‘Ted’ Kluttz, first Black chief deputy, dies

Stanly County has lost one of its superheroes.

William Gregory “Ted” Kluttz, the first Black chief sheriff’s deputy in the county, died Friday at his home in Oakboro. He was 72.

“Ted” Kluttz

Although he was retired, individuals from multiple generations found ways to pay tribute to Kluttz by phone or social media post.

Oakboro Police Chief T.J. Smith offered a Facebook post, relaying a story he said he received from Karen Bivens Kluttz, the chief deputy’s wife of 50 years. It was how he became known as “Ted.”

“Sheriff Ralph McSwain hired Mr. Kluttz in 1973 as a Deputy Sheriff. At the time, his family and friends called Deputy Chief “Tizz;” as the story went on, Sheriff McSwain had a hard time pronouncing “Tizz,” so, he decided “Ted” would suffice. From then on, he was known as Deputy Ted Kluttz.”

Kluttz served Stanly from Feb. 2, 1973 to Feb. 28, 2003, according to Sheriff Jeff Crisco.

Kluttz worked under four sheriffs: McSwain, Roger Lowder, Joe E. Lowder and Tony Frick.

Bill Hall and Jeff Branch worked for Kluttz during his time with the Sheriff’s Office.

While many times officers change with a change in sheriff, Hall and Branch spoke of how Kluttz was the continuity that held the Sheriff’s Office together.

Following the death of Sheriff Roger Lowder and appointment of Joe Lowder to the position of sheriff in the fall of 1992, Kluttz was named chief deputy.

“He educated [other officers] on how to deal with the public,” said Branch, who was a dispatcher at the time before heading to D.A.R.E. training. “He was there to guide you on making the right decisions.”

“He was an asset to the department in that he was the steady hand there,” Hall added. “He was the one that calmed things down and made you look a little closer at what was going on. He knew the law and knew how to apply it with the right force or pressure.”

Hall, who worked from 1978 to 2006 at the Sheriff’s Office, said Kluttz was well respected, even by those he was charging.

“He could probably arrest someone and make them feel good about it,” Hall said. “He knew how to explain things to them.”

Branch added: “I never really saw Ted get mad or anything. He was always the same.”

Hall said Kluttz was someone the department relied on.

“His opinion was highly valued not just to us working stiffs, but to the sheriff as well,” Hall said. “He was the rock at the department.”

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Leavitt Funeral Home of Wadesboro.

B.J. Drye is general manager/editor of The Stanly News & Press. Call 704-982-2123.