. He died Wednesday afternoon.

Whitehead was the longest serving Sheriff in the State of Florida.

The Sheriff, known as Jerry, was admitted to the North Florida Medical Center Tuesday with a brief illness and passed away Wednesday afternoon, according to the Union County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Whitehead was elected in 1984 and started serving Union County as Sheriff in 1985.

Whitehead was married and had six children.

The Union County Sheriff's Office issued a statement Wednesday:

"Our prayers are with the entire Whitehead Family and we all mourn the loss of our Sheriff. Arrangements will be released when available."

Anyone who needs further information is asked to contact Chief Garry Seay and 386-496-2501.

The Florida Police Chiefs Association issued the following statement Thursday about the death of Union County Sheriff Jerry Whitehead:

"We are deeply saddened by the unexpected loss of Union County Sheriff Jerry Whitehead. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sheriff Whitehead's family and friends, as well as with his colleagues at the Union County Sheriff's Office and throughout the Florida law enforcement community. Our state has lost a true law enforcement leader, and he will be greatly missed," said Chief Philip Thorne, Springfield Police Department and President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association.

The Bradford County Sheriff's Office posted the following to their Facebook page Wednesday:

As the Sheriff of Bradford County, I ask that we keep our friends & neighbors of Union County in our Prayers. Sheriff Jerry Whitehead was not only a personal friend and mentor, he was a husband, father and brother. This I know, he loved his family and community more than anything else...I was Blessed, because he was my Friend!!!

The Baker County Sheriff's Office posted a graphic to their Facebook page Wednesday with the following message:

Our deepest condolences to the family of Union County Sheriff's Jerry Whitehead and the men and women of the Union County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff Whitehead, you will be missed by your friends at the Baker County Sheriff's Office.

Funeral arrangements for Sheriff Whitehead are as follows:

Visitation will be on Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at First Christian Church in Lake Butler and the Service is on Saturday at 2 p.m. at First Christian Church in Lake Butler.

First Coast News

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