Former Belmont County Sherriff Tom McCort, 79, of Morristown, died last week following a lengthy battle with cancer.

"With heartfelt sadness, we will remember with honor and respect Retired Sheriff Thomas C. McCort," Belmont County Sheriff Dave Lucas told WTRF.com. "Tom cared about the people of Belmont County. Each of us who worked for Sheriff McCort could provide examples of his leadership and friendship. Each was proud to serve with Sheriff McCort."

According to WTRF.com, Lucas said McCort came to the sheriff’s office when it was at its former location next to the courthouse in downtown St. Clairsville. He helped to plan the building of the new offices and jail, and moved the sheriff’s office to its current Hammond Road location in 1996.

McCort’s death came nearly a year after Retired Guernsey County Sheriff James "Peanut" Carpenter passed away on April 7, 2019. Like McCort, Carpenter served as sheriff for 20 years making them two of the longest serving sheriffs in Ohio.

A native of Malaga, McCort served as Union Township constable for many years before he was elected sheriff as a Democrat in 1984. He served five terms retiring from the post in 2005.

McCort, a 32nd Degree Mason was a member of Kirkwood Lodge #446 at Hendrysburg and a member of the Thoburn United Methodist Church in St. Clairsville. He is survived by his wife, Pamela Ressler McCort, former editor and longtime employee of the Barnesville Enterprise; three sons; four grandchildren; and three great-grandsons.

McCort was an avid historian and storyteller. Memorial contributions may be made to the Morristown Historic Preservation Association, PO Box 102, Morristown, OH 43759, of which McCort was an active member and driving force.

A memorial service will be celebrated once the coronavirus pandemic passes.

Toothman Funeral Home is handling arrangements.