Saying Goodbye

Published 9:29 am Monday, December 31, 2012

Lawrence County loses public servants in 2012


In 2012, Lawrence County lost a number of people who will be remembered for the contributions they brought to their community.

In February, two of those giants died.

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One was sitting Lawrence County Commissioner Paul Herrell, 67, who died at King’s Daughters Medical Center. The Waterloo native was in the second year of his second term. The lifelong Republican first took county office as commissioner in 1999, serving one term.

He returned to politics in 2010, winning the November general election for his seat once more on the commission. Herrell was known for his devotion to the county and remembered especially for his work in developing the Union-Rome Sewer District and the Lawrence County Emergency Medical Services.

Also in February Harold Spears, former crime-fighting prosecutor and later probate judge, died at the age of 92. From 1953 to 1961, Spears was elected and served as prosecuting attorney for Lawrence County.

Together with Sheriff Carl Rose, he waged a campaign against gambling and vice. He tried numerous murder and felony cases without an assistant prosecutor. Three of those murder cases were subject of stories published in National Detective Magazines.

In October Coal Grove icon Hayward Jae Roush died at the age of 86. Known as the community supporter who preferred to stay behind the scenes, Roush was honored by his home village when the Coal Grove community center was named for him.

Two months later the village of Proctorville lost one of its most productive mayors when Jimmy Lee Buchanan died at the age of 68. Buchanan served 12 years as mayor during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Among the accomplishments during Buchanan’s term were building a new water plant, a new water tank and several thousand of feet of in-ground water line, plus adding a third traffic lane to the main street running through the village and a new river park.