MIDLAND COUNTY, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – On Thursday afternoon, family, friends and colleagues said their final goodbyes to Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter.
A memorial service was held in his honor before he was laid to rest that evening.
Since the news of his death, a flood of prayers and support have surrounded Painter’s family and area law enforcement who knew the sheriff.
Just some of the words that were spoken Thursday included, legend, integrity, love and friend.
“He was the best sheriff we have ever had…a legend of his own time,” friend and Midland Resident Artie Offield said prior to the service.
The afternoon was filled with emotional testimony from friends who remembered Sheriff Painter for his compassion and fierce love for the community, as well as law enforcement who would remember him as a man of faith and integrity.
“And I wish, ladies and gentleman, that I had the confidence to call him my friend, but legends are not meant for such familiarity,“ said Chief Seth Herman of Midland Police Department. He says his father and Sheriff Gary Painter have been role models in his life. He stated they were, “cut from the same cloth.“
Many knew Painter as the rough and tough but fair sheriff of Midland County or as a devoted friend and servant of West Texas.
To Justin Painter, he was dad, a hero and a legend.
“Obviously to other people he was many things. To me, he was dad,“ said son Justin Painter. “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.“