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Deputy Camp remembered for humor, love of family

By Holly Hollman· 340-2445

ATHENS — If Limestone County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Camp were reading now, he would expect this Daily reporter to refer to him as the world’s biggest Lady Vols fan.

And he would grin.

Then he would think of a quick comeback.

Camp actually liked the Georgia Bulldogs and Notre Dame.

This reporter, a Tennessee fan, started greeting Camp with, “Hey, Lady Vols fan,” when he was an investigator for the Sheriff’s Department and often wore a light orange shirt with light blue trim.

It’s hard to imagine he’ll never again brag, “You got Dawg-bit this weekend, didn’t you?” as he would when Georgia beat Tennessee in football.

Camp died Saturday of natural causes at age 29 at his Wooley Springs home near Ardmore.

He was a husband, a father and an “enthusiastic and good officer,” Sheriff Mike Blakely said.

“Understandably, we’re all in shock,” Blakely said. “I mean, he’s 29. You don’t expect to hear this about one of your young officers.”

Camp’s body will undergo an autopsy.

Chief Investigator Stanley McNatt said Camp thought he had kidney stones. Despite being in pain, he worked his patrol shift Friday night to Saturday morning, and later watched his son Cole play basketball.

McNatt said Camp then went to bed. When his wife, Brandy, tried to wake him at 5 p.m. to get ready for work, he was dead.

“Justin’s family meant the world to him,” McNatt said. “He would do anything for his family or his Sheriff’s Department family.”

Camp, who looked up to McNatt, often called himself McNatt’s other son.

“When he would see my two boys, he would say, ‘There’s my other brothers,’ ” McNatt said. “You can tell the love everybody else had for him just by the number of city (Athens police) and county (Sheriff’s Department) folks who came by the hospital or have been there for his family. He was just a joy to work with.”

One reason was that Camp liked practical jokes. Camp often answered McNatt’s phone when a certain Daily reporter called. Camp would say, “The captain just up and walked out and ain’t coming back” or “The captain said he’s not talking to you anymore” or “I’m the captain now, but I can’t tell you anything.”

“Justin was a character,” McNatt said. “He was joyful and good-hearted.”

Camp worked with the department about seven years as a dispatcher, jailer, investigator, SWAT team member and patrol deputy.

He was a graduate of Ardmore High School, where he played football, McNatt said.

Wedding anniversary

Camp and his wife would have celebrated their anniversary this coming weekend, McNatt said, although he didn’t know how many years they had been married.

The two have 6-year-old Cole and a 2-year-old son, Brice.

Camp, who served in the Army, has two brothers currently in the military. One is in Iraq, and the other brother’s station location is unknown. The department is working through the Red Cross to contact the brothers.

Visitation and funeral times are not finalized, but McConnell Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

“Whenever we called and needed Justin, he was always there,” Blakely said. “It’s a sad time for his family and the department. And we all seem to just be in a state of shock.”

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