Jerry Van Dove

Jerry Van Dove of Southport, North Carolina, passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family on Thursday, June 16, 2022, at Novant Medical Hospital in Wilmington, North Carolina.

The son of the late Benjamin Charles Dove and Dolores Woods Dove was born on August 26, 1945, in Akron, Ohio.

He moved to Wilkesboro, North Carolina, where he attended Wilkes Central High School.

He began his public service by joining the United States Air Force as a Military Police Officer and K-9 Trainer/Handler. He later served in the United States Army Reserve.

After an honorable discharge, he began his career in law enforcement with the North Wilkesboro Police Department as a police officer/investigator.

His law enforcement career continued when he joined the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. While serving, he continued his education, receiving an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement. During his career as a trooper, he specialized in K-9 Trainer/Handler, Narcotics Interdiction and Detention, Criminal Investigation, FBI Weapons and Explosives, Crowd Control and Civil Disobedience.

After 30 years of service with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, he then joined the Southport Police Department as an officer and K-9 Handler. He became the Chief of Police in 2003, serving the Southport community as Chief for 12 years.

Still not satisfied with his contribution to public service, he entered the political arena and ran for the Mayor of Southport. He served two consecutive terms from 2015-2018.

He was a member of Pythagoras Lodge #249, where he achieved Master Mason and was a Past Master of the Oak Island Masonic Lodge; 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason and York Rite Mason; he received the Scottish Rite Bodies Lifetime Meritorious Award in 2003, and Outstanding Mason of the Year in 2014.

Dove was a member of Southport Baptist Church where he served as a Deacon and a Sunday School teacher. He was a member of the Southport Lions Club; he previously served on the board of directors for The Landing, the community where he lived; a U.S. Police K-9 Association Lifetime Member; Brunswick County Law Enforcement Association Past President; Local Emergency Planning Committee member; and Former Project Director of the Southport Police High Impact Youth Outreach Program.

Among his many accolades and awards, in 2007 he received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the most prestigious award presented by the governor to persons who have a proven record of extraordinary service to the state. He also received the Life-Saving Award from the City of Southport, and was the recipient of the Walter Welsh Award, presented by the Martin Luther King Celebration Committee, in 2020.

He lived his life searching for the betterment of all. He will always be remembered for his 56 years of public service.

“This beautiful city (Southport) has been my home for over 30 years, and it is where I have raised my family of three generations. I only want the best for our citizens and our future generations! I possess passion, loyalty, trust, honor, and integrity. My citizens don’t deserve any less than this. I am here to shine a positive light on our city ... to represent our great city in the best possible way.” — Jerry Van Dove

He leaves behind to cherish his memories the love of his life, his wife of 39 years Sherry Dove (Frog); two sons, Darby Dove and wife Angie of Denver, North Carolina, and Nathan Dove of Ferguson, North Carolina; daughter, Andra Browning, and husband Dodd of Winnabow; five grandchildren, Zachary Dove, Makayla Dove, Lilly Dove, Krislyn Browning, and Caison Browning; brother, Joel Dove, and wife Jo Ann of Oak Island; sister-in-law, Kathy Helms, and husband David of Waxhaw, North Carolina; godson, Brayden Jackson-Brown of Southport; and many other relatives and friends.

In addition to his parents, he was also preceded in death by his sister, Clara Dove Harris of Salisbury, North Carolina.

A celebration of life will be held on Tuesday, June 21, at 4 p.m., with visitation starting at 2 p.m. at Southport Baptist Church, 200 North Howe Stree, Southport. Burial will follow the service at Northwood Cemetery in Southport, with full law enforcement and United States Air Force honors.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital or Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Online condolences may be made at

Peacock - Newnam & White Funeral and Cremation Service, Southport, North Carolina.