With the loss of long-time Grundy County Sheriff Terry Markett Friday, his peers are remembering him as not only a great leader, but a great friend.
Marketti, 56, died in his sleep in the early morning hours Friday and was found by relatives. He was pronounced dead a little before 8 a.m. Coroner John Callahan said the sheriff passed of natural causes and had been fighting medical issues.
Chief Deputy Sheriff Kevin Callahan was sworn in as sheriff Friday afternoon by Judge Sheldon Sobol. Kevin Callahan was named to take over as sheriff in Marketti’s succession letter filed with the county clerk’s office as a precaution in case he should die while in office.
Marketti had been sheriff since 2004, when he took over after Sheriff Jim Olson’s death. Marketti had been a member of the sheriff’s department for 34 years.
“He was the most committed public servant that I’ve ever known,” said Judge Lance Peterson, who had known Marketti for 25 years and became close friends with serving as Grundy County State’s Attorney for five years in the 1990s.
But more than a public servant, Peterson said Marketti was the best friend a person could have.
“The biggest thing about Terry Marketti was his heart,” Peterson said.
“If you spent an hour with Terry, at least a third of the time you would be laughing. That’s what I’ll always remember,” Peterson continued.
Fellow community leaders say Marketti could always be relied on to help other law enforcement agencies in any way he and his office could.
“It was very apparent with Terry that it was important to him for law enforcement agencies in the county to work well together,” said Morris Police Chief Brent Dite. “He was always the first to step up and say, ‘How can I help?’ When I think of Terry, the first thing I think of is his willingness to help any law enforcement agency.”
“He lived and breathed Grundy County. It’s a very sad day,” Dite concluded.
Terry Jensen, Gardner Fire Protection District chief, said Marketti helped the district achieve many of its goals and was a fundamental member of the district.
Marketti is a past member of the protection district board and continued to be an adviser.
“He was a huge part of our organization and very instrumental in assisting all of us. He’s always been the one that said, ‘You need anything, give me a call,’” said Jensen.
Morris Mayor Richard Kopczick mirrored Dite’s sentiment about the day.
“It’s a sad thing. Terry was a great administrator in that position and he knew it well,” he said.
“He was a good man for the county of Grundy. He took his job seriously and did a lot of good things for the people in this county. Deepest sympathy for his family and he will be missed.”
One of Marketti’s most notable qualities was his generosity. He was always the first to donate to a good cause in Grundy County and volunteered his time on numerous boards.
“He was a very generous person and I always admired him for that,” Grundy County Board Chairman Ron Severson said.
Severson admits he and Marketti often disagreed, but even after the two argued, they would pick up a couple days later and work together for the good of the county. Despite their differences, Severson said Marketti was a man he really liked.
Marketti sat on numerous boards for charities and organizations throughout his life, including Big Brother Big Sisters of Will and Grundy County, Grundy Area P.A.D.S. (Public Action to Deliver Shelter), the Community Foundation of Grundy County, Grundy Economic Development Council, Breaking Away, Gardner Fire Protection District Board, Gardner Village Board, No Tolerance Task Force, the Grundy County Emergency Telephone System Board, and many others.
His first elected position was when he was 18-years-old on the South Wilmington Village Board, which he served on for 22 years, Kevin Callahan noted.
In addition to his plentiful donations to local charities and commitment to non-profit organizations, he helped many individuals as well, Peterson said.
“He helped so many people quietly, too, that no one will ever hear about,” he added.
Funeral arrangements were pending Friday evening at R.W. Patterson Funeral Home in Braidwood.