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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- Two Weber County Jail inmates extended their condolences after Corrections Officer Bruce G.E. Kendell died at 40.
The officer died suddenly from diabetic complications Nov. 16.
"He was very well liked by the staff," said sheriff's Capt. Klint Anderson. "Many of us weren't aware of how much the inmates liked him."
Shortly after his death, two inmates at the Weber County jail sent a heartfelt message expressing their condolences. The letter was addressed to the Standard-Examiner and a copy was given to Kendell's family by officers.
The letter said the inmates were grateful for Kendell's lessons on life.
"We know that sounds crazy, inmates writing a letter in concern of an officer, but this man was not `just some officer,"' the letter said. "He was a great man who taught us all a lot about life and respect."
The inmates characterized Kendell as a man who always had a smile.
They included an anecdote in the letter in which Kendell, while driving them to see family members, became shaky, spilled coffee and said, "I'll just fill it up again."
"Now, to some that may not mean much, but to most of us it was a lesson, the letter said. It said the lesson was that it was important "not to sweat the small stuff, but instead be happy and grateful for another day alive and another day to be with our loved ones and enjoy the many wonders of life."
Chief Jerry Cook of the sheriff's Corrections Division said Kendell's family requested the letter be read during his funeral.
"We were pleased," said Shirley Kendell, Bruce Kendell's stepmother. "What a tribute to him."
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)