By Alyssa Schnugg
Lafayette County Sheriff F.D. “Buddy East” died this morning at the age of 76 after a brief illness, according to Lafayette County Coroner Rocky Kennedy.
East has held the office since 1972 and was serving his 12th term. He was the longest currently-serving Sheriff in Mississippi before his death, and also the longest serving Sheriff in the history of the state.
His son, Joey East, is currently chief of the Oxford Police Department.
East died at 10:20 this morning, according to the sheriff’s department that released the following statement.
“It is with great sadness that the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department releases the passing of Sheriff F.D. “Buddy” East. The Sheriff’s passing came on September 8, 201,8 at 10:20 A.M. at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford, Mississippi after a brief illness. The Sheriff was surrounded by his family, friends and his Deputies. The Sheriff is survived by wife Mary East, son Joey East and daughter Melissa Westbrook, daughter Shannon Lomax, son Steve Lewis and son Scott Lewis and several grandchildren. Words cannot describe the impact and legacy left on Lafayette County and the entire Law Enforcement community in the state of Mississippi over his 46 years of honorable service. We ask that you respect the family’s privacy during this time of grief. Arrangements to be announced by Waller Funeral Home, Oxford, Mississippi in coming days. Blessed are the peacemakers”.
Lafayette County Supervisor and Board President Jeff Busby said East was not only sheriff but a mentor and friend to many.
“He was a legend,” Busby said. “He was so well respected, not just here but across the entire state. It’s a tremendous loss for this community. He was as good of a man as he was a sheriff. He has given so much of his life to serving this community and he loved his job as much today, on the day he died, as his first day in office. He died doing what he loved. The Lord gave him what he wanted.”
Busby said Chief Deputy Jon Hill will assume the duties of sheriff until the Board of Supervisors can vote during a special meeting Wednesday to appoint a replacement until the next election in 2019.
This is a developing story.