HAMPTON -- When Franklin County Sheriff Linn Larson was sworn into his new role in December 2016, one of his first actions was to remove the county's "sanctuary county" label.
Hampton Mayor Brook Boehmler said many people — especially Hispanic residents in Hampton — were nervous about the change. But Larson held two community forums in the Hampton-Dumont High School gymnasium and spent time answering questions from Franklin County residents.
"He's a man of his word, and his integrity is without reproach," Boehmler said.
"He cared about people, he wanted to make sure everyone was happy and safe and secure no matter what their nationality was or where they came from," he added.
Linn Larson, of Dows, died Tuesday at age 59.
According to a news release from the Franklin County Sheriff's office, Linn started his career in law enforcement in April 1978 when he was hired as a police officer with the Belmond Police Department.
He eventually climbed the ladder to become police chief in November 1983. The Franklin County Sheriff's office hired him in August 2006 and Larson was promoted to chief deputy in 2008 before being elected sheriff in November 2016.
Hampton Police Chief Robert Schaefer said he was "shocked" when he first heard Larson had died.
"He was somebody who was great to work with," Schaefer said. "He was very helpful as far as any input we would need ... and was always willing to go and assist in any way that he could."
Schaefer said an example was during the Ethan Kazmerzak case. Kazmerzak has been missing since Sept. 15, 2013.
Larson would share any possible leads and information with the Hampton Police Department, Schafer said.
Stephen Bardole, deputy sheriff within the Franklin Sheriff's Office, said Larson had been battling cancer for about seven years. He was shocked to learn about Larson's death.
Larson was willing to help anyone who needed assistance, Bardole said. And he was one of the hardest workers he ever met: Even throughout cancer treatment, Larson would work from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. during his shifts, and never complained.
"I think most people would crumble under that," Bardole said. "But he would still do the work, even during treatment ... if all of us could work that hard, I think the world would be a better place."
He was also an avid kayaker and fisherman, Bardole added.
"He was a great leader, and he'll be missed," he said.
Visitation will be 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Church of the Living Word in Hampton, and services will be 1 p.m. Friday at the church. Sietsema-Vogel Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.