Somerset County Sheriff Barry DeLong is seen in December 2015 standing in Happy Knits, which was in the old county jail building that became the Grist Mill in Skowhegan. DeLong, who was sheriff for 20 years, died Friday. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file

Barry DeLong, who committed decades of his life serving in law enforcement in central Maine and who for nearly 20 years was the sheriff of Somerset County, died last week, the sheriff’s office said Monday. He was 74.

DeLong died Friday at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta, according to Sheriff Dale Lancaster.

“It wasn’t unexpected,” Lancaster said. “He had been ill for awhile.”

DeLong was a Madison resident who spent his entire career in Somerset County, though he grew up in Aroostook County, according to his LinkedIn profile. He was a state trooper for 21 years, with the last 10 focused on child abuse cases and homicide investigations.

DeLong retired from Maine State Police in May 1994 but went back to work when he was elected sheriff of Somerset County later that year, winning the job over three other candidates.

DeLong served as sheriff for nearly 20 years before handing over the reins in 2014 to his chief deputy, Lancaster.


“He cared about the county,” Lancaster said Monday. “People mattered to him.”

DeLong believed responding to seemingly minor complaints from residents was as important as addressing their big ones, Lancaster said. He learned from DeLong how important it is for a sheriff to be a part of the community, he said.

Somerset County Sheriff Barry DeLong, left, and Maj. David Allen stand on a balcony overlooking an inmate pod at the Somerset County Jail in East Madison in 2012. DeLong, who died Friday, oversaw the construction of the jail in 2008. Morning Sentinel file

“You actually are put into the office of sheriff by the people of the county,” Lancaster said. “It’s a constitutional office, and that’s what makes it special — people entrust you with their public safety.”

DeLong had a big heart and often made charitable donations anonymously, Lancaster said. He cared deeply for his family and spoke of them with great pride.

DeLong was the father of two children, Flint and Carrie-Jo. He was predeceased by his wife Connie-Jo. DeLong in 2018 married Suzanne Johnston, who survives him along with his children.

During his tenure, DeLong oversaw the construction of the Somerset County Jail in 2008. He worked with county commissioners to take out a large bond on the project and get it financed.


A Morning Sentinel news clipping from the issue of Nov. 9, 1994.

Lancaster described the jail, which can house up to 200 people, as a “little city” with a great deal of programming that happens behind the scenes. People incarcerated there are offered college courses and medical assistance as well as instruction in anger management and parenting.

“I believe (DeLong) accomplished a lot as far as professionalizing the organization, but I would say that it was the building of the jail that was the high point of his career,” Lancaster said.

The sheriff said he will miss DeLong for his stories and perspective on current events.

“You have to respect someone that has been able to do that much public service in the community that they live in, that’s quite an accomplishment,” Lancaster said. “He gave his whole life to the people of Somerset County.”

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