The city of West is mourning the loss of City Marshal Michael Keathley who died Friday from COVID-19.
“It is with an extremely heavy heart that we inform the West community of the ultimately death of our city marshal, who worked under the City of West and the West Police Department,” the police department stated in a Facebook post on Friday.
Keathley, 63, of Hallsburg, had been suffering with medical issues for a few weeks due to COVID-19 and had been hospitalized.
In an interview, Police Chief Darryl Barton said he and Keathley were among five members of the West force that contracted the virus in August. Keathley was the only one who did not recover, the chief said.
“It hit him harder than it did us,” Barton said. “It was tough. We were hoping and praying we would all come back but one of us didn’t.”
Barton said Keathley had been with the department since 2014 and was a few months away from his seventh year with the city of West.
Keathley served as a patrol officer, school resource officer, code enforcement officer and animal control authority, among other positions.
According to Barton, Keathley had been in law enforcement for 22 years, also serving with other departments including the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office and the Beverly Hills Police Department.
Barton asks the community to keep Keathley’s family in their thoughts as they are devastated by his loss.
“We are asking for the community to pray for his family who is taking it pretty hard and keep the family in their thoughts,” Barton said. “He will be surely missed here at West.”
The department will have Keathley’s marshal patrol SUV parked on the north lawn of the West City Hall and police department to honor him and welcomes those who wish to place a memorial for him on the patrol vehicle to do so.