It is rare that these editorial pages gush over an elected official, but retired Contra Costa Sheriff Warren Rupf was a rare public servant who deserves such treatment.
His death Thursday after a short battle with acute myeloid leukemia was a devastating blow to the community.
It seems like only yesterday that Rupf had sent out an e-mail telling friends of the discovery of the disease in his body and that the prognosis was challenging at best.
We had not yet come to terms with that e-mail when we received word Thursday that Rupf had died with his wife, Carole, at his side. It is a chilling reminder of our mortality.
Warren was a lawman for his entire adult life. And he was a good one. But he was also a gentleman. Again, not a word we throw around very often when writing about an elected official.
But Warren was an elected official only because that is what one had to do to become the county's sheriff. He never saw politics as blood sport. In other words, Rupf was a sheriff who happened to be a politician, not the other way around. Many in this Democrat-dominated county did not even know Rupf was a Republican. Sheriff in Contra Costa is a nonpartisan office and Rupf liked it that way.
He was a giant among those on the Contra Costa political scene, both literally and figuratively. Standing 6-feet, 6-inches tall, Rupf stood out in a crowd of elected officials, or nearly anyone else for that matter. But his hulking
Don't get us wrong, Rupf could be tough when he had to be and, let's face it, that goes with the territory for a sheriff as well as a U.S. Marine. But it wasn't his first instinct. He cared about people and he cared about helping.
To be sure, he had some enemies. That too goes with the territory. But for those of us who knew him well, we know that in that large body beat the heart of a genuine, caring and compassionate man.
Simply put, the world is a lesser place after his passing. To his wife and family, we humbly offer the thanks of a grateful community and our deepest sympathies and condolences.