Minneapolis, MN – Sibley County Sheriff Bruce Ponath died unexpectedly on Nov. 24, after serving as a law enforcement officer for nearly three decades.
Sheriff Ponath, 53, passed away at Hennepin Healthcare, according to his obituary.
His exact cause of death was not released.
Sheriff Ponath worked as a law enforcement officer in Stewart, Silver Lake, and Le Center before he joined the Sibley County Sheriff’s Office in October of 1989, and spent the next decade serving as a deputy, the Belle Plaine Herald reported.
In January of 1999, he was promoted to the rank of chief deputy, and he continued working in that capacity until Jan. 6, 2003, when he began his first term as sheriff.
For the past 16 years, Sheriff Ponath has been at the helm of the department, and planned to retire in January of 2019, at the end of his current term.
Sibley County Sheriff’s Posse Captain Tim Briard, who has known Sheriff Ponath for 20 years, said the sheriff was a “very fair” law enforcement officer throughout his career.
The duo also spent time together outside the office, and especially enjoyed going bird hunting.
“Other than being a great friend and a great sheriff, I know he loved his family and loved life,” Briard said. “It is sad that is gone so quickly.”
In a Twitter post, the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association described Sheriff Ponath as an “absolutely extraordinary man” who “will be missed by many.”
Sheriff Ponath leaves behind his wife of 26 years, Stephanie, as well as his sons, Taylor, Max, and Mason, according to his obituary.
He is also survived by his parents, siblings, and many friends and extended family members.
Sheriff Ponath was laid to rest on Nov. 30.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Sibley County Sheriff Bruce Ponath, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.