Pillar of the community; Community mourns loss of Lincoln County Clerk Sonny Spoonamore

Published 2:34 pm Thursday, March 9, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Flags in Lincoln County were flown at half-staff last week to honor Lincoln County Clerk George O. “Sonny” Spoonamore IV who passed away at the age of 63.

Spoonamore died peacefully at home on Feb. 27.

The Lincoln County Clerk’s Office remained closed until March 6, when Spoonamore’s son, George O. “Street” Spoonamore V was sworn in as interim Lincoln County Clerk.

Email newsletter signup

The appointment, made by Lincoln County Judge Executive Woods Adams, will be in effect until the 2023 November elections. Both Democrat and Republican parties can nominate a candidate to run in November for the unexpired term of Lincoln County Clerk, which has three years remaining.

Each party’s nomination must be filed by June 6 and candidates must be Kentucky residents for at least two years, and county residents for at least one year.

Lincoln County Judge Executive Woods Adams released a statement following the public announcement of Spoonamore’s death.

“I was saddened to learn of the passing of Lincoln County Clerk Sonny Spoonamore,” Adams said. “Sonny was a pillar of our community and a public servant of Lincoln County since 2005. Sonny won an astonishing five elections after being appointed to finish the term of his late father George O. Spoonamore over 17 years ago.”

Woods said Spoonamore was more than just an elected official.

“He was a great husband, father and grandfather,” Adams said. “Our community will not be the same without him. Prayers to his family, friends and colleagues.”

House Speaker Pro Tem David Meade (R-Stanford) said Sonny was one of the finest individuals he has ever met.

“…always kind, caring and willing to help everyone. He and I shared many great conversations sitting in a gas station having breakfast, telling stories, laughing, talking about hunting and fishing, and ‘solving’ all the world’s problems,” Meade said.

Spoonamore and Meade, a democrat and a republican, enjoyed teasing each other about their opposing political parties.

“He always gave me a hard time because we were in different political parties, when in reality neither of us cared about that,” Meade said. “The unique thing about Sonny is that he treated everyone the same way, as a friend.”

Meade said he looked up to Spoonamore.

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my friend. My family and I send out our thoughts and prayers to all of Sonny’s family. Our community has lost a terrific man with a big heart and giant personality,” he said.

Spoonamore first became Lincoln County’s Clerk when he was appointed in 2005 by Buckwheat Gilbert to fill the unexpired term of his father George O. Spoonamore III, who also passed away while in office.

Sonny served the remainder of his father’s third term and then he was elected by voters in 2006 to keep the seat. Voters returned Sonny to the Clerk’s seat four more times in 2010, 2014, 2018 and again in 2022. He was in his 18th year of serving as County Clerk.

Cathy Grubbs worked with Sonny every one of those 18 years and said he kept everyone in the office laughing.

“Nancy (Jackson), Barb (Whitte) and I have worked with him since his first day,” Grubbs said. “We cut up all day long.”

The jokes and the pranks kept them on their toes, Grubbs said.

“He’d sneak up on you, come in and bang the desk,” she said. “He was our boss but he was our friend, he was our brother.”

Sonny would run their personal errands, jump their cars if they died, and even put air in the tires.

“He would go out and start our cars for us if it was cold,” Whitte said.

Jackson said her sister’s cat got stuck under a house once and Sonny came to rescue him.

“She was going all to pieces so he went out, got a trap, came back and they got that cat out from under there,’ Jackson said.

He was much more than a boss to them, she said.

“He was our big brother, friend, and life advisor. He always had our back, especially through our own triumphs at home, and our tragedies,” Jackson said. “He always asked about our children, grandchildren, parents, whatever was on our hearts outside the office.”

In the office, Sonny’s calm strength and sense of humor got them through times of pressure, Jackson said.

“The Sonny everyone saw when they came in was our rock, and our hearts won’t be the same,” she said.