Leaders and officials around the Mississippi Gulf Coast are remembering the life of Gary Hargrove.
The former Harrison County coroner passed away on Friday from an undisclosed illness at the age of 64.
It’s one of the most difficult jobs in any local government, yet Gary Hargrove found a way to do it to a t. Biloxi Police Chief John Miller said, “I just can’t stress to you, you could call him at 2 in the morning or you could call him at 2 in the afternoon and Gary was coming. That was just all there was to it, he felt that responsibility and he felt that dedication to the job.”
Hargrove began his career with the coroner’s office in 1985, serving the county for the next ten years as deputy coroner before being elected coroner.
Hargrove will be remembered most notably for his efforts following Hurricane Katrina when Hargrove worked tirelessly to identify the 97 victims of Harrison County, including one that he identified more than three and a half years later. Harrison County Coroner Brian Switzer said, “I saw him out there every single day with these crews as they’re searching through rubble, as they’re trying to find any of the missing victims that we knew had probably perished.”
Switzer recalls Hargrove’s willingness to teach others. While just a young paramedic, Hargrove mentored him for years before hiring him as deputy coroner in 2008. “When I would go to calls and he would show up, he would take time to show me things, not even being a deputy, just being a medical professional and showing you things, trying to teach you things, he was a very good teacher.”
A visitation for family and friends will be held on January 23rd at Riemann Family Funeral Home on Three Rivers Road.