The man known to all of Minden simply as "The Chief" will be laid to rest Tuesday, following a service celebrating his life at 10 a.m. at First Baptist Church.
T. C. (Thomas Cameron) Bloxom Jr., was born Sept. 3, 1929, in Mansfield and died Saturday, July 12 at his home in Minden at 84.
Pam, the chief's wife of 22 years, said the outpouring from the community over the past few days has been outstanding.
"It's been a comfort," she said. "Everybody has a T.C. story, and they've been coming over here and telling these stories."
Pam said it has brought a lot of laughter to their home, which adds an element of healing.
"T.C. always said that if you couldn't laugh at yourself, you don't have the right to laugh at anybody else," she said. "Those are the stories that have been circulating this community for two days now."
Pam said the family has known Bloxom's health was failing since last week.
"As soon as Minden learned of T.C.'s condition, prayers began from all churches, all folks from throughout Minden," she said. "Their notes and emails offering encouragement were offered with love and heartfelt concern. This community is like none other.
"Yesterday, after T.C. went to his heavenly home, the news spread through Minden like a wildfire," Pam continued. "Once again, messages expressing respect and adoration for the Chief made me so thankful that we had T.C. Bloxom to care for us for those many years."
Pam said Bloxom always claimed to be the "Last of the Western Lawmen."
"But he was much more to so many people," she said. "There is no way to assess how many lives were touched by him, how many people were helped by him, but today I know our entire community is mourning our Chief."
Bloxom was a member of First Baptist Church before marrying Pam and even though they attended First United Methodist Church, he never moved his membership. During his time at FBC, Bloxom sang in the choir.
Marsha Braswell said she has many memories of him with his deep, gravely voice in the choir.
"I remember the red light that was installed in the balcony over the broadcast booth in the old church," Braswell said. "The light would be turned on to tell him he had to leave on a call. I always looked up to him – he was a big, tender-hearted guy. He definitely leaves a legacy in Minden and Webster Parish.
Bloxom is the only person in Minden to wear hats belonging to fire and police chief at the same time. He officially joined the Minden Fire Department in 1945 but climbed out the window at Minden High School two years earlier to fight a fire. He was 14 at the time.
Before joining the Minden Police Department, Bloxom served Webster Parish as tax collector and then criminal investigator for Sheriff O.H. Haynes Jr., retiring from WPSO in 1982.
Bloxom was first elected Minden's police chief in November 1990 and took office January 1 of the following year.
Tuffy Dubois, who recently retired from the police department, was already in place when Bloxom was elected.
"I was really worried because I had heard he was an old bear," Dubois said. "It took some getting use to. In no time at all, I saw the compassionate side of him."
Dubois said Bloxom was tough on crime.
"He cleaned Minden up," she said. "The drug dealers left or went under ground. They were no longer openly selling drugs on the streets. We had a great team back then."
Dubois said not only the people who worked with Bloxom, but most of the public, saw him as being "10 feet tall and bulletproof."
"I think in all those years he took only one or two vacations," she reflected. "It was as if he thought he would let the citizens down if he left Minden. He was a very strict disciplinarian and that was what it took to have a great department. It was my pleasure to work for such a fine man. He left his mark on this town and this parish."
Bloxom served as police chief for 20 years and hung up his shield in January 2011. Family, friends and fellow law enforcement officers gave Bloxom a huge send-off at the Minden Civic Center.
"He (Bloxom) taught us all a lot about law enforcement," retired Judge Graydon Kitchens said during the retirement celebration. "He's protected us – he's protected our community and he's very proud that our streets are a lot safer now than they were when he became chief of police.
But, Bloxom got in the last word by saying he came to the job of chief when "things were pretty rough. I thought it would be an easy job, but it wasn't."
Bloxom then said his "good-byes" by reciting a portion of his favorite poem.
"When I die, bury me deep, bury me where the bullfrogs leap. Lay this handgun upon my chest and tell the people I done my best."