By Peter Corbett
The Arizona Republic
SIERRA VISTA — Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever was remembered Wednesday at a memorial service here as an unpretentious, soft-spoken guy whose voice carried across Arizona and the nation with plain truth about border and immigration issues.
Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl in his eulogy called Dever a real-life Gary Cooper or John Wayne playing the good guy in the white hat.
“He was a man of few words, but when he spoke people listened,” Kyl said during an evening service that filled the Buena High School auditorium.
Members of police and fire agencies from across Arizona and as far away as Texas turned out to honor Dever, 60, who was killed Sept. 18 in a one-vehicle accident south of Williams. The four-term sheriff served 36 years in the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office and had been seeking re-election in November.
Dever had emerged as a clear voice nationally for stepped-up enforcement on human and drug smuggling in Cochise County and along the entire border with Mexico.