JEFFERSON COUNTY, G.A. (WJBF) – Jefferson County is mourning the loss of long-serving commissioner Tommy New. New died Wednesday. He served as a commissioner from District 4 for more than 40 years.
“He’s touched just about everything in this community,” said County Commissioner Chairman Mitchell McGraw.
Serving Jefferson County was more than just a job for district 4 commissioner Tommy New, it was a calling.
“He had a huge heart. I can’t tell you how many people he’s helped, he’s paid light bills for, he’s paid medicine bills for, how many people’s he’s done this for. If you had problems at home, at school, anything you were going through if he found out about it he was there,” said Chairman McGraw.
County Commission Chairman Mitchell McGraw says New was the glue of Jefferson County and wore several different hats in the community.
“He was very active in his church, the Louisville, United Methodist Church he served on just about every board there at one time or another, he sat on the Queensborough Board Bank when they were growing and helped them get as large as they are now,” said Chairman McGraw.
Tuesday afternoon New died by suicide outside the Taylor Funeral Home. His friends and county leaders say his sudden death was hard to accept.
He says, “It’s been a hard few days, yesterday and today.”
But friends and colleagues say his life will not be reduced to that fatal moment. While this tightly-knit community mourns New’s death and contemplates his legacy — the County Administrator says soon the rest of the commission will have to look ahead to the future of District 4 and how to fill New’s seat.
“We would really be cramming it in there and whoever takes office, or wants to run for that office it would really be at their disadvantage. So waiting till the next November date is going to be much better for the folks that want to run for that office,” said County Administrator, Jerry Colson.
But Colson says no matter who takes over in District 4 — No one will be able to replace Tomy New.
He recalled his first time working with New — during a heated commission meeting.
Colson says, “That next morning, the first thing that morning soon as I got to work Tommy New was here within a few minutes of us opening the door, he was there to make sure everyone was okay, make sure I wasn’t upset, and that was the way he pretty much did everything. He could come across argumentative, but he truly cared about what was going on.”
County leaders say they’ll look to remember New with some type of Memorial. They’ll talk about that at their next commission meeting. Funeral arrangements have not yet been made.