Johnson County sheriff’s lieutenant, Army veteran loses his battle to leukemia

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JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. -- Lieutenant Joseph Nagy, 51, a 23 year veteran of the Johnson County Sheriff's Office, who also served 11 years in the U.S. Army, died Sunday from medical complications.

His life left an impression on many, and his legacy lives on.

"He passed away from kidney failure, but he had two different forms of Leukemia as well," said Major Dale Reed, a close friend of Nagy's.

Reed says they've known each other for more than two decades.

"He's been here for about 23 years and I've actually worked with him for close to 20 of those 23 years," Reed said.

They worked at the Johnson County Sheriff's Office together, but they often went shooting together outside of work.

"Did not say a lot, but what he had to say was always important and witty," Reed said.

Reed says Nagy has been ill for a while, and had several medical complications.

"I had seen him ill for the past several days, so we kind of knew it was coming," said Reed.

Before coming to the Sheriff's Office, Nagy served in the U.S. Army for 11 years. Those who knew him well say he was an excellent training officer and mentor.

"I came back to him, even though I was in a different division, I came back to him regularly for advice," said Brenda Gammell, Nagy's mentee.

Gammell says Nagy was very supportive and empowering, and she felt like he took her under his wing.

"His timing was always impeccable; it was when I was faced with a challenge," said Gammell. "He would just have that innate sense where he just knew that someone needed something."

Both Reed and Gammell say losing Nagy is a huge loss for the Sheriff's office.

"Anytime you lose somebody with 23 plus years, that's hard just to replace the experience, but Joe himself was an extremely loyal person, dedicated to the organization and the community," said Reed.

Those close to Nagy say he has been in the hospital for the past few weeks, and while it's terribly sad to see him go, they're thankful he`s not suffering anymore.

"Even though he has passed, his spirit will still live through us," Gammell said.

"I told his family ‘nobody can replace Joe,’" said Reed.

Nagy leaves behind a wife and two children. The funeral will be held this weekend.