Addison County looses sheriff of 31 years

— After 31 years of service to Addison County, Sheriff James B. Coons lost his battle to illness Monday, April 16 at his home in Middlebury.

Coons has been succeeded by Donald Keeler, Jr., Addison County High Bailiff, of Middlebury. Keeler was sworn in at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 17.

Keeler has been a Deputy Sheriff in the county since 1972 and was a long time friend and colleague of Coons. He said Coons was a popular and innovative sheriff and he hopes to continue to carry on the office as he did.

“As Sheriff I will attempt to try and continue the forward thinking Jim was always moving toward, he was always looking to try new things,” Keeler said.

Coons served as sheriff and continued his duties through his illness and up until the day he passed, Keeler said.

After graduation from Champlain College in Burlington, Coons began his career in law enforcement with the Middlebury Police in 1972, rising to the rank of detective lieutenant. In 1980, he successfully ran for Sheriff, following in the footsteps of his father, Morton.

Coons is survived by his wife, Julia, and their two sons.

Keeler has been a deputy at the Addison County Sheriff’s Department for 40 years.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete as of Tuesday, April 17. The Vermont State Sheriff’s Department will make arrangements for a memorial service to honor the former sheriff at a later date.

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