Longtime St. Clair County Sheriff Justus dies

Mearl Justus (right) is pictured with his wife Audrey during a law enforcement awards banquet at The Falls in Columbia in January 2009. (Alan Dooley photo)

Justus, 81, served as St. Clair County Sheriff since 1982.  Prior to that, he was Cahokia Chief of Police since 1962. Altogether, he served as a law enforcement officer for some 60 years.

“His contributions, leadership, and legacy will be remembered for many years to come,” U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello (D-Belleville) stated in a news release.

Rick Watson was sworn in earlier this week as the new sheriff of St. Clair County.

Visitation for Justus has been set for Thursday, Dec. 20, from 4:30 to 8 p.m. and Friday, Dec. 21, from 3 to 8 p.m., at Holy Family Church in Cahokia.

Funeral services take place 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, at Holy Family Church. Once the church is filled, an overflow crowd will be able to watch the funeral via live simulcast at the Cahokia K of C Hall. 

Burial will be at Valhalla Cemetery, Belleville. 

Memorials may be made to the Program and Services for Older Persons and Mearl J. Justus Scholarship Fund at Southwestern Illinois College, Belleville.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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