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Hero Down: Clay County Sheriff’s Deputy Kelly Johnson Dies Unexpectedly

Clay County, KY – Clay County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Deputy Kelly Johnson died unexpectedly while off duty on Dec. 18, according to his department.

The 51-year-old deputy’s exact cause of death was not released.

“Clay County Sheriff Patrick Robinson and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office is mourning the loss of Deputy Kelly Johnson,” the CCSO said in Facebook post later in the day. “Deputy Kelly Johnson served the citizens of Clay County with pride and integrity for many years.”

Deputy Johnson began his career with the CCSO before transferring to the Manchester City Police Department (MCPD), according to the sheriff’s office.

He served the MCPD as a patrolman for many years before retiring from the city police force and rejoining the CCSO.

Deputy Johnson was working as a school resource officer at the time of his death.

“We lost a great man,” a comment on the CCSO’s Facebook post read. “Thank you Deputy Johnson for your service [to] Clay County.”

Another person described Deputy Johnson as “one of the best,” and said his sudden death has been “heartbreaking.”

“Prayers for all who knew & loved him he was a wonderful friend,” an additional comment read. “May all have peace & comfort.”

Clay County 911 said in a Facebook post that Deputy Johnson was a key member of the local law enforcement family.

“It’s more than just working on a job together, it’s family,” the post read. “Kelly was always making everyone laugh and would do literally anything to help you. He was loved by us all and will be greatly missed. His family is in our prayers tonight.”

Deputy Johnson leaves behind his siblings, Kenneth, Kevin, Kerry, and Karen, as well as his nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews, according to his obituary.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Deputy Johnson’s family and friends as they begin to mourn his loss,” the CCSO said.

Deputy Johnson was laid to rest Dec. 22.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Clay County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Kelly Johnson, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


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