'He was a good man': Former Sheriff Waddell remembered for service
Former Sheriff Waddell remembered for service
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 12:00 AM
Hubert Glen Waddell, who served as Sheriff of Neshoba County for five terms before his retirement in 2003, was remembered this week as a good and honest man who loved his family and his community.
The hearse carrying the body of former Neshoba County Sheriff Glen Waddell passes under an American flag the Philadelphia and Choctaw fire departments set up near Williamsville on the way to the cemetery.
Waddell, 72, died Friday in Anderson Regional Medical Center in Meridian after an extended illness.
He retired as Sheriff on Dec. 31, 2003, after serving 20 years. He was a county constable the prior eight years.
Waddell was honored as Philadelphia and Neshoba County's 2003 Citizen of the Year.
When an official of the Community Development Partnership notified him of his selection, an emotional Waddell had just received word that the body of a young missing girl had been recovered in the county and he was too preoccupied to comprehend.
It was only after the CDP officials returned a second time that he understood the significance of the honor.
Friends and family said there were many other incidences where Waddell's service to his community came before himself.
Just days before his retirement, Waddell suffered a non-serious gunshot wound to his left hand after he and other officers were involved in a shootout at a house in the Stallo community in which a man was killed.
A pellet also struck a deputy's nose, during the incident.
The man had previously attacked the sheriff and a deputy with a baseball bat.
Waddell began his law enforcement career in 1976 when he was elected to his first term as constable. During that period he operated a body shop both day and night on Mississippi 15 south to earn a living for his wife and children.
The constable job soon demanded more and more of his attention and often took him away from his business.
Those early cases, however, instilled a desire for community service in the man who would dedicate the rest of life to law enforcement.
He first took office as sheriff in 1984.
There were times, particularly in the early years, when Waddell said he felt he needed to be with his family but his job as the county's top law enforcement officer always came first.
When accepting the Citizen of the Year award in 2003, he told those in attendance that he always felt that he should be alongside his deputies when responding to calls, believing that his experience could prevent one of them from getting hurt.
Family members, friends and former and present city, county, tribal and state law enforcement officers packed the chapel of John E. Stephens Funeral Home Monday afternoon for Waddell's services.
The officers' badges were covered with black cloth.
Flags at city hall and the Police Department flew at half-staff in Waddell's memory. City police and fire units were stationed at intersections as the longtime sheriff's funeral procession made its way to Mt. Carmel Cemetery off county Road 361. An American flag hoisted from ladder trucks from Philadelphia and Choctaw fire departments flew across Mississippi 15 south at Williamsville as the procession made its way to his final burial site.
Waddell was described as a good and honest man, who was always humble, compassionate and understanding.
He was never arrogant, many recalled, even when making unruly arrests.
Grandson Kyle Barrett lovingly referred to Waddell as his "Paw Paw" and his best friend,
He said his grandfather had an unselfish desire to make his community a safer place to raise a family.
"I once asked him why he chose law enforcement when he had a booming business in auto repair," Barrett said. "He said he 'wanted to make a difference in my community.'"
During his law enforcement career, Barrett said Waddell was a servant and friend to everyone.
"He chose no sides. You respected him. He respected you. It did not matter what title you possessed. It did not matter what title you did not possess. Everyone was all the same to him. These attributes are exactly what gained him so much respect from many who were and still are blessed by his unique generosity."
Barrett said it became evident when he was still a youngster that his grandfather was not only his hero but the community's hero as well.
The Rev. John Stephens said that Waddell's visitation Sunday at the funeral home drew a continuous long line of family and friends for over seven hours.
That shows the concern this community has for Sheriff Glen Waddell, Ms. Sarah and their family, he said.
"Glen Waddell had a good name that fit a good man that carried a good heart," said Stephens, who served as Waddell's pastor for four years during his first term in office.
Stephens and the Rev. Mack Alford officiated at the funeral.
"I can count on one hand the times he was not at church," Stephens said. "He was sometimes late, sometimes he'd wear his uniform, but he was always there."
Stephens said he had never heard anyone say anything negative about the former sheriff, noting that Waddell even gained the respect of those he arrested.
Alford recalled growing up with Waddell off Gum Street across from the railroad tracks in west Philadelphia.
"Our families meshed together," Alford said. "We were dirt farmers in town."
He recalled Waddell selling crickets and killing rabbits to sell for spending money.
When someone in the area started selling cats under the guise of rabbits, Waddell thought his business was ruined.
"He started leaving one foot on his rabbits," Alford said, with a laugh. "He cured that."
Alford said that their neighborhood in the Gum Street area raised a doctor, a pharmacist, teachers, two preachers and a sheriff of Neshoba County.
"Glen was a fair person in all his business dealings, whether he was selling crickets and rabbits or working in his automobile business," Alford said.
"He respected people. He even loved his enemies."
Alford recalled a time when Waddell arrested an entire family on serious charges.
"It later came up that they were in need and Glen was the first to say 'we need to help them.'"
Waddell was a gentle person who knew when to be tough and when to be easy.
"He didn't rush either one of them," Alford said.
He set precedence and a pattern for law enforcement officers to follow, he said.
Among Waddell's survivors are his wife of 49 years, Sarah Waddell; a son, Sheriff Tommy Waddell; a daughter, Sharon Waddell Lewis; and five grandchildren.