‘He believed in every person he ever met’ – Sheriff Peterkin remembered, honored, mourned at emotional service

‘He believed in every person he ever met’ – Sheriff Peterkin remembered, honored, mourned at emotional service

[Photo: The funeral was held at Cape Fear Conference B Headquarters Friday afternoon. Seats were packed with Peterkin’s family, friends and fellow law enforcement officers; WRAL live-streamed the service.]

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Bold, courageous, reliable, a mentor, a dedicated man – that was how friends and fellow leaders described Hoke County Sheriff Dr. Hubert Peterkin at a funeral held Friday to celebrate his life and legacy.

What made Peterkin so special was the strength he drew from the people around him, his son Antonio Peterkin said.

“If you were to take anything from him, understand that what made him special was that he knew that every person he ever met, he held to the same standard, no matter if he liked you or not. And the strength he drew and took from his brothers and sisters, whether family, law enforcement, government, didn’t matter. He believed in every person he ever met,” the sheriff’s son said.

“For me personally I guess, you know, I’m at peace with what happened because his brothers and sisters can tell you that they spent every day of their lives fighting. Every day. My father came onto this earth fighting, he spent every single day on it fighting, and he left here fighting.”

In a recorded message played during the funeral, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the late sheriff made a significant impact on public safety, not only in Hoke County but for communities all across the state.

“Our hearts are heavy for you. Kristin and I and all of North Carolina are praying for you. Sheriff Peterkin meant so much to so many of us,” Cooper said. “He was a great ambassador for Hoke County, but his leadership went beyond county lines. He was the consummate law enforcement professional.”

The governor said others can honor Peterkin’s memory by continuing the work Peterkin dedicated his life to pursuing.

“He’s my friend, we’ll miss him, and I know he leaves a wide hole in hearts that will be hard to fill. We can honor his memory by continuing our work to carry out his mission, safe and thriving families and communities in Hoke County and all of North Carolina. I believe with all my heart, God is saying, Sheriff Peterkin, well done, good and faithful servant,” Cooper said.

Hoke Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy David Newton said of his late mentor that Peterkin was a man of vision.

“He’s an exceptional leader that challenges not only himself, but everyone around him to always keep moving forward, to keep growing, to keep learning, to keep improving. He’s never satisfied with just to be good. He wants to be great, and he motivates those around him to be great with him,” Newton said.

In a eulogy for Peterkin, Rev. Christoppher Stackhouse described the sheriff as a man who led from the heart.

“We’ve assembled today, packed in this place not because of the uniform that he wore, not because of the badge on his chest, but because of the heart that man had,” he said.

When the pastor would go to visit with a person who was sick, or a bereaved family, often he would arrive to hear the same thing.

“I’d go visit people who just lost loved ones. They would say, Pastor Stackhouse, good to see you. You just missed Sheriff Peterkin,” Stackhouse said. “That’s not about the uniform. That’s not about the badge. Brothers and sisters, that’s about the heart. He cared about people from his heart.”

The Hoke County Commissioners, Raeford Mayor John K. McNeill, State Sen. Ben Clark, Rep. Garland Pierce, and the president of the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association were among those who offered tribute to Peterkin during the funeral. The commissioners presented the family with a resolution honoring the sheriff’s many years of service.

Following the funeral, a procession of law enforcement vehicles from Hoke County, Fayetteville, Wake County and many other parts of the state turned on their lights and sirens as they drove past the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office where Peterkin served in office for nearly 20 years.

[See the News-Journal Wednesday for the full story.]

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