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Long-time public servant passes away

Most known for his political role in serving the people of Franklin County for 26 years, Jacky Ray Warhurst passed away peacefully in his sleep at his farm Aug. 22.

He served as an intermediate judge for eight years, revenue commissioner for six years and tax collector for 12 years. He was the Franklin County tax collector/revenue commissioner from 1985-2003.

“Jacky Warhurst was one of a kind, and if you met him, you were sure to remember,” said Veronica Stancil, Franklin County revenue commissioner. “It was my privilege to work in the courthouse with him for 14 years. We are very grateful for his service to Franklin County.

“His smiling face is the first characteristic that comes to mind,” Stancil added. “Jacky was always friendly to people as they came into the courthouse. I think he’d probably say getting to interact with people was his favorite part of the job. He would always stroll through and tell all of us hello, and we will certainly miss him.

“Years later, when I went away to conferences, people still remembered and would ask about him.”

In addition to his professional career as a public servant, Warhurst was also a farmer. He learned the value of land from his father, Coleman Clear “CC” Warhurst, who instilled his love of plowing and planting.

“When I was young, my dad worked for him on the farm,” said Franky Hatton. “I got to ride on the tractor and participate in other activities on the farm. Jacky was always really nice to me – a real outstanding gentleman.”

Hatton said in the 80s, Warhurst’s son Chad was into roping, and Warhurst built an arena at his house. Every Saturday night for a long time, a lot of people would go there to rope, grill out and have a nice time.

“I knew him all my life,” said Milton Hatton. “We went to cow sales and such together. He was my buddy.”

Susan Rich Brooks shared a memory of how Warhurst helped her when she was a young, single mother without a job.

“He was a wonderful man,” said Brooks. “I had no way to get to an interview that had been set up for me, and Jacky Warhurst came to the Franklin County Courthouse and drove me to the interview. I asked him later why he gave up his time for someone he barely knew, and he said he knew I would be perfect for the job and would be a great asset to them. I have never forgotten his kindness and his help. There are not many men like he was.”

At a young age, Warhurst discovered he had a talent for speaking quickly in what was called the auction cry or the cattle rattle. He was a professional auctioneer, selling livestock and land. He also donated his talent to numerous charity auctions over the years.

“I knew Jacky for more than 30 years,” said Dennis Upchurch. “He had a larger-than-life personality, and he never met a stranger. He was a lot of fun to be around and someone you could always depend on if you needed anything. He never met a stranger.”

A private ceremony was held by the family. The family requests anyone wishing to honor his memory to make a donation to their favorite charity or perform an unsolicited act of kindness for someone.

Eddie Wix conducted the service. Wix describes Warhurst as “a man after God’s own heart.

“Jacky was good to look out for people in the community through financial benevolence,” Wix said. “He gave me some cash to help me get started in the cattle business. He cared about people a lot and took actions to show it.”

“My father passionately served the people of Franklin County,” said Warhurst’s daughter, Teresa Wilkerson. “His coworkers who served beside him became like family as they selflessly worked together to accomplish the public need.

“His love for his community and co-workers at the Franklin County Courthouse was always at the forefront.”

Warhurst is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren.