The news came so unexpected Monday morning. And the rest of the day was filled with sadness.

I first met Doyle York in September 2007, when I started at The Sentinel and the late, great Ken Bonner took me around to meet some folks.

Doyle was serving as chief deputy in the sheriff’s office. Each day I would go see him to get police reports. From that first day, we just hit it off. He was just a good guy.

As I strolled through Facebook posts earlier this week, I realized a lot of people felt the same way.

A 1975 graduate of Pisgah High School, Doyle worked as a welder for four years before joining the Scottsboro Police Department. He worked there for eight years, rising to the rank of lieutenant.

He served on the front line, where he told me once, “you deal with a lot of situations from tragic accidents to disputes.”

After eight years, in 1988, Doyle left the police department and worked in the insurance business for two years.

He was a lawman, though, and got back in it, joining the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in August 1990. He worked his way up to investigator, a position he held for 16 years.

Doyle became the chief deputy in January 2007 after Dennis Miller was elected sheriff. He served in that position for a little over two years before retiring.

We lost touch, at least on a daily basis, when he retired. His passing Monday left me remembering the good stuff, visiting each morning. There was also the time, after we bought our house, Doyle came and basically seeded our yard.

When I tried to pay him, he wouldn’t have it. Just a good guy.

On his final day as chief deputy, I was honored to get to eat lunch with him and Miller at Captain D’s. That was a fun day.

He will be missed, without a doubt. As someone said this week, they just don’t make them like Doyle York anymore.

DeWayne Patterson is the editor and publisher of the Jackson County Sentinel. He can be reached by email at

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