By MARINA WATERS

Staff Writer

mwaters@heraldandtribune.com

There’s an empty spot in the parking lot of the Washington County Sheriff’s Department where Chief Deputy Patrick Littleton, who passed away after a brief illness on Saturday Aug. 26, used to park. And now, Littleton’s friend and lifetime colleague, Sheriff Ed Graybeal, says there will be a gap in the heart of the community his friend so loved.

“It’s almost hard to explain what a wonderful person Pat Littleton was. You can say words, but words can’t really explain it,” Graybeal said. “And I’ve known him, well, since he started. I turned his application in as a matter of fact. But he was just one of those people who was always a part of everybody’s life.”

Littleton was a Marine before he joined the sheriff’s department in the ‘80s. From then on, the deputy continued to work hard, move up and serve the citizens of the place he called home.

“When I got to be sheriff in 2003, I asked him to be my chief deputy and of course we’ve been together since,” Graybeal recalled. “We were kind of in each other’s pockets, but he was in everybody’s pockets around here. He was talking to everybody every day and smiling at everybody. He always wanted to see if there was anything they needed or anything.

“You could not get anybody who could work any harder than Pat Littleton. He just loved everybody and was a community person.”

Littleton was from Sulphur Springs and graduated from Daniel Boone High School. Whether he was off duty or in uniform—which Graybeal said Littleton always kept perfectly pressed and shined — Littleton’s close friend said that anyone who knew him knew his heart and soul belonged to Washington County — and it showed.

“He used to show me the hayfields he worked as a kid. He put up tobacco on the farm and churned butter like I used to on my grandmother’s farm. He was just a community person for sure,” Graybeal said. “He knew everybody and he worked for just about all the farmers out there when he was growing up. His family, they’re the salt of the earth, so everybody knew Pat. He was just that kind of person that was concerned about his community, was concerned about Washington County and he was somebody who would get a call and would talk to them and try to make their day the best he could. He was just an outstanding individual.”

After working with the sheriff’s department for over 30 years, one of Littleton’s favorite events year in and year out was the Appalachian Fair. Every August the deputy prepared to assist the event and do what he did best: be around others.

“He always worked traffic down at the end of the road coming out near the fire hall,” Graybeal said, “and he had his own personal gator out there to drive people around and stuff. He loved the fair and I think the reason he loved it was for two reasons: He got to work with everybody in the department and he got to see everybody in the community. That was just Pat. He enjoyed it. He’d start working on the fair probably a month before it ever got here.”

Now, the sheriff said the department is working with Littleton’s father and two sons to rightfully honor the deputy. Since his passing, the sheriff’s department has honored his memory with his marked parking spot, the department and courthouse flags at half-mast as well as an honor guard at the crowded procession to celebrate Littleton’s life.

There was a huge escort from the funeral home to the church,” Graybeal said. “My honor guard, to me, is one of the best anywhere and those boys were the pallbearers at the request of the family. It was just a service that Pat would have been proud of because it was all for Patrick Littleton.”

The deputy was many things to many people — a father, a son, a marine, an officer and a community member — but to everyone, Graybeal said, Littleton was a friend.

“He was a friend to everybody. He tried to help everybody. He loved Washington County and everybody in it,” Graybeal said. “He grew up here went to high school here went to all the schools. He loved the community a whole lot and everybody just loved the old boy. Everybody loved Pat Littleton. Anybody that ever met him loved him.”