The Honorably Retired Sheriff Michael Humphreys dies unexpectedly yesterday in Las Vegas, Neveda.
County Commissioner Jim Johnson said Humphreys was in Vegas for a basketball tournament when he suffered a heart attack a few weeks ago.
He remained in Vegas to recover from surgery.
"We understood that he was getting better and obviously this was a big shock," said Johnson.
Johnson said Humphreys was a true leader in the community.
"Mike was one of those people that could disagree with you and do it very agreeably," said Johnson. "Mike was the kind of guy that really helped bring people together and I think that's one of the characteristics that made him a great Sheriff in this community."
Humphreys became Deputy Sheriff with the Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office in 1976.
He moved up the ranks working Patrol, as Detective including undercover narcotics investigations, as a Sergeant and as a Captain, then eventually becoming Sheriff in 1997.
Sgt. Bob Clendaniel said Humphreys hired him and had been a mentor ever since.
"He was one of those guys, it didnt matter what was going on in your life, family or personal, you could walk in, sit down and talk with him at any time," said Clendaniel. "He always had an open door policy."
Serving as Sheriff for 13 years, Humphreys retired in 2010.
He wasn't done serving the Walla Walla community just yet.
In October 2011, Humphreys was appointed to the Walla Walla Fair & Frontier Days Board of Directors where his skills and expertise were put to use making the fairgrounds a safer place.
"He was a key fit for that. He brought in all of his experience and background and we had worked with him as Sheriff, he knew it from the inside out," said Sam Waldron, a fellow board member. "He'll be missed by everyone in this community. It's a big void that will never be filled and I'll miss him. He was a great man."
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