Hundreds pay respects to former Lafayette sheriff McCall

Published: Monday, March 25, 2013 at 8:39 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 25, 2013 at 8:39 p.m.

Law enforcement officers from Alachua County and surrounding areas were among nearly 500 mourners who gathered Monday for the funeral of former Lafayette County Sheriff Owen “Carson” McCall, Jr.

McCall passed away Friday at age 46 due to complications from cancer, according to a statement by the Alachua County Sheriff’s office.

McCall’s law enforcement brethren, some from as far away as Orange County, joined his family at the Alton Church of God Family Life Center in Mayo.

He is survived by his wife, Sharon McCall; daughter Shelbi McCall, who will turn 16 on Tuesday; and his mother, Margaret McClain McCall.

McCall spent his entire working career in law enforcement. His first job was in 1985 as a Lafayette County deputy, a position he held until he became the police chief of Mayo in 1988.

In 1990, he was hired as an Alachua County Sheriff’s deputy where he quickly moved up the ranks. He was selected in 1997 as the ASO officer of the year.

In 2002, then-Gov. Jeb Bush appointed him sheriff of Lafayette County, a position he held until 2008.

His last position with ASO was as a detective specializing in auto theft and surveillance. It was then that he partnered with Sgt. David Tuck of ASO and headed up an operation that recovered more than $4 million worth of stolen auto parts along the eastern seaboard, as far north as Maine and even internationally into Honduras.

Tuck said he most remembered the man behind the uniform.

“He was one of those people, a true friend,” said Tuck. “Years could go by and you’d pick up where you left off. He’d be there for you, including while he was sheriff of Lafayette and had huge responsibilities. He’d take care of anything you needed.”

Tuck also recalled McCall as a family man.

“You couldn’t be around him (McCall) for more than 20 minutes without him pulling out pictures of his wife and daughter.”

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