Lafayette County’s sheriff of nearly 50 years died at the age of 76. East took office in 1972, and will most likely go down as the longest running sheriff in the state.
Alan Willburn, chief investigator for the sheriff’s department, issued a statement on Saturday regarding East’s passing:
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, 2018 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.
Mayor Robyn Tannehill also commented in a tweet released on the day of his passing.
“Sheriff Buddy East will be remembered as the longest tenured sheriff in the State of Mississippi, a public servant who defined what true service looked like, a wise counselor, a dear friend, a man who has left a mark on every corner of our community. We will miss you, my friend.”
Chief deputy John Hill will be the interim sheriff and will complete the rest of East’s term until December of 2019. He has been with the department for 25 years.
The funeral for Buddy East was held on Sept. 14 at North Oxford Baptist Church and was attended by over 2,000 people.