BEAUFORT, S.C. (WTOC) - Beaufort Police Department Chief of Police Matthew James Clancy has passed away at age 56 after a long battle with cancer.
According to the City of Beaufort, Chief Clancy died of complications of neuroendocrine cancer on Wednesday, July 29, while surrounded by his family.
A post on the department’s Facebook page representing officers and staff said, “I speak for all members of our department when I say that we lost a great man and tremendous leader, but we are better men and women for having had the opportunity to have worked alongside him. Chief Clancy, it is your time to rest. We will take it from here.”
Chief Clancy grew up in Long Island, New York. He graduated from The Citadel in 1986 and was commissioned as an infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.
In 1993, he left the Marine Corps to begin a career in law enforcement. He joined the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office where he served as a deputy sheriff, corporal, and sergeant from 1993-97.
“Extraordinarily humble. He was quiet, he was not a tall man, but we stretched our necks looking up to him,” Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling said.
In 1997, Chief Clancy moved to the Beaufort Police Department where he served as a patrol officer, criminal investigator, investigative lieutenant, and deputy chief. In 2008, he was promoted to the position of chief.
Chief Clancy is survived by his wife, Lisa, and two sons, Tyler and Connor.
“He’s the ideal team player you want to have. He was a leader, and the only way I’d put it. He was a chief among chiefs,” Beaufort City Manager Bill Prokop said.
A public funeral service for Chief Clancy was held Friday morning at the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park. Hundreds of people gathered to pay their respects for Chief Clancy. Friends, family, and co-workers honored his life during the public funeral service and procession.
Clancy is described by those who knew him best as someone who was often the first on scene and someone who everyone felt like they worked with and not for. He’s described as someone who cared for everyone and never forgot birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions.
Mayor Billy Keyserling says Clancy leaves a legacy that’ll lead the community into the future.
“Beneath the badge, there was a heart, there was a soul, there was a moral compass. There was an understanding of when you’re talking and when you listen. There was a sense of humility, there was a sense of fairness and there was a desire to learn and keep learning,” Keyserling said.
Clancy’s private burial was held after the service at the Beaufort National Cemetery.
Re-watch the public service below:
Governor Henry McMaster asked that the flags in South Carolina be at half-staff Friday in honor of Chief Clancy.