Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

January 2, 2013

Former Decatur County Sheriff will be missed

Tess Rowing
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — Former Decatur County Sheriff, Jon Oldham, 72, passed away Dec. 29, 2012.

Having served as sheriff from 1995 to 2003, Oldham was easily and fondly recalled by several members of the community earlier this week.

“I’ve known Jon since I was 16-years-old and he was a state policeman,” said Greensburg Mayor Gary Herbert.

Mayor Herbert said that he had been pulled over many times for traffic tickets by Jon, and once got a citation for not having his driver’s license with him.

“If you were honest he would give you a break,” said Herbert. “He told me ‘you have 24 hours to find that license and show it to me’. I said ‘yes, sir.”

Herbert likened Jon Oldham to the sheriff in the 1973 film “Walking Tall,” describing Jon as having a good heart, a good family, who was a good person, a good policeman, and a good investigator.

“If you tried to get something over him you weren’t going to win,” said Herbert. Mayor Herbert said he felt that Oldham would have never used a gun if he could help it.

“I wish we had a lot more police like Jon Oldham. The man will definitely be missed.”

Stacy Chasteen, Greensburg Chief of Police, expressed that she would greatly miss her friend.

“I’ve known him since 1993 when I came on with the Greensburg Police Department,” Chasteen said.

She shared that one of Oldham's tasks was processing marijuana seized from suspects, and that she and the sheriff worked together sharing evidence from different cases during this time. They would talk during those opportunities and forged a working friendship.

“We shared many conversations,” Chasteen said. “He had a lot of knowledge.”

Jeff Emsweller, former Daily News publisher, worked with Jon in the 90’s.

“Oldham was a unique individual, a very caring guy,” said Emsweller, “He did a lot of things for this community that a lot of people don’t know about. He was a fun guy. Sometimes it was hard to tell when he was kidding or pulling your leg and you had to learn to separate it”

Emsweller shared the story that once, the Daily News had published the photo and story of a man who had robbed a Batesville bank. The man had later arrived at the Daily News and offered death threats against Emsweller for publishing the story.

Emsweller, genuinely concerned for his life, called the police and explained the situation.

“Jon gave him a talking to,” Emsweller said with humor.

The next day the man returned to the paper and marched into Emsweller’s office, not telling anyone else in the office of his intentions to apologize. The police were called.

Emsweller said Jon had heard the dispatch order and was at the office before anyone arrived. Not knowing why the man was there, Jon put himself between Emsweller and the person who had been making threats.

“I always felt safe around Jon,” Emsweller said fondly, “He was a good guy.”

If you have any thoughts or stories you would like to share about former Decatur County Sheriff Jon Oldham, please send them to, or come to the Daily News office at 135 S. Franklin Street.

Contact: Tess Rowing 812-663-3111 x7004