LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – East Texans have lost a life-long public servant and protector. Bill Bradberry, former Sabine County Sheriff and D.P.S. officer, died from a sudden illness Friday.
Current Sabine County Sheriff Tom Maddox says he will be greatly missed.
"He was a dedicated police officer," said Maddox.
Maddox met Bill Bradberry more than 4 decades ago. They both started their law enforcement career as state troopers.
"Little did we know that our paths would cross and both of us would end up partners on the highway patrol together," said Maddox.
Hours spent patrolling the sometimes lonely, wooded East Texan roads seemed to fly by.
"He made work easy. He made it fun," said Maddox.
Bradberry also inspired both of his sons to become officers of the law.
"Saw the good things about it. Saw the bad things about it and both of them decided to be police officers," said Maddox.
Bradberry's life seemed to be dedicated to protecting and serving East Texans. Maddox says it was his love and knowledge of the people that truly made him an inspiration to others in law enforcement.
When Bradberry was elected sheriff of Sabine County, Maddox says it was the man's instinct about people that made him a success.
"That was one of his great attributes. He knew the people around him. He used that very well - bringing in and solving crimes," said Maddox.
When Maddox became sheriff ten years ago, he always turned to his former partner when he had questions. Bradberry was always there when he needed him.
"I remember a good friend of mine who worked for the FBI. Always said live, laugh, love and leave a legacy and I think Bill encompassed every one of those," said Maddox.
Bradberry's legacy of protecting East Texans will continue in the officers he mentored and inspired.
Visitation was held for Bill Bradberry at the Starr Funeral Home in Hemphill Sunday evening. Funeral services begin Monday morning at 11 a.m. at the funeral home.