CAHOKIA, Ill. (AP) -- Colorful southwestern Illinois sheriff Mearl J. Justus is being laid to rest.
Family, friends and law enforcement colleagues of the St. Clair County sheriff will say their final farewells during services scheduled for Saturday morning in Cahokia, the St. Louis-area village where he had served as police chief.
Justus was 81 when he died Tuesday at a hospital, exactly a week after he retired after 30 years as sheriff.
During his nearly 60 years in law enforcement, Justus built a reputation as jovial but effective. For years, his official website showed him modeling a sombrero, showing off a picture of his parking spot, admitting a fondness for the Three Stooges and letting visitors disfigure his portrait.
Gov. Pat Quinn credits Justus as being among the state's most effective public servants.