Long-time Cherokee County Coroner Earl Darby has announced he will be retiring from the position at the end of his current term.

“I have been honored to serve (the public) since Jan. 1, 1993 and to have been elected seven times,” Darby said in an email to the Cherokee Ledger-News last Tuesday. “It is time that I step aside and enjoy more family time and continue growing our family business. I want to thank the citizens of Cherokee County for the confidence to serve you for 28 years. I would also be remiss if I didn’t thank my wife, Olene, and my family for supporting me all those years and being forgiving as I missed so many family events as I served.”

Darby is owner of Darby Funeral Home, 480 E. Main St., Canton.

Darby’s term of office will end on Dec. 31, 2020, and he explained he chose to announce his retirement now in order to allow those who may be interested in serving the county as its coroner more time to plan and prepare for the 2020 election. The role of coroner is to determine the cause, manner and circumstance of deaths, especially those under violent or unusual circumstances.

“The Cherokee Sheriff’s Office has worked closely with Earl Darby for decades,” Sheriff Frank Reynolds said. “He has been an outstanding coroner, and the quality of work from the coroner’s office under Earl’s leadership has been impeccable. Earl has honorably served the citizens of Cherokee County, not only as coroner, but as a businessman and a volunteer.”

Chief Marshal Ron Hunton of the Cherokee Marshal’s Office described Darby as someone who has done his job with professionalism and compassion.

“He has always been willing to help the community,” Hunton said. “He’s always been easy to work with and very cooperative.”

Having known Darby for more than 20 years, Hunton said he sees Darby as a dear friend and a good man, while also feeling that it will be very difficult to replace someone like him.

“He has meant a lot to me, and he has meant a lot to the county,” Hunton said. “He should be lauded for all that he has done.”

Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services Assistant Fire Chief Eddie Robinson said Darby has done a remarkable job over the years in what is a difficult job.

“He has been a pleasure to work with. I can’t say enough good things about him,” Robinson said.

CFES Public Information Officer Tim Cavender agreed with Robinson, expressing the sentiment that Darby has always responded when the fire department has needed him and that he has been good to work with over the years.

“We appreciate the valuable partnership we have with Coroner Darby and the Cherokee County Coroner’s Office,” Woodstock Police Department Chief Calvin Moss said.

“His service to the citizens of Cherokee County, through the Coroner’s Office and his volunteer efforts, is commendable. We wish him well on his future endeavors and look forward to a continued partnership with the Cherokee County Coroner’s Office.”

Chief Mike Carswell of the Holly Springs Police Department added, “Earl Darby has reached out to law enforcement in more ways than can be remembered. The efforts of his office have not only made our professional investigations easier, his personal efforts have made my position as the chief of police easier. He’s been good for us, and good to me. I will miss him.”

Officials with the Cherokee County Board of Elections said the qualifying window for those interested in running for the position of coroner will open on Monday, March 2 and will close on Friday, March 6.

Last Tuesday, Darby thanked all the public safety, judicial and medical personnel, as well as the deputy coroners he has worked with during his term of office.

“It is my hope that the next Coroner of Cherokee County will be as richly blessed as I have been,” Darby said.

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