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Hamilton County deputy who died of COVID-19 was ‘well-loved’ by family, coworkers

Friends, family and coworkers on Wednesday memorialized Hamilton County Deputy Donald Gilreath as “a big kid at heart” who was beloved for his compassion and sense of humor.

Gilreath, 36, died Feb. 12 of complications related to COVID-19. He was a 15-year veteran of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.

“During those 15 years, Donnie became a very well-loved member of our department,” Sheriff Charmaine McGuffey said at Gilreath’s funeral Wednesday afternoon. “He was so well-loved that many people, many people have come down to the jail that were not in uniform to express their grief and their loss.”

McGuffey’s office listed Gilreath’s death as having occurred in the line of duty but did not clarify whether officials believed he had contracted COVID-19 while working at the Hamilton County Justice Center.

Gilreath was a Cincinnati native who washed dishes at Skyline as a teenager before joining law enforcement. His sisters, Katy and Kelley, remembered him as a loving husband to his wife, Sarah; an avid hunter and fisherman; and a dedicated father to his three children.

“When Donnie loved something, he loved it full-force,” Katy wrote in remarks delivered by a relative at the service.

Gilreath was buried Wednesday afternoon at Rest Haven Memorial Park.

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