Toot remembered as servant of the county

Austin HarringtonStaff writeraharrington@amestrib.com
Toot remembered as servant of the county

Hundreds of people came together Thursday morning in Nevada to celebrate the life of Story County Supervisor and former Deputy Sheriff Paul Toot, who died last Friday at the age of 57.

Before the funeral, which took place at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church in Nevada, another ceremony took place outside of Rasmusson-Bacon Funeral Home that included a 15-gun salute by local law enforcement. During that ceremony, people close to Toot described the late supervisor as a dedicated friend, family member and servant of the people of Story County.

“Paul was a man of action,” Story County Supervisor Wayne Clinton said. “The character he exemplified will be hard to replace.”

Others took the opportunity to describe the impact that Toot had on their lives and how he changed them for the better.

“Our six years together, it’s that intense variety where you get to see someone at their best and their worst and you really start to know what makes them tick,” Story County Supervisor Rick Sanders said. “At his absolute worst, he was the most reliable person I’ve ever known.”

Toot turned 57 in January, with the majority of those years spent serving Story County — 30 years as a deputy and six more as a county supervisor.

Several people in the crowd had tears in their eyes as the rifles sounded in honor of Toot. During the Mass of Christian Burial, the tears turned to laughter at moments when Father Rick Dagit described his experiences with Toot.

Dagit said that when he first came to Nevada he was introduced to Toot as a sheriff’s deputy, which surprised him because, according to Dagit, Toot did not look like a member of law enforcement.

“And I don’t know what that means, I don’t know what a Story County deputy is supposed to look like,” Dagit said.

Dagit said that it was Toot’s face that made him appear less intimidating than other deputies, in his mind.

“That’s why to me personally, he didn’t seem like a deputy because he had a kind face, a baby face. And then I found out as the years went on that I’m not the only one who thought that, even he said that about himself. I think he said that babies like him so much because he looked like them.”

From all the comments that were made during the ceremonies in his honor on Thursday, it is clear that many people will miss Toot and his legacy will be long lasting throughout the county.