Former Sheriff and community leader Doug Call passes
UPDATE: Doug Call's full obituary can be viewed by clicking here.
Doug Call, whose noteworthy contributions to the people of Genesee County could take pages to list, passed away Sunday.
Call, 73, was a Democrat who was elected Sheriff in a Republican county, an innovator who helped found Genesee Justice, a former Stafford Town Justice, a minister, a volunteer on numerous civic committees, a former public safety director in Monroe County and twice a candidate for Congress.
"He was just one of the finest human beings God has ever put breath into," said attorney Michael Del Plato, who worked in private practice with Call for more than 20 years. "He was an honest, principled man in all respects -- his approach to people and his approach to the law and his overriding spirituality.
Call grew up in Stafford and his longtime assistant Mary Kay Casey said Call's farming background combined with is legal training made Call a very "grassroots" person who believed people should be involved in their community.
"I think he truly cared about where he lived and where he came from," Casey said.
Call is survived by his wife, Donna, and children Christopher, Matthew and Courtney Kennedy as well as several grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by H.E. Turner and details are not yet available.
Call's time in the military sent him to Germany and Turkey and he was a judge for the Judge Advocate General's Office.
In the late 1970s, one the biggest issues confronting Genesee County was whether to build a new jail. Call, like many taxpayers, was against the idea.
He, along with Glenn Morton and Charles Graney, envisioned a system where people accused of certain crimes could be supervised while awaiting trial.
Running for Sheriff on a platform that would solve the jail population problem and save taxpayers money, Call became one of the few Democrats in modern times to win a countywide seat in Genesee County.
"You can either be the last county in the nation to build a 90-bed maximum security jail, or you can be the first to try to keep people out of jail by holding offenders accountable," Call wrote in a letter to the editor prior to the election.
Call, working with Morton and Graney, secured grants to create Genesee Justice and hired Dennis Wittman to run the program. (See The Genesee Justice Story).
Near the end of his second term, Call took a job in Monroe County as director of public safety. He relinquished his Sheriff's badge and recommended that Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo appoint Gary Maha, a Republican, to the position, which Cuomo did.
Maha remembers Call as a visionary.
He was the "father" of our current Genesee Justice Programs. Back then it was called "Community Service/Victim Assistance" and was primarily a tool for the judges to use (community service) rather than jail. The intent of the programs were to make the defendant accountable to the victim and community. The programs under Genesee Justice have expanded over the years. Doug also was the first in New York State to implement "DWI Checkpoints" and the protocols used by the Genesee County Sheriff's Office served as a model for other law enforcement agencies.
Besides running unsuccessfully for Congress after Barber Conable stepped down, Call also tried for a seat as Family Court judge. He did serve several terms as a Stafford Town Justice.
Call also served on committees related to the reconstruction of Dwyer Stadium and the hospital merger, plus other local committees and civic organizations.
"His contributes to the community and the organizations he volunteered for are innumerable," Del Plato said. "He was a man who gave his time and resources unselfishly for the better of his community and every organization he was involved in."
NOTE: We'll update this story when more information is released by Turner.
Who can forget the giant telephone on the corner of Oak & Main that boasted a sign reading "CALL FOR CONGRESS"
Who can forget a man that dedicated his life to our community.
R.I.P. Mr. Call, knowing that you gave so much to our community over the years.
Doug Call was one fine gentleman. He will be missed.
Rest In Peace
I didn't know him but God rest his soul and my condolences to his family. What I have heard of him he was a rare man in this world a man of character that could be a character.
His major contribution was the first ever roadblocks for dwi, started in Genesee County, Ny.
My brother Rich and I were Special Deputies with the Sheriff"s Dept. through the Genesee County Auxiliary Police(Civil Defense) while Doug was Sheriff and we worked on the DWI checkpoints directing traffic.
Doug was my lawyer during my divorce and even though I hadn't talked with him for 20 years he remembered that I was involved back then.
You could tell the man was genuine right from the first time you looked him in the eye. I am sad that he is gone.
He was World Class
Great comment, Don. Thanks for sharing.