Former Jefferson County Sheriff Edward Lewis “Boe” Fontaine has passed away.
Jefferson County Coroner Chad Kelley confirmed Fontaine’s death to Deltaplex News Sunday evening.
Jefferson County Judge Gerald Robinson replaced Fontaine after he was elected as Sheriff in 2006. Robinson gave Deltaplex News a brief statement on Fontaine’s death.
“I’m so shaken right now. I don’t have the words to explain the loss,” said Robinson.
No other information regarding Fontaine’s death nor any funeral arrangements have been released as of Sunday evening.
Fontaine served as Jefferson County Sheriff from 1999-2006.
Current Jefferson County Sheriff Lafayette Woods, Jr. released the following statement regarding Fontaine’s passing:
It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of former Sheriff Edward Lewis “Boe” Fontaine. He courageously fought the COVID-19 virus, but lost his battle with the global pandemic today at the age of 80.
Sheriff Fontaine began his initial employment with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in 1980 as deputy sheriff assigned to the Uniformed Patrol Division. After completing basic training at the Arkansas Law Enforcement Academy in the summer of 1980, he quickly rose through the ranks, ultimately being elected the 30th Jefferson County Sheriff and serving from 1999-2006. Also during his tenure, Sheriff Fontaine served as a Commissioner on the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training (CLEST), appointed by then Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee in 2001.
“He was a leader whose ethics matched the culture of the men and women of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Fontaine embodied the mantra that “As leaders, you set an ethical standard and become an example to the whole organization.” He was the epitome of that ethical standard. He kept his promises, and ended his time in office leaving the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office better than when he started.”
Prior to his employment with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Fontaine was one of the most decorated American combat soldiers known to the State of Arkansas. The U.S. Marine Corps recognized him with multiple awards for his bravery, heroism, and military service. Sheriff Fontaine’s most notable awards include 4 purple hearts within a short span of two years (1971-1972) in addition to the Silver Star and the Bronze Star with Combat “V”.
“Hemingway described courage as “grace under pressure.” There is no one who embodied that description more than Sheriff Fontaine. He lived his life and led soldiers and deputies alike with courage, grace, and dignity. Sheriff Fontaine bravely closed his life in the same manner. When he endorsed my candidacy for sheriff in 2018, along with then-Sheriff Gerald Robinson, who succeeded him in office before being elected County Judge in 2018, Sheriff Fontaine reminded me to remain humble, steadfast, and always focused on the people. When we last spoke, Sheriff Fontaine was full of life and his deep love and appreciation for the people of Jefferson County was still very much evident. His legacy will endure for many years through all those he mentored and entrusted with helping him lead the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office into a newfound era.”
“For me personally, Sheriff Fontaine was a mentor and father figure. I will continue to be inspired by his commitment to always do the right thing, regardless of the consequences and serve with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and community’s interests first without the need for self-recognition. I am tremendously grateful for the opportunities he presented me, and the many lessons I learned from him over the years.