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We are saddened to announce the passing of Welaka Town Councilman Willie Washington last night.

Elected to the Welaka Town Council in the late 1960s, Washington was not allowed to be sworn in at the original Town Hall due to segregation laws.

Born and raised in Putnam County, Washington not only served the community as a politician, he was also the first black deputy constable for Putnam County. After serving as a sheriff's deputy, he attained the rank of Corporal. Washington became police chief for the town of Welaka in 1995 and served until 2000. He returned to the sheriff's office in 2001 and helped with civil processing until 2009 when he retired a second time.

"He (Willie) was a consummate gentleman. He always made decisions to help others and he was genuine in a time when he and others in our community were faced with adversity and he persevered. His loss will definitely be felt in the Welaka and South Putnam community. He never tarnished his badge in serving as a law enforcement officer for 35 years, and our condolences go to his family and friends," Sheriff Gator DeLoach said.

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