Madison County Sheriff dies from apparent heart attack

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RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) - Madison County is mourning the death of Sheriff Jerry Combs. He was working in his parents' garden Monday evening when he collapsed and suffered an apparent heart attack. Combs' father, Elvin, says he was always helping out.

"Told he he'd like to come up and plant a couple of rows of beans because me and mom can't raise a garden," said Elvin Combs.

"We kept hearing the plow and then all of a sudden we didn't hear it and it had been a while. I said, 'Elvin, I'm going to go check on Jerry,'. I saw the plow laying down in the garden and I knew something was wrong. I went down there and I found him laying there right by the gate," said Combs' mother, Bette.

Back at the Sheriff's Office, deputies said he was more than a boss.

"I've heard time and time again say the Sheriff's office is not about me, it's about my people that I have around me. He was more of a friend to me than a boss and it's like losing...almost to me it's like losing a parent," said Deputy Willard Reardon.

They've been getting phone calls from other agencies voicing their support and someone dropped off a wreath in memory of Sheriff Combs. His mother said that support has meant the world to the family.

"Oh I tell you, it's just been wonderful. It's not only family, it's all the friends," said Bette Combs.

Chief Deputy Mike Coyle will be interim sheriff. Deputies say Combs won't be easily replaced.

"He's always have a hardy hello, a strong handshake, and a laugh that would make you feel like you were part of the family," said Reardon.

Combs' visitation will be at Church on the Rock in Berea on Friday from 3PM to 9PM. His funeral will be Saturday at 11AM, again, at Church on the Rock.