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Larry Hersey, devoted Lion, ex deputy, dies
Larry Hersey, a former sheriff's detective who worked on celebrated cases and an active member of the Ceres Lions Club, died Wednesday. Suffering from cancer, Hersey died at Memorial Medical Center. He was 77.

Hersey was the consummate Lions Club member, promoting the Ceres club in the Courier, and in the Lions International magazine. On one occasion he shared his excitement with the Ceres City Council about his club making a splash in the magazine.

"He put the club on the map," said Bob Caulton, a fellow Lions Club member and friend for 40 years.

Hersey joined the club in 1991 and was active in its projects. He especially enjoyed preparing breakfast for cancer survivors at both Modesto and Ceres Relay for Life events.

Hersey was named Lion of the Year in 2000 and bestowed with the Melvin Jones Award, the highest Lions Club award. He was a "lifetime member" of the Ceres Lions Club. Hersey served as president for a year and both zone and region chairman. Caulton remembers that Hersey faithfully attended the club meetings twice each month.

Hersey was also named the Ceres Citizen of the Year in 1995.

"I've had good respect for the guy," said Caulton. "He's always been a good worker, a good neighbor."

Hersey worked a number of high-profile cases during his 11 years with the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department. He helped solve the Beno's kidnapping of Modesto infant Tommy Lauver in the 1970s. He also worked on the 1978 Mary Vincent kidnapping case. The case became a national story because of the horrifying act of Larry Singleton chopping off the young girls' arms and being left for dead after being sexually assaulted.

Hersey also worked the murder case of a young mother, killed at her Claus Road home for her baby.

Hersey helped capture the robbers who killed Deputy Billy Joe Dickens in 1970 in Hughson. The pair were apprehended the next day in Calaveras County.

Hersey was born May 16, 1930 in San Mateo and grew up in San Jose. He went into the Army, becoming a military policeman for 18 months. After leaving the Army in 1954 Hersey went to work for the Longs Drugs in San Jose, then transferred to the Modesto store in 1955. He purchased a home in Ceres in 1956 through the G.I. Bill.

When his then wife Nora was held up by an armed robber at a Ceres eatery, then Sgt. Hank Trantham asked him to consider applying to become an officer due to his military police background. He was hired as a reserve office by Chief Leroy Cunningham, then became a paid Sheriff's deputy in 1962.

Hersey retired from the department in 1981. He later worked as a counter manager for Discount Auto Electric & Radiator Service on Eighth Street in Modesto.

Hersey also belonged to the Central Valley Transportation Club and the Elks Lodge.

He leaves behind three daughters, Leslie Tate and Kathy Hersey, both of Ceres, and Sheryl Brewster of Boise, Idaho; and eight grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

Services were held on Monday at Grace Community Christian Church in Ceres.

Remembrances may be sent to the Ceres High School Scholarship Trust Fund, P.O. Box 307, Ceres CA 95307.