Miami County Sheriff Charles Cox was remembered Thursday, Nov. 10, as a mentor, and a dedicated public servant who “defended the safety of every citizen” of the county.
Cox, 71, of Casstown died early Nov. 10 at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton. He had been sheriff seven terms and planned to retire at year’s end. He had battled health issues the past couple of years.
People gathered quickly along West Main Street outside the Miami County Safety Building and Courthouse when word spread later Thursday morning that the sheriff was being transported through Troy and past the sheriff’s office on the way to the Jamieson and Yannucci Funeral Home in Piqua.
Numerous law enforcement vehicles from the sheriff’s department and across the county escorted the hearse as it drove slowly by as past and current deputies, county employees and passersby stopped to pay tribute to the man first elected sheriff in 1988.
Among those saluting their leader was Chief Deputy Dave Duchak, who was elected as the new sheriff in Tuesday’s general election.
Duchak said Cox taught his employees to, “Always do right. Follow the law and do what people expect you to do. We have.”
A native of Piqua, Cox graduated from Piqua High School and served in the Army. He first worked at the Troy Police Department before running for sheriff.
The Ohio Revised Code permits the county commission to appoint a person to the elected office in an acting role until the county central committee of the party of the elected official appoints someone to fill the vacancy. Cox was a Republican.
The commissioners at their Thursday meeting extended condolences to the sheriff’s family and said it would be premature to comment on what action would be taken. They said they were consulting with their lawyer.
The Miami County Republican Party issued a statement saying thoughts and prayers were with the Cox family and friends.
“The Sheriff was a longtime loyal Republican office holder who defended the safety of every citizen of Miami County with dedication, strength and valor,” the statement said. “Now is a time to reflect on his many accomplishments as our sheriff over his 28 years of service to Miami County and pray for his family’s strength while dealing with their loss.”
County Prosecutor Tony Kendell said he first met Cox in the 1990s.
"He was a mentor and very dear friend," Kendell said.
Cox is survived by his wife Lynn; four children; and grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.