Remembering Lt. J. R. Compton
Lt. J. R. Compton of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office passed away this morning after experiencing a medical event at his residence. Just shy of retirement, JR was loved and admired by many who worked with him over the years.
Lt. Compton started with the Augusta Police Department in 1989 and was assigned to manage all Augusta Common events downtown. In that role JR became an integral part of downtown Augusta, the promoters who put on events, and all the staff and support personnel he worked with year round.
Those that knew and worked with Lt. Compton reacted to the news of his passing this afternoon.
“When I heard, first thought was how much he was looking forward to his retirement in May,” said Warren “Choppy” Woodward, who joined AB Beverage in 1967 and is involved in their off-site operation. “I’ll miss him at events. He was always helpful and pleasant to be around.”
Recreation Events Manager for the Augusta Common Yolanda Greenwood said “He was just about to retire..” her voice trailing off. “It’s terrible.”
“I worked with JR for going on seventeen years,” said Rob Boggs, owner of Quest Sound and Production. “I’d love to have a nickel for every time he would yell at me to ‘move your truck’!”
“But he always did it with a smile on his face. Every time I think of the Commons I’ll think of JR, his smile and how he always took care of us.”Rob Boggs
“He knew downtown inside out. As events grew, he worked with us to manage numerous gates, parking and traffic management,” said Brenda Durant, Executive Director of the Greater Augusta Arts Council.
“JR was a by-the-book kind of guy but events are not always ‘by the book’. When I asked for the impossible- he would calmly say “Mrs Durant”, frown a bit …and then work with me to find a way to make it happen.”Brenda Durant
George Claussen, president of Friends With Benefits, has staged numerous large events at the Augusta Common and Amphitheater. He reflects on JR’s mentoring spirit, “JR recognized how hard people are working. How much has to go into it. I think that’s what made JR a lot more sympathetic than I guess your average officer who was just following the book. He knew how hard we worked, he understood we came out there and tried.”
Claussen recalled one of his fondest memories of Lt. Compton.
“One year, we were past curfew to shut down the Major Rager. Umphries McGhee had just started their second set, which they do nothing but covers.”
“It was getting to the point I think JR might have let us go like another ten minutes. Then the second song of the set, Jennifer Hartswick of the Trey Anastasio Band covered Barracuda. She just killed it…it was better than Heart!”
“JR had been calling me about every ten minutes..’hey, we gotta wrap it up, we gotta wrap it up.’
I didn’t hear anything from JR, so I tried to call and he didn’t answer. I ran across the back of the Common and I see him watching the stage. He looked at me, I’ll never forget it, and said
“I’d shut that thing down if it wasn’t for that Barracuda!”George Claussen
I’ll miss JR. He was a reliable smile year after year, a truly kind and caring man.