Friday, December 6, 2013
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James 'Jim' Wirth

Sgt. James "Jim" Wirth, 57, of Cudjoe Key, passed peacefully on Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, after a most courageous battle with cancer. Jim was born Nov. 20, 1956, in South Amboy, N.J., to Albert and Mary Wirth.

Jim had a love of the sea, especially fishing and diving. He spent his life on the water, first as a young boy in Atlantic Highlands, N.J., as a crewmember of the family fishing business. In 1977, he moved to the Florida Keys for new adventure. Holding his 100-ton captain's license, Jim worked in the charter boat business in Marathon. He served on the Pequod, the Best Revenge, the Alma Caribe and his personal boat, The Quest. Jim fished parts of the Keys, Bahamas and Cuba.

Jim made his home on Big Pine Key and, after several years as a boat captain in Marathon, began a career with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office in 1983. A tenacious deputy who was quickly promoted to detective and sergeant, Jim worked diligently to clean up the streets of Marathon, where he earned the nickname "dog man." In 1988, he was promoted to sergeant in the Lower Keys, where he worked until his retirement in 2008. Never far from the sea, Jim also served as a rescue diver for the Sheriff's Office. During his tenure, he trained many rookie deputies as a Field Training Officer, some of whom have said he taught them the meaning of being a good cop.

Jim was a man of conviction; he always did exactly what he thought was right. His strength, courage and work ethic were undeniable. Jim dedicated his life to his family and the Sheriff's Office. He was passionate about the law and remained committed to those principles even into retirement.

Jim's love of the sea was equaled by his love to ride. Jim rode his Harley constantly. He regularly rode throughout Florida and traveled out West to Sturgis. He was a member of the local Reef Riders club and served as a board member for ABATE of Florida.

Jim and his wife, Leah, shared a great love for one another and an unbreakable bond. They traveled, welcomed grandchildren into the world, and built a life together surrounded by family.

Jim is survived by his mother and father, Mary and Albert Wirth; wife Leah Wirth; the mother of his children, Donna Houser; his son Det. Trevor Wirth (Taron); daughter Jamie Wirth; brother Albert Wirth Jr. (Barbara); stepdaughter Krystal Gomez (Ramon); stepson Timothy Anson (Niko Keohane); nieces Tammy Wirth (Rusty) and Wendy Self (Greg); great-niece Nicole Plessinger; and great-nephews William and Timothy. He is also survived by his grandchildren Carter, Ava, Natalie, Robert, Laiyla and Juelz.

A memorial to celebrate Jim's life is scheduled for 3 p.m. today, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, at the Sheriff's Office Aviation Hangar in Marathon.