It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of retired Lieutenant Gwin King, who passed away Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, loved ones, and many fellow colleagues. He served the Mt. Juliet community from 1987 to 2012. He will be missed, but his legacy will always live on. Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.
Funeral services, officiated by Bro. Jim Kubic, Rev. Danny Sellars, Terry Ashe, Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan, and Chief James Hambrick, were held Monday, Feb. 11, in the chapel of Sellars Funeral Home.
Interment in Wilson County Memorial followed the service.
Pallbearers were: Matt King, Ryan King, Braxton McFarlin, Roger Thompson, Tracy Lynn, Joe Riddle, David Stolinsky, and Larry Bowman. Honorary pallbearers were: Tanner King, Paul McFarlin, Clint Shrum, Sheriff Terry Ashe (Ret.), Sheriff Robert Bryan, Junior Harris, Tommy Burns, Chief Charles McCrary (Ret.), Billy Eakes, Sheriff Ray Russell, Sheriff Joe Ferguson, Chief Randy Trammel (Ret.), Chief James Hambrick, Chief Ted Floyd (Ret.), Asst. Chief Don Hamblen (Ret.), L.T. Wesley Neely, Ofc. Zach Atwood, Wilson County Sheriff’s Department, Lebanon Police Department, Mt. Juliet Police Department, Mt. Juliet Fire Department, and Watertown Police Department.
King is survived by wife of 15 years, Debbie Lynn King; children: Chris King, Greg (Mandy) King, Melanie (Paul) McFarlin, Joey (Jaclyn) King, Christi Steele, Misty (Jack) Matheson, Katee (Lane) Mullins, and T.J. Stephens; grandchildren: Matt King, Ryan (Amy) King, Braxton McFarlin, Tanner King, Brailey McFarlin, Brianna King, Carissa King, Katelynn Matheson, Xander Steele, Skylar Steele, Kendra Matheson, Dashton Keen, Jarret Galu, and Kinsley Matheson; and great-grandchild: Lincoln King. He is preceded in death by parents Doverd and Anna Massey King, brother Gordon King, and sister Dorothy “Dot” Nivens.
King served as the Lieutenant over the Investigative Division since the start of his career in Mt. Juliet. However, King had close to five decades dedicated to the law enforcement profession. He began his career with the Lebanon Police Department in 1964 at the age of 26. After spending five years there, he moved on to the Tennessee Highway Patrol assigned to Williamson County as a Trooper. In 1974, he was elected Sheriff of Wilson County, where he served for eight years until 1982. After his tenure as sheriff, his assistance was requested in Arizona. He spent five years working with the Pinal County, Arizona Sheriffs Office in their Fugitive Apprehension Division before coming back to Tennessee in 1987.
With over 48 years of law enforcement experience, King had a lot of firsts. He attended the first Police Trainee class for the State of Tennessee at the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy and was the first police officer in Wilson County to attend the formal law enforcement training academy. He was the first K-9 Handler at the Lebanon Police Department where he and his dog, Tiger, have the first recorded K-9 apprehensions in Wilson County. When starting his final assignment, he was the first Lieutenant over the Investigative Division for the Mt. Juliet Police Department.
Throughout his service, King has been involved in many investigations. During his tenure at the Tennessee Highway Patrol, he was on their riot squad and was present at the famous Lane College riots in Jackson, Tennessee. He caught ‘moonshine runners’ who were transporting over 200 gallons of illegal moonshine on Old Hillsboro Pike in Williamson County. When a U.S. Mail plane crashed on Concord Road, he was the lead investigator for the crash. During his first night in office as Wilson County Sheriff, he solved two robberies and put the suspects in jail. A future Wilson County Sheriff’s Deputy was kidnapped as a child, and King followed the leads to find him safe. King is responsible for the current Judicial Commissioner program in Wilson County and opened the first Juvenile Detention Center in Wilson County. At Mt. Juliet Police, he served on the Judicial Drug Task Force where he had the largest seizure of vehicles used in crimes to date.
In his many years of service to the Tennessee community, retired Lieutenant King is responsible for solving 58 murders, 3 major kidnappings, many armed robberies, and taking violent criminals off the streets. He is credited in forwarding professionalism in law enforcement across the state with his affiliation at the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy and his tenure as Sheriff in Wilson County. His successful career can be attributed to his strong ability to adapt and overcome in many situations. King was and still is highly respected by the men and women that worked with him at the Mt. Juliet Police Department, who described him as a passionate and strong leader.
Special thank you: DAVITA in Mt. Juliet, Adams Place, Dr. Greg Shepard, lab techs at St. Thomas West Oncology, and staff of the 7th floor at St. Thomas West. Sellars Funeral Home, Lebanon TN, 615.444.9393.