MONROE - Cal "Cowboy" Carey, 64, a retired Monroe County sheriff's deputy, died of cancer on Wednesday in his DeLand, Fla., home after a five-year bout with the disease.
Mr. Carey retired in 1996 after 20 years as a sheriff's deputy.
He started at the department in 1976 as a deputy, was assigned to road patrol for a time, then was a detective for about five years before returning to road patrol duty, his daughter Robin Bitz said.
Before joining the sheriff's department, Mr. Carey was a sergeant with the Luna Pier Police Department in the early 1970s, receiving the Professional Excellence Award in 1975 from the Michigan State Police.
"His career [in law enforcement] meant everything to him. He lived for it. He was very unhappy about the drug situation and prostitution at the rest stops, and he wanted to get the area safe again," his sister, Ineta Shelton, said.
A native of Morrilton, Ark., he graduated from high school in Detroit about 1960, and later worked at Consolidated Paper Co. in Monroe before becoming a police officer.
"He was very dedicated to his job [in law enforcement]. He was a very determined police officer, a very strong-willed man. And he was very close with his grandchildren," Ms. Bitz said.
In his free time, Mr. Carey enjoyed training racing horses, fishing, and watching Detroit sports. He was a fan of the Lions, Tigers, and Red Wings.
Mr. Carey was a member of Robert A. Hutchinson Lodge 113, Fraternal Order of Police, Monroe.
Surviving are his wife of 40 years, Sandy; daughters, Charlene Mitchell, Bonnie Clouse, and Robin Bitz; sister, Ineta Shelton; seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at a date yet to be determined at Roselawn Memorial Park, LaSalle, Mich. The Lankford Funeral Home, DeLand, is handling arrangements.
The family suggests tributes to the Hospice of Volusia County, Florida.