Salem and the world said goodbye May 10 to Gene Maguffee, who served the people of Fulton County for a third of a century and half of his life as Fulton County Clerk. Maguffee died May 10 at the age of 65.
Maguffee was born Sept. 18, 1943, in Salem to Luther Obed and Beulah Edith (Kersey) Maguffee. He attended the Salem School District and graduated in 1960 and soon found himself working on a road crew as a surveyor.
In 1964, he joined the U.S. Army and went to Vietnam. Maguffee, who saw live action on several occasions, once said he was proud of his battalion for firing over 100,000 rounds without a single friendly fire accident.
Maguffee returned home and tried various jobs including selling insurance and driving a fertilizer truck until 1971 when he made the decision to take his life in a different direction.
Maguffee was hired as a deputy clerk and worked under Fulton County Clerk Lester Collins, who decided to retire only a year after Maguffee had started.
Maguffee set his sights on Collins' county seat and won his position as Fulton County Clerk.
Over the next three decades Maguffee remained in office relatively unchallenged, except in 1986 when Mike Martin ran against him only to see Maguffee win by a landslide.
Maguffee remained in office, setting a record for the longest consecutive clerk tenure in Fulton County history, until 2005 when he passed the torch to current Fulton County Clerk Vickie Bishop.
Bishop, who worked for Maguffee as a deputy for 25 years, said the fact that county citizens voted him into office time after time was a testament to his accomplishment as clerk. "He was the most honest and sincere person I have ever known," Bishop said.
Setting a political record wasn't the only thing Maguffee accomplished. He was an active member of the V.F.W Post 9777 as quartermaster and served as treasurer for the Fulton County Democratic Party.
Maguffee is survived by: his wife, Sharon Maguffee, of Salem; two daughters, Dana Gene Shewbuirt of Texarkana and Whitney Lynn Maguffee of Salem; twin sister, Joyce Burk and husband Larry of Gassville; two grandchildren, David James and Erica Lynn Shewbuirt; nephew and niece, Bob and Marvin Maguffee, Steve and Ron Burk and Marsha Loftin; sister-in-law, Leota Maguffee of Salem; and a host of other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by: his parents and a brother, Marshall Dale Maguffee.
Funeral services were held May 13 at the Barker Funeral Home Chapel in Salem, with Bro. John Hodges officiating.
"We will miss him greatly," Bishop said.