The law enforcement brotherhood in York County has lost one of its most devoted members with the passing of longtime York County Sheriff’s Office deputy Jimmy Fudge.
Fudge, 63, died Monday. He passed about 18 months after he retired, in late 2017, from the only job he ever wanted -- law enforcement officer.
“Jimmy Fudge was a quiet hero,” said York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson.
Tolson rose through the ranks and worked with and for Fudge over the years.
“Jimmy was an awesome person,” Tolson said. “A great police officer. A legend.”
Fudge was a police officer for almost four decades, starting with the Rock Hill Police Department before moving to the sheriff’s office in the 1980s. Officers who worked with him, and for him, described him as a generous, decent man who lived the motto -- “serve and protect.”
“Jimmy Fudge was my lieutenant for years and he taught me so much about how to be an officer and how to treat people with dignity and respect,” said retired deputy Pat Kiefer. “He was an unbelievable man and officer. Jimmy Fudge taught me to be a leader.”
Fudge started as a Rock Hill officer after graduating from Winthrop University in his hometown of Rock Hill. Marvin Brown, commander of the York County drug unit, knew and worked with Fudge for almost 40 years.
“Jimmy Fudge took his job seriously, handled the public seriously and with care,” Brown said. “He did things the right way. He cared about people. He was a working supervisor, out there all the time leading the people who worked for him and with him.”
Fudge was loyal to the men and women who worked for him. When former deputy Tim Buchanan died in Costa Rica in 2016 after a wedding, Fudge spearheaded the line of hundreds of police cars that brought Buchanan’s body home to York County.
Fudge rose through the ranks at the sheriff’s office to sergeant and then lieutenant. He became even more well-known when he took over the warrant service division at the sheriff’s office and led the team of officers who serve thousands of arrest papers, civil documents, court ordered subpoenas and other documents.
Fudge also was well-known and well-liked in York County for another reason. He spent decades as a Friday night high school football official, and also was a baseball umpire for high schools and colleges.
Funeral services with full law enforcement honors including an honor guard are pending.