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Coroner Honored for Over 50 Years of Service

by Randy Pierce

MADISON COUNTY — Madison County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler has issued a proclamation honoring Stephen Nonn who is leaving his position of coroner after over 50 years of dedicated service as a public servant prior to his successor taking over later this year.

At the most recent meeting of the county board, Prenzler read the proclamation about Nonn who received an appreciative round of applause from those present.

Citing that Nonn has provided services to thousands of residents and their families in Madison County, Prenzler’s proclamation called attention to the way the honoree “worked his way up through the ranks” in the local sheriff’s department including 21 years in its detective division while also, during that time, being part of the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis for two decades, rising to being chosen as deputy commander of that unit which features representatives from several area law enforcement agencies who come together as needed when crimes of significant magnitude, primarily murders, occur in the region.

It was in 1974 that Nonn joined the patrol division of the sheriff’s department after having worked the prior three years as a security officer at St. Louis Lambert International Airport and in a similar position in the county’s courthouse.

In 2000, after retiring from the sheriff’s office, Nonn, Prenzler continued, was elected to the office of Madison County coroner succeeding the late Dallas Burke who passed away in 2017.

Nonn’s “first order of business,” when becoming coroner, Prenzler said, was to open his office on a 24-hour-a-day, 365 days per year basis and implementing highly professional standards for full-time investigations into deaths in the county.

Among the many certifications earned by Nonn was one from the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators, an organization which he actually co-founded with other professionals in the same field of endeavor.

“Stephen Nonn used his knowledge of law enforcement death investigations,” Prenzler explained, “to help create a regional homicide and questionable death protocol that is followed by all police departments throughout all of Madison County.”

Nonn additionally played a role, according to the county board chairman, in establishing the Madison County Heroin Task Force which has partnered with the “drug-free communities” effort plus helped with the formation of the elder abuse fatality review team here.

Prenzler further stated that Nonn’s policy and professional development activities that have an impact on death investigations and public safety has included many appointments to county, state and national groups.

These include the Madison County Child Advocacy Center, the county’s child abduction team, the Illinois Terrorism Task Force and Southern Illinois Child Death Task Force.

Nonn, upon being presented with the proclamation by Prenzler, commented, “I absolutely didn’t know this was coming,” noting that the staff in his office “tricked’ him into believing his presence was needed at this meeting for another reason. Also, after expressing his appreciation for the recognition, Nonn said, “It’s been a great honor to serve the citizens of this county for 50 years,” while adding his approach was “to keep it simple.”

A member of international organizations for coroners and medical examiners and homicide investigators, Nonn has served as a board member for the Madison County Emergency Telephone System Board and advisor for the Illinois State Police Forensic Science Laboratory

Nicholas Novacich of Granite City, who ran in last month’s Republican primary without opposition, is expected to succeed Nonn in the position of county coroner following the November election as there has been no Democratic candidate filing for that office.

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