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I lost my great grandfather on Sunday

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I just got home from his funeral last night. Though his life was long and full, he will surely be missed. He is one of my heroes.

Here's the obituary article from his local newspaper. He lived there in Lincolnton NC for 77 years of his life,

LINCOLNTON – Funeral services for Arnold “Jersey†Tarr, the former Lincolnton Police chief who also served his country in World War II and Korea, was scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday morning. The 92-year-old died Sunday at Cardinal Health Care in Lincolnton.

Lincolnton Police chief Dean Abernathy said he remembers seeing Tarr at Danny Hallman’s retirement reception. The two were able to talk and Abernathy recalled that Tarr stayed for almost the entire reception.

What struck Abernathy the most is how keen Tarr’s senses were, even in Tarr’s mid-90s.

“He was sharp as a tack, talking about Danny from many years ago,†said Abernathy. “He was driving up until about a year ago and was still moving around and being very active.â€

Abernathy said that Tarr was always there for the annual Lincoln County Apple Festival, selling flags. For the 2007 festival, Tarr turned to his brothers in the police department for help.

“He wanted to come to the festival, so we rode him in on the gator to North Aspen Street,†recalled Abernathy. “And there Arnold sat all day, selling flags.â€

Former police chief Tommy Burgin remembered Tarr as a man who wanted criminals arrested but who tempered the “long arm of the law†with a sense of community service.

“He liked for his men to arrest people and then turnaround and help the people if he could,†said Burgin. “He tempered justice with mercy and used good common sense.â€

When Burgin joined LPD in 1959, Tarr was an assistant chief and captain. Burgin said he worked with Tarr until Tarr’s retirement from the force in 1976 when Burgin was promoted as chief. Tarr served as the fourth police chief in the City of Lincolnton.

Burgin also remembered Tarr as a close friend, even referring to Tarr as a second father.

“He’d try and train all the new officers,†said Burgin. “I rode with Arnold for close to a year.â€

Burgin said he was a rookie officer – only a couple of weeks into the job – when Burgin asked Tarr if there was anything he could do.

Tarr’s answer, according to Burgin, was straight to the point.

“He told me to keep my mouth shut and listen,†said Burgin. “That was good advice.â€

Former Lincolnton city administrator David Lowe said he played with Tarr’s children while growing up in Lincolnton and then went to work with Tarr through Lincolnton City Hall in 1962. Lowe said his family and the Tarr family were close family friends.

Lowe said that while Tarr’s first responsibility was protecting lives of the citizens of Lincolnton, Tarr never forgot he was dealing with people.

“He’d take a kid who was bordering on getting into trouble and would give the kind of guidance an adult would give a young person,†said Lowe. “It’s something that worked. He’s always someone who looked after the people.â€

Lowe – like many of Tarr’s friends – referred to Tarr as “Jersey,†because Tarr was originally from New Jersey.

Lowe said the fondest memories of his friend were the traveling Tarr would do after retiring from the force in the mid-70s. In fact, Lowe and Tarr had many discussions about his travels throughout Europe.

“I think he’s even been to Russia a couple of times,†said Lowe.

Lowe also remembered his friend’s dedication to the veterans of Lincoln County. According to Lowe, on any given day, a person could go to Hollybrook Cemetery and see flag after flag.

Tarr, Lowe said, was responsible for putting those flags there. Now Lowe wonders who will do that since Tarr is gone.

“He would make it his business to find out who was a veteran and where the veteran was buried,†said Lowe. “Arnold would make sure that veteran would have a flag.â€

Lowe said Tarr was also proud of his military service. In fact, Tarr served with some of Lowe’s relatives, even serving with Lowe’s father in the Calvary.

Lowe said the younger generation will read about a man in the future that wasn’t only the police chief of Lincolnton but a good friend to many as well.

“They’ll note that any people will remember Tarr’s service and the guidance he gave them in everyday life,†said Burgin. “That’s Arnolds most important and lasting contribution.â€

Services were held Wednesday at First United Methodist Church with Dr. Michael Gerhing and rev. Harold Leatherman officiating. Burial followed in Hollybrook Cemetery. Warlick Funeral Home in Lincolnton served the Tarr family.

Tarr was born Jan. 1, 1915 in Garfield, New Jersey, and was the son of the late John and Marie Fuzi Tarr. He was preceded in death by his wife, Signora Brotherton Tarr. Tarr came to Lincolnton in 1930 to work for Cochrane Furniture and later operated a service station on West Main Street.

Prior to World War II, Tarr became interested in boxing and won the North Carolina Golden Gloves state champion in 1934 and 1936. During World War II, Tarr was a civilian with the Navy at Pearl Harbor for 18 months. Upon his return to Lincolnton in 1943, Tarr was inducted into the Army.

While serving in the Italian theater for 18 months, Tarr was personal body guard and driver for Gen. Mark Clark. Out of the service in 1946, Tarr joined Lincolnton Police as a patrolman, a position he would hold for four years.

With the advent of a new decade in 1950, Tarr was off to Korea to serve with Lincolnton’s National Guard unit, 378th engineer combat battalion.

When Tarr returned to Lincolnton in 1952, he became a police sergeant and in 1956 was promoted to captain. He became chief in 1958 and served in the position until his retirement in 1976. Tarr also served on the Lincolnton City Council for eight years.

Tarr was a member of World War II veterans, Korean veterans, member of the Disabled American Veterans chapter in Lincolnton and the American Legion. Recently, he was inducted into the Carolinas Boxing Hall of Fame and the Lincoln County Sports Hall of Fame.

Tarr was survived by two daughters, Joan Waters and husband W.J. of Lincolnton and Jean Cook and husband, Joe, of Georgia; one sister, Ether Benson and husband Walter of California; six grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and one great grandchild.

post #2 of 13
I am so sorry about your Great grandfather. He sounds like a great man. for you and your family.
post #3 of 13
Your Great-Grandfather sounds like a man any town and family would be proud of. He certainly lived a full life. It's terrible this happened at this time of year, but try to concentrate on the good memories. I would have loved to have met him, he sounds like a fascinating person.
post #4 of 13
I'm so sorry It's never a good time anyway, but especially at christmas What a good man he sounds as well.
post #5 of 13
WOW!! Now that is an obituary! How awesome!!!!!!! What a man!!!
What a life!!! I don't think we today live such honorable lives anymore!!
I know your totally proud of him! So accomplished, and someone everyone
looked up too! They sure don't make them like him anymore!!!!
I am sorry for ya'll's loss! The whole area, has lost something when they lost him! Hope your family is doing alright! I'm telling ya I could only hope that my life where so full, and make such a mark to all I knew whenever it's my time!
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone! I am very proud to call him my great grandfather and love sharing his accomplishments with people. Your responses are so kind! Its been a hard week, but we know we were lucky to have him for so long. Thanks!
post #7 of 13
I'm very sorry to hear of your loss
post #8 of 13
My condolences to you and your family. He sounded like a wonderful man.
post #9 of 13
that´s a bad new...
I´m so sorry about your grandfather.... my condolences to you and your relatives too..
post #10 of 13
Your life is an extension of your Great Grandfather's.
You are part of each other forever.
My deepest condolences for your loss.
post #11 of 13
What an amazing life he had... I would be very proud to have called him part of my life

I'm so sorry for your loss
post #12 of 13
It sounds like he certainly lived his life to the fullest...that's what we should all hope for... I am so sorry for your loss...My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family through this time of grief.
post #13 of 13
So sorry to hear about your Great Grandfather May he Rest in Peace

I lost all 3 of my 4 great grandparents within 2 years. They all lived till over 90 years old. They came over here from a boat from Finland...they were amazing people! So, I know how you feel

At least they all lived a long & happy life...So happy to have got to known them when they were here!
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