• Search

Hero Down: Grafton County Deputy Barry Wingate Dies While Getting Ready For Shift

Bristol, NH – Grafton County Sheriff’s Department (GCSD) Deputy Barry Wingate died unexpectedly at his home on April 3.

The 76-year-old deputy previously served more than 35 years with the Bristol Police Department (BPD), where he spent more than three decades as chief, according to his obituary.

Deputy Wingate’s widow, Jean, said her husband was recently medically cleared to undergo the first of two cataract surgeries on April 11, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.

He got up at 5 a.m. on April 3 to go to work, but when he didn’t emerge from the bathroom, Jean went in to check on him and found him unresponsive.

Jean said it is believed her husband suffered a fatal cardiac event, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.

“He was on so many meds but he just didn’t want to quit,” she said. “He thought he was 40. He was a go-getter. They’d call him at 2 o’clock in the morning and he’d go. He seldom said no.”

Jean said Deputy Wingate planned to retire sometime after celebrating his 50th year as a law enforcement officer, which was just 24 days away, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.

“We were just going to travel a lot more and he was going to play tennis and golf,” she said. “He was my rock.”

Deputy Wingate enlisted in the U.S. Air Force after high school, where he trained as a vehicle mechanic, according to his obituary.

He was honorably discharged after four years of service and joined the BPD as a patrolman shortly thereafter.

Three years into his law enforcement career, Deputy Wingate was named chief of the BPD.

He remained at the helm of the department until his retirement in 2007, but continued serving the BPD as a part-time officer for another seven years while simultaneously working his new part-time position at the GCSD, the police department said in a Facebook post.

Grafton County Sheriff Jeff Stiegler said Deputy Wingate was “really something special” and that he will be sorely missed, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.

“We’re very saddened and it’s with a heavy heart that we move forward to honor his legacy,” Sheriff Stiegler said. “He was a consummate professional and a cop’s cop.”

In addition to his wife, Deputy Wingate also leaves behind his children, Shelly, Robert, and William, and his granddaughters, Sandra and Emily, according to his obituary.

He is also survived by his sister, nephews, and nieces.

Deputy Wingate will be laid to rest on April 12.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Grafton County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Barry Wingate, 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


Sign up to our daily newsletter so you don't miss out on the latest events surrounding law enforcement!

Follow Me

Follow us on social media and be sure to mark us as "See First."