Former Belleville Police Chief and St. Clair County Sheriff Paul J. Klincar died Saturday and will be buried Thursday in Lake View Memorial Gardens.
Visitation is set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at Lake View Funeral Home in Fairview Heights; the funeral will begin at 1 p.m.
Klincar, 86, was the last Republican sheriff in St. Clair County. He was appointed sheriff in early 1977 to replace Dave O'Neal who resigned because he was elected lieutenant governor. Klincar had been the chief deputy sheriff since 1970.
Klincar began his law enforcement career with the Belleville Police Department in 1947 as a patrolman and worked his way up to become chief of police in 1968. He lived in Belleville all his life. He was a member of St. Teresa of The Child Jesus Parish.
His son, David, said his dad left after a year of police service to take a better paying job at Monsanto.
"He was laid off from Monsanto and was able to come back to the police department," David said. "He also had a choice to go back to Monsanto but chose the police because he said the work was more interesting."
Klincar resigned as chief in 1970 and became the county's chief deputy.
He ran to retain the sheriff's office in the 1978 election but lost by more than 350 votes in a close race to Democrat Ray Herr.
Klincar was appointed to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board in 1979 and later became chairman. In 1983 he talked about his work with the prison review board which decided such things as parole, mandatory supervised release and good conduct credits for prison inmates. He said it was interesting work but involved a lot of travel.
"You're trying to find the right, proper time for that individual to go back into society. Of course none of us in infallible," he said.
His professional career included time spent as a member of the Illinois Law Enforcement Commission and a member and president of the Illinois Police Benevolent and Protection Association.
He graduated from the FBI National Police Academy in Virginia and was a member of the governing board of the Illinois State Police Energy Radio Network.
He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He received the Silver Beaver Award from the Okaw Valley Boy Scout Council for distinguished service to the organization.
Old colleagues and friends recalled him as a really likable guy.
"He was a true professional," said St. Clair County Sheriff Merle Justus.
Justus said he was concerned because Klincar usually attended the annual retired officer luncheon but wasn't there a couple of months ago.
"He was the best chief I had," said Tom Burns, former Belleville policeman. "He took care of his men. If you needed anything you could go to him and talk. He taught me a lot of things when I first started."
Klincar is survived by his wife, Irma, and son, David.
© 2011 Belleville News-Democrat and news service sources. All Rights Reserved. http://www.bnd.com