Dever's not interested in seeking other office.

For one thing, his wife of 38 years, Nancy, a longtime special-education teacher and consultant, wouldn't be happy if he did.

"I still like him a little and would like to spend more time with him," she says, smiling to suggest that she likes him a lot more than a little.

Larry Dever
Jamie Peachey
Larry Dever
Larry Dever, circa 1960, preps for his future job as Cochise County sheriff.
Larry Dever, circa 1960, preps for his future job as Cochise County sheriff.

For another, Dever wouldn't get to be sheriff anymore, and that is all he wants to be. He is running unopposed this November for another four-year stint.

"I see all these people out there who are looking for work, and I do work that I love," he says. "I'll have a hard time walking away from it."

The father of six grown sons, grandfather to 13 and counting, and friend to those three golden retrievers can be something of a homebody. He says his favorite view in the world is of the rugged Dragoon Mountains out the back door of his home in tiny St. David.

The Dragoons was where Chief Cochise and his band of Chiricahua Apaches fled from the U.S. Army in the early 1860s, about two decades before the chief had an Arizona county posthumously named after him.

St. David is a town of about 1,800 people in the San Pedro Valley about 15 miles west of storied Tombstone and 10 miles south of Interstate 10. Named after an apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (David Patten) who died in 1838, a majority of St. David's residents are Mormon.

The Dever residence sits at the end of an unpaved road lined with mature pecan and almond trees. It's cozy, welcoming, and has the lived-in look befitting a place where six very active boys were raised.

Larry and Nancy Dever had their home built in 1977 for $24,600, and they stayed put, adding a wing as their brood expanded.

All the kids are out on their own now — one is an Army major, another a firefighter, three are city police officers around Arizona (none in Cochise County), and the youngest works at Sky Harbor International Airport.

Dever's parents, Kline and Annie, live about 100 yards away, retired long ago from jobs as a foreman for the Arizona Department of Transportation and at Apache Nitrogen Products, respectively.

The second-born of three brothers, Dever was brought up in St. David, where he went to the quaint high school (graduating class: 22) that sits on the main drag, Highway 80.

He describes an upbringing in which sports (especially his beloved baseball — he was a defensive star for the St. David Tigers in high school), hunting, and fishing kept him out of trouble most of the time.

Dever's first paid job at 14 was hoeing cotton near St. David for 50 cents an hour.

"Worst job I ever had," he says. "You couldn't even see the end of the row when you started."

Throughout high school, Dever worked as a laborer for a local guy who was building a home/bomb shelter. He started at $1 an hour, which was bumped to $1.75 an hour by his senior year.

Dever moved up to Tucson after graduation to attend the University of Arizona. But the small-town boy was not ready for the rigors of life in what for him was a big city.

After struggling mightily there for a year, Dever says, he decided to go on his two-year church mission. He wasn't devout, but he looked at the mission as an opportunity.

His assignment to Panama, Nicaragua, and Honduras wasn't cushy.

"For the first six weeks, I was the most miserable human being around," Dever says. "I was living in a place that was filthy, contaminated. Then, for whatever reason, I told myself one day to just immerse myself in the culture, the language, the mission. I met Mormon guys down there who were so pious, so stiff, that they couldn't have fun. You can't do evangelical work preaching the Gospel right unless you learn to love, like, and appreciate the people you're meeting."

Dever returned to the States as an anemic 21-year-old who weighed 129 pounds — 25 pounds lighter than when he left.

He moved back to Tucson for about a year, where he worked as a bank teller, among other jobs. In 1973, Dever enrolled at Brigham Young University, where he got a part-time campus gig as a Spanish instructor for aspiring missionaries.

It was in Provo where he met spunky coed Nancy Meister, a Southern California girl who had converted to Mormonism as a teen.

The two got married in Los Angeles in December 1973 and moved within the year to San Diego.

For a stretch, the young couple lived in a tiny flat at a mortuary. They got paid to pick up bodies from the morgue in a hearse. Dever completed three-plus years at San Diego State, where he majored in English and minored in Spanish but never graduated.

The Devers' eldest son, Brendon (the Army major), was born in 1975. Nancy already was pregnant with their second boy when Larry's uncle, Burt Goodman, then a high-ranking officer with the Cochise County Sheriff's Office, asked him in late '75 if he wanted to become a deputy.

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Arizona has lost a leader of more than three decades in our law enforcement community. My thoughts and prayers today – and those of Arizonans, I am sure – are with his wife, Nancy, their children, friends and colleagues as they cope with this terrible loss

In honor of Sheriff Larry Albert Dever and his 34 years of dedicated service to the State of Arizona, and for the peace of mind he has provided the citizens of Cochise County, I have ordered that flags at all State buildings be lowered to half-staff until sunset today, September 19, 2012, and again on his day of interment, for which services are pending."


@brahmresnik sheriff joe is a real a sheriff and so is the other one you named there all good


@brahmresnik You couldn't tell from Babeu's multiple TV appearances today that they ended badly.


@brahmresnik He was a good guy. RIP.


@Kit_Quemada Sure can't. Some unfinished business there.

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