A proposed House Bill could result in a portion of State Route 39 being designated in honor of Carroll County’s late Sheriff.
Sheriff Dale Williams passed away at the age of 74 in September of 2022 while still holding public office.
Six months after his passing, there is a push to designate the portion of SR 39 (Roswell Rd SW) between Carrollton and Dellroy in his honor. If HB 81 were to pass, the aforementioned portion of the roadway would be designated the ‘Sheriff Dale R. Williams Memorial Highway’.
On March 21, testimonies were heard from Rep Monica Robb Blasdel (R) District 79 – Columbiana, Rep Don Jones (R) District 95 – Freeport, and the grandson of Sheriff Williams, Reese Sutton, giving reasons why the former Sheriff should be honored.
H.B. 81 is co-sponsored by Rep. Robb-Blasdel, Rep. Jones, and Rep. Riordan T. McClain.
“It is a privilege to be able to bring this legislation forward and honor one of Carroll County’s most dedicated public servants,” Rep. Robb-Blasdel said in her testimony.
Sheriff Williams was a lifelong resident of the county, beginning his career in law enforcement as a dispatcher in 1969.
He was first elected as the sheriff in 2004, a role in which he remained until his death. Sheriff Williams served the role for 18 years.
But why designate the specific portion of SR 39?
“Sheriff Williams patrolled this stretch of highway countless times,” Rep. Robb Blasdel stated. “The family farm that he grew up on similarly falls along State Route 39. There isn’t a tribute more fitting than naming this stretch of highway in his honor.”
The Williams Farm was established on March 28, 1908 – 105 years ago.
During Rep. Jones’ testimony, he touched on Sheriff Williams’ character and the impact he had on Carroll County.
“He was respected by not only his staff but his community and his peers,” Rep. Jones mentioned. “It was evident when you went into the calling out ours, they had it in the gymnasium and I mean the line stretched from outside the door clear inside and back around.”
One of the most unique things about Sheriff Williams was he was a registered Democrat in a Republican-heavy county. Rep. Jones said that the former Sheriff didn’t let that stop him from serving the community.
“He made sure that whenever he passed away, that Calvin Graham, who was a Republican would be his replacement, because he cared about his staff that much,” Rep. Jones stated. “He didn’t let politics get in the way of serving the people that he was elected to serve.”
Sheriff Williams’ youngest grandson, Reese Sutton, provided testimony as well, sharing personal memories of the man his grandfather was. Sutton said to him and his family, SR 39 is no normal highway.
“It was no normal highway as it connects Carrollton, Ohio, where my grandpa served for over 18 years as Sheriff to our family, farm in Dellroy,” Sutton said. “The points of these two places show my grandpa’s great love for Carroll County and the community itself.”
Sutton reflected on Williams’ time on the family farm, saying he never missed a beat.
“From the time he grew up until his passing, my grandpa along with his twin brother worked and ran the farm every day rain or shine,” he said. “My grandpa loved what he did. Whether working on the family farm or serving others from a squad car. His life was one of service both to his family and Carroll County.”
Calvin Graham, the county’s current Sheriff who replaced Williams after his passing, called his longtime boss a humble man.
“Dale’s first year in office, he made sure that a dispatcher who requested Christmas Day off was able to be with his family,” Sheriff Graham said. “Sheriff Williams dispatched himself.”
Sheriff Graham reflected on Williams responding to calls, no matter the time of day.
“We would often times joke with the Sheriff, asking him if he was afraid, he may be missing a barking dog complaint.”
Sheriff Graham said Williams never missed a call, but also never missed a day on the family farm.
“Dale would call the Sheriff’s office and report that he would be at the farm making hay, but would be in late,” Sheriff Graham said.
He said the late Sheriff will live on through an M&M dispenser.
“He received an M&M dispenser for Christmas from family and had it in his office for anyone who visited,” Sheriff Graham noted. “Sheriff Williams’ family donated the M&M dispenser, and we keep it stocked in his memory.
The first vote of H.B. 81 passed unanimously.