Sevierville, Sevier County (WVLT) - Sevier County Sheriff Bruce Montgomery had been battling cancer and other illnesses for several years.
He died at UT Medical Center Friday morning.
Stephen McLamb got a chance to get to know Sheriff Montgomery pretty well and what he says impressed him the most about the sheriff was that there wasn't much of a middle ground with him.
There was right and there was wrong and you better do what's right.
Sheriff Bruce Montgomery passed away shortly after 10:00 a.m. at UT hospital at the age of 73.
Flags few half staff shortly after it was announced he had died.
Montgomery grew up in Sevier County playing football in high school. In the early 70's he took on a job as a US Marshal, but later ascended to the position of Sheriff in 1994.
Those who worked with him say he ran a tight ship.
"I always had the greatest respect and confidence in his department and the cases they brought me. They were well investigated, well prepared," says retired District Attorney General Al Schmutzer.
Many came to see Montgomery as a true leader.
"That takes a greatness that not all people possess. In difficult situations people looked to him as the leader," says District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn.
Members of his department say he fought for them, whether it be a raise or proper equipment.
They say he expected a lot out of them, but also got a lot in return. They say he was also a man of compassion.
"Loved his family, loved his grandchildren, and he had a deep compassion for kids," Chief Deputy Ron Seals says.
"One of the biggest hearts you'll ever find in your life. If he found someone that needed something, he was there and didn't want any credit for it," says Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters.
"So many of our kids in this county got to go to college, go to military academies because Bruce Montgomery reached out," says Circuit Court Judge Rex Ogle.
Meanwhile, his position is being temporarily filled.
"The chief deputy according to succession has taken over now, T.J. Cantwell," Mayor Waters says.
The County Commission will choose a successor at a later date.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.
It is interesting to note that Sevier County did not cancel court this afternoon. Speaking to a detective, he said that is the way the sheriff would want it.
He also said he saw the Sheriff on Saturday and he told him, no matter what happens, to do his job as he taught him.