Jackson County lost one of its best-known and most respected law enforcement officers on Thanksgiving morning when retired Deputy Sheriff Anthony (Tony) Robinson died at the age of 78.

Although he held one of the most demanding and stressful jobs one can have, Robinson worked well into his 70s and retired in 2014 after more than 30 years of service to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. He served under at least four different sheriffs over his career. He retired during the term of current Sheriff Tedd Frazier where he had attained the rank of lieutenant and was a six-star deputy sheriff.

Sheriff Frazier issued a statement via Facebook offering sympathies to Tony’s family and saluting him for his 30 years of service and for his “kindness and dedication.” Former Sheriff John Shasteen, who now lives in Florida, also saluted Robinson, noting his long service and crediting him with “a job well done.”

These two comments were notable as they voluntarily came from Robinson’s last two bosses, but they were just the tip of the iceberg as far as messages of condolences and tributes which poured in on Facebook pages once the news of his death became known.

Jackson area resident Cathy Peters posted: “So very sorry to hear this. Tony Robinson will be missed. He was passionate about his job and family. Prayers to (wife) Lena and his family, his brothers in blue, and all who knew him. Rest in peace Tony.”

Many others also posted similar respectful and sympathetic comments, including quite a number of Robinson’s law enforcement peers. He was repeatedly praised for his niceness, his professionalism, his dedication to duty, and his devotion to his family.

That devotion was in evidence on Thursday evening, Nov. 1 at the Wellston City Building when Tony and Lena were present to see their son, John Robinson, a veteran police officer with the Wellston Police Department, be formally sworn in as the new police chief in Wellston. It was surely a proud moment for Tony, and it was fitting he lived long enough to see it happen.

As a newsman who has covered the local law enforcement beat for approximately 45 years, I got to know Tony Robinson well on a professional basis, which also gave me a little insight into the man as well as the deputy.

Though Robinson was not always in a position to be releasing the news on his own, I always found Tony to be honest, fair, straightforward and unassuming and one whose information and word I could count on. He was a very good person to deal with and an enjoyable person to talk to. I could see that he cared about his job and his co-workers and that he took his responsibilities and duties very seriously.

Sheriff Frazier and his local law enforcement brethren afforded him two final visible and public tributes. Tony died at a Columbus hospital and when his body was returned to Jackson County, the hearse was met at the Jackson County line and given a law enforcement escort to the Jenkins Funeral Chapel in Wellston. Also, following the funeral on Tuesday afternoon, there was a second law enforcement escort which carried Tony to his final resting place in the Greenlawn Memory Gardens in his native Coalton.

After all those years of working from behind the front lines, it was attention he richly deserved.

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