Newt Adams, who served as sheriff from 1968 until 1980, died at Northside Hospital Cherokee.
Born in 1919, the 93-year-old was known for his compassion, care and concern for everyone around him, Sheriff Roger Garrison said.
“Growing up in Cherokee I knew about him, especially with my interest in the service,” Garrison said. “As an adult, I knew him on a professional level and he was truly a great gentleman and a great sheriff.”
Garrison credited Adams, who served in the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II, as a true mentor who he continued to call “Sheriff,” even though Garrison took on the role 20 years ago.
“His political skills and his dealing and working with people are truly inspiring,” he said. “He is truly an icon of a sheriff that was known and loved by everyone,” he said.
Elected sheriff in 1968, Adams began his legacy with only three department cars and three deputies to patrol a county of more than 14,000 square miles.
Superior Court Judge Frank C. Mills, who came to Cherokee County in 1974, said Adams did a lot with very little.
“He did the most with what he had,” Mills said. “When I came here, he only had 10 deputies. I think the citizens can be proud of the legacy he had as sheriff. We’ve had a good string of sheriffs and I think he certainly fits into that mold.”
Mills said Adams knew everyone, and everyone knew him.
“He was a big, tall, imposing fellow with a big Stetson hat,” Mills said. “Very dignified, very quiet, very reserved.”
Annette Fleming, former Clerk of Superior Courts during the time Adams was in office, said Adams always treated everyone the same.
“He was just a good, friendly sheriff,” Fleming said. “If you were seeing him out on the road with his big hat on and in his big, long Cadillac, he was always waving at everybody and just being a gentile person. Everywhere you met the sheriff, regardless of the situation, he was always very kind and polite.”
Adams was a member of Hickory Flat Masonic Lodge 205, Canton Moose Lodge, Sheriff’s Association, Cherokee Shrine Yarab Temple, American Legion, Mt. Zion Baptist Church and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Garrison said the sheriff’s office intends to provide a special escort for Adams’ funeral service Saturday at 2 p.m. at Darby Funeral Home. Hickory Flat Lodge 205 will be in charge of the Masonic Graveside Service at Cherokee Memorial Park.
The family will receive friends Thursday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Adams is survived by his twin sons Bobby Adams of Waleska and Johnny Adams of Canton and girlfriend Nita Pollard of Canton, as well as grandchildren Katie and Charlie Brown, Tracy Maddox, Stacy Adams, Amy and Kevin Gordon and seven great-grandchildren.