Chester Co's Tinker to run for re-election

CHESTER -- Chester County Coroner Terry Tinker said Tuesday he plans to run for the office he's held since 2005.

Tinker, 61, said he hopes to build on the improvements made since he was appointed to the post after the death of Watson Wright, who served as the county's coroner from 1989 until he died just months into his fifth term.

During his time in office, Tinker said, he has strengthened the relationship between the coroner's office and county leaders. He

also organized the office records while expanding the department to four certified deputy coroners, including Tommy Williams, who received the top honor for that position last year from the S.C. Coroner's Association.

Tinker said his deputies receive required training and have the opportunity to take additional courses if they choose to.

"He's put everything in modern times," said longtime friend and Chester County Supervisor Carlisle Roddey. "He's brought everything into the 21st century."

Tinker lost to Wright in the 2004 Democratic primary. No Republicans challenged Wright in the general election. Tinker said he plans to run as a Democrat.

Filing runs March 17 to 31. The Chester County coroner serves a four-year term and is paid about $23,000 per year. No one else has publicly expressed an interest in the position.

The coroner's job is Tinker's first experience with public office. He worked as a Chester firefighter for 25 years before retiring and spent many years with the county's rescue squad. Decades ago, he worked as a deputy coroner under then-Coroner O.L. Stroud Jr.

"It's not a job that everybody would want," Tinker said of the coroner's post. "But it's a job that somebody would have to do."

When asked why he wanted such a position, Tinker talked about a man who visited him Monday and thanked him for the way he handled the death of a loved one last week.

"That's where you get your satisfaction," Tinker said.

Chester Co's Tinker to run for re-election