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St. Clair County Sheriff Mearl Justus Dies

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BELLEVILLE, IL (KTVI) - Longtime St. Clair County Sheriff Mearl Justus is being fondly remembered.  The former sheriff passed away Tuesday at the age of 81, just a week after retiring due to poor health. 
He told friends he wanted to remain sheriff until this Spring to celebrate his 60th anniversary in law enforcement. But struggles with diabetes and recent gall bladder surgery made that impossible.  Justus served as St. Clair County Sheriff more than 30 years and was the CEO of the Major Case Squad.

Years before, he was police chief Cahokia and was also a popular keynote speaker known for his nonstop one-liner jokes.   Last Monday night, the St. Clair County Board named Richard Watson the new Sheriff. He also came up from Cahokia.

Watson will fill Justus' unexpired term and serve as sheriff until 2014.  Watson says Justus was a  true innovator who left a long legacy.  One of those was a program to let officers take cars home in an effort to keep streets safer.

Arrangements for Sheriff Justus are as follows:
Wake & Viewing
Thursday, December 20
4:30p.m.  to 8:00 p.m.
Friday, December 21
3:00 p.m. to 8:p.m.

Holy Family Church
15 East Church Street (Route 3 and Route 157)
Cahokia, IL

Funeral Service
Saturday, December 22
10:00 a.m.
Holy Family Church
15 East Church Street (Route 3 and Route 157)
Cahokia, IL

Once the church is filled, overflow viewing via simulcast will be available at K.C. Hall -- 100 East 5th Street, Cahokia, IL