by ROCCO MAGLIO
Royce Merrill Decker, Jr. passed away on Thursday, December 12, 2019. Royce was only 64 years old, but his contributions to the county were numerous. On Thursday, Hernando County lost a tireless contributor.
Royce started his law enforcement service in South Florida, before moving to Hernando County and spending nearly 30 years at the Hernando Sheriff’s Office reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He retired from the sheriff’s office in 2013. In 2012, he was honored with the Kentucky Colonel distinction.
Royce loved to teach. He seemed to enjoy helping others to understand new concepts. He served as a professor teaching courses at Saint Leo University, Pasco-Hernando State College and the University of Phoenix.
Royce Decker was a captivating public speaker and facilitator. He worked tirelessly for the Greater Hernando Chamber of Commerce helping our business community to support the county. Royce was a fixture- emceeing the chamber breakfast, running the training committee, and assisting where he could. This is how many in the county knew Royce.
Royce genuinely enjoyed being around people. He quickly learned everyone’s name and was very conscientious about making sure that everyone felt included.
Royce found time to also serve on the board at Jericho Road Ministries. He poured his time and energy into the community and we are better for it.
The community expressed an outpouring of emotion and memories through social media after the Sheriff’s Office announced the loss of Royce Decker last week.
Jericho Road Ministries shared, “Jericho is saddened to hear the passing of Mr. Royce Decker. He had served faithfully on the Board of Directors for many years. We are grateful that Mr. Decker had a strong faith in Christ and we know that he is home with Jesus. Please keep his family and friends in prayer through this difficult time.”
Nancy Stubbs expressed, “What a great man he was. He made everyone around him feel good and happy just to be in his presence. He was also very charitable and cared deeply about his community, and was supportive of The Arc even before his granddaughter was born with Down syndrome. He will be greatly missed.”
Dawn Badami Triconi remarked, “Stunned and saddened to hear the news of this very special man. He always brought a smile to my face every time he walked in the door. He was truly a servant of God and I will always treasure the time spent with him. He taught me so much through Leadership Hernando. I will always be his number one fan! May his memory be eternal.”
A public viewing is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 19, from Noon to 1:00 PM followed by a Celebration of Life service at Northcliffe Baptist Church beginning at 1:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Jericho Road Ministries or to United States Disaster Relief through Samaritan’s Purse.