"Lonnie McCullough will be deeply missed among the community of law enforcement and the community of Cassville," said Dana Kammerlohr, current Cassville Police chief. "Lonnie always had Cassville's best interest in mind. He was very much involved in community events and school events.
"If the chamber needed something, he was there to help, and if the school needed something, he was there to help," said Kammerlohr. "He was a great example of what community service in police work was all about, and he was a strong leader as chairman of Community 2000."
McCullough began serving the Cassville Police Department on Jan. 1, 1981. Prior to working for the city, he worked for the Barry County Sheriff's Department and the local ambulance district. McCullough served as the city's chief of police from 2002 until his retirement in 2009.
"Lonnie has had many years of experience in the field of law enforcement," said Kammerlohr. "When I was hired as police chief, I knew I had big shoes to fill and would never be able to walk in his shoes. As Lonnie and I made the transition of him retiring and me taking over, I realized how he had prepared the police department to continue and the transition was made easy.
"For those who were willing to listen, Lonnie shared a lot of knowledge, and those who chose not to listen lost out on valuable advice," said Kammerlohr. "Lonnie was patient when needed and reacted when called for. Lonnie had a love for children and fishing. He was always involved in activities such as Roaring River Kids Fishing Day."
McCullough served as Cassville's DARE public education officer from 1995 to 2002. During this time, he also founded the Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs program, which offered summer fishing activities to encourage students to stay off of drugs.
"Lonnie was the driving force behind that program," said Darren Rhea, Cassville Middle School teacher and Hooked on Fishing advisor. "He thought it was important to get every kid outdoors so they could learn to enjoy those activities.
"He was always on hand to help out with the program," said Rhea. "He loved going on float trips with the kids. Anytime he could help the kids he enjoyed it so much."
Rhea said McCullough worked with students through the Hooked on Fishing program for many years.
"During his time in the DARE program in the school and as chief, Lonnie was always encouraging young people to make the right choice," said Kammerlohr. "He touched a lot of lives in a positive way during his career. The community of Cassville has lost a true supporter of the community, and the Cassville Police Department has lost a dedicated friend."
McCullough was a founding member of the Cassville Community 2000 Coalition, said Kati Rose, former C2000 project director and former Cassville city administrator. He served as coalition chairman for around a dozen years.
"Lonnie was instrumental in keeping the coalition going over the first 10 years," said Rose. "He was such a special person, and he cared about everyone.
"He had such an impact when he was police chief because he cared about the whole community and every person in it," said Rose. "He cared so much for the youth, and he understood that if he could make an impact on their lives as youth he could make a big impact on the community in the future. I will miss him so much."
Services for McCullough have been scheduled to be held at the First Baptist Church in Cassville at 10 a.m. on Friday. A complete obituary can be found in this week's newspaper.