“He was just such an icon in the county”

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Former sheriff and longtime farmer laid to rest today

By Lisa King

Harold Tingle’s funeral is today, but people all around the county have been paying their respects to him since he passed away Friday morning.

From the lowering of the flag at the courthouse, to the ceremony by the Shelbyville FOP at Shannon’s Funeral Home last night at his visitation, to an honor guard from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at Grove Hill, the community of Shelby County has shown how much they thought of him.

Tingle, 77, was not only a former deputy and Shelby County Sheriff, from 1990 to 2002, and Shelby County Jailer in 1997, but also what his friends have called an “icon” in the community.

His death from complications from a fall in mid-May stunned and saddened the community, said Shelby County Sheriff Mike Armstrong, who had worked for Tingle as a chief deputy during Tingle’s time as sheriff.

“He’s took a lot of lumps in his life, got hurt doing farm work and other things, and still kept going strong, and now to have something like this happen,” said Armstrong.

Tingle had been hospitalized at the University of Louisville Hospital since falling in his bedroom May 11, when he struck his head on a nightstand, breaking his neck.

Tingle had been doing farm work that very morning, helping his brother Joe Tingle with mowing.

Tingle mentored a lot of people, both in the law enforcement and agricultural communities, including his own brother, whom had also become a deputy because of his influence.

“I look around me and I see a little bit of him everywhere,” Armstrong said. “He has left his stamp on this community, and the stamp will stay.”

Shelby County EMS Director Jeff Ivers, who had served under Tingle as a deputy, said Tingle had instituted an important change in the office by establishing an around the clock patrol schedule.

“He was the one who started our twenty-four hour patrol,” he said.

Shelby County Jailer Bobby Waits, after returning Monday from the funeral home to see about being a pallbearer, reflected upon how Tingle had given him advice and guidance when he [Waits] was appointed jailer and then later elected to the officer.

“Back before I became jailer, the jailer had resigned, and the sheriff’s office runs that, until someone is appointed,” he said. “So he was in charge of the jail for that period of time [1997], served as acting jailer.”

Waits had been working as a deputy at the time, and Tingle appointed him acting jailer, he said.

“He was very instrumental in me being where I am today, and in helping me get elected after I was appointed,” he said. “He wanted to see me succeed, and helping me do that made him feel good. I certainly looked up to him. I learned a lot from him, and not only that, but we had a super friendship.”

Waits said he would never forget the advice Tingle gave him not too long after they met.

“He told me when I went to work for him, just do the right things, and you’ll be successful,” he said.

Shelby County Sheriff’s Detective Eric Hettinger, who is vice president of the Shelby County Chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, said he had planned a short ceremony at the funeral home last night to honor Tingle.

“He was a member of the FOP for many years,” he said. “He’s a person who put others first. He’s done a lot for this community. He’s been responsible for a lot of people having jobs in this community, he’s just been a good ambassador to the county and he’ll be sorely missed.”

Law enforcement was in Tingle’s blood, but his ties to the farming community also ran deep. Being a lifelong farmer, he was active in the local cattleman’s association as well as Shelby County Farm Bureau.

“He and Katherine [his wife] had both been directors out here for several years. He was just an outstanding model director,” said Pat Hargadon with Shelby County Farm Bureau. “You couldn’t ask for a better person, but I’m probably telling you the same thing you’ve heard from everybody you’ve talked to.”

Farmer Ray Tucker, another good friend, said Tingle was a true friend in the farming community

“Harold was very respected in the ag community; he would always there with a lending hand or advice, whatever you needed,” he said. “I know he’s helped me out quite a bit, just on advice and things. I’ve always looked up to Harold as a leader in agriculture. He was a great sheriff, but Harold was such an icon in the county, especially to the ag community.”

Said Paul Hornback: “Harold was always one of those, when you talk about agriculture, I always looked up to, especially when I was young and I was just starting. He was an innovator, and he always did a good job. I always admired all of his hard work and everything he did.”

GeoffreyMcGuillen, director of the senior’s program at First Baptist Church, remembers Tingle’s devotion to family.

“His mother [Ella Tingle] was at Crestview [nursing home] while he was still serving as sheriff, and he would come in every Sunday morning to see her,” he recalled. “He would always wave to me and say hi. He was just such a great guy.”

Tingle’s funeral service will be held at Shannon’s Funeral Home at 2 p.m. Burial will follow at Grove Hill Cemetery.