Roy Herron

By Michael Mills

WEAKLEY COUNTY — A long-time Tennessee lawmaker and former Democratic Party Chairperson has died, leaving an empty void in the hearts of many.

 Herron, 69, passed away on Sunday at the Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville.

He had been hospitalized since a jet ski collision that took place at Kentucky Lake on July 1.

Dresden Mayor Mark Maddox, who was very close to Herron, said that he is deeply saddened by his passing.

Maddox said that he first met Herron when he was 11 years old at a Boy Scout camp.

“Roy was a people person who was dedicated to passing on leadership qualities to the next generation. He really loved people and wanted to help them. He lived a life that exemplified that kind of service,” Maddox said.

An example of this is when a tornado devastated his hometown of Dresden just before Christmas in 2021.

Herron organized a fundraising effort, amassing more than $100,000 to aid recovery efforts.

Herron was known for being an athlete in his youth, and he maintained an active lifestyle all the way until his unfortunate passing.

He was known for his dedication and service, with a decorated political career spanning over two decades.

Herron first served a decade as a state representative and then as the state senator for the 24th district for 16 years.

He later became Chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party. Herron also authored three books and was an ordained Methodist minister.

Tommy Moore, a General Sessions Judge in Weakley County, who grew up with Herron, says that Herron was a great man who loved his family and community.

“We are all grieving. Everybody I’ve talked to, all of his friends, and the people that grew up with him here. We have been talking about him for a week. He has been the topic of our conversations and he has been on our minds and hearts. We grieve with the family,” Moore said.

Moore says some of his favorite memories with Herron are from when they were in Scouts together as kids and played basketball in school.

Maddox also shared his favorite memories.

“Definitely that first camporee where a lot of the young men were taken on the snipe hunt, and Roy kept me with him so I didn’t have to experience much of that,” Maddox said.

Maddox also said he has great memories serving with him in the legislature.

A visitation is planned for Herron on Friday, July 14 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 15 at the First United Methodist Church in Martin. It can be found at 225 Main Street.

Burial will be at Sunset Cemetery in Dresden. Arrangements are being made by Murphy Funeral Home in Martin.