Former Madison County Sheriff Blake Dorning laid to rest
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Former Madison County Sheriff Blake Dorning was laid to rest Saturday. He passed away earlier this week after a long battle with cancer. Dorning was 61.
He was a native of Madison County, growing up in a farming family in Harvest. He found his calling early in life, joining the Madison County Sheriff’s Office at the age of 21 as a jail deputy. He quickly worked his way up the ranks to patrolman, investigator and was elected sheriff in November of 2002, taking office the following January.
Retired Circuit Judge Billy Bell was one of the many who came to the former sheriff’s celebration of life service at the Huntsville First United Methodist Church. He was also elected for the first time in 2002. He says he and Dorning didn’t know each other well until 4 years later when they went on a religious retreat together.
“We got to talking, I went down, introduced myself, we got to know each other, praying together,” Bell told us. “If you ask me what was my relationship to Blake? He was a brother in Christ.”
Bell recounted one story that he believes sums up Dorning’s faith and character.
“We came up the courthouse elevator together, to our offices. I’d had an especially bad day. I was a family court judge, I’d been trying divorce and custody cases all week and I was beat - emotionally. And I looked over at Blake and I knew law enforcement had a hard week as well and I said ‘We sure live in a broken world, don’t we Blake?’ and he just nodded. But then when the elevator opened on the second floor, he stepped out and he looked back at me and he said - ‘But Judge, it’s gonna be all right.’”
Law enforcement from across North Alabama sent representatives to the services as a show of respect. Several local political leaders were also on hand to give the former sheriff one final goodbye.
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