By Sarrah Peters
Etowah County District Attorney Jimmie Harp, 49, died Wednesday, July 22 after a long-term battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Harp was diagnosed with the disease in 2007.
Harp is survived by his wife, Cassie Harp, and his four children.
Harp was native to Gadsden and worked hard to make it a better place. He graduated from the University of Alabama in 1988 and the Cumberland School of Law in 1991. Before his first election as District Attorney in 2004, Harp worked as an assistant district attorney for 10 years. Harp was re-elected as District Attorney in 2010. He had announced his intent to seek a third term earlier this year.
Harp also served his community as a board member for the Chamber of Gadsden/Etowah County and as President for the Alabama District Attorney’s Association.
“As far as a district attorney, he was one of the best in the state,” said State Representative Craig Ford, who grew up in East Gadsden with Harp. “He was tough on drugs, but sympathetic to people trying to turn their life around.”
Harp’s battle against drugs led to the creation of the Etowah County Drug Enforcement Unit. He was also a staunch supporter of the statewide ZEROMETH anti-drug campaign. He particularly wanted to teach people about the harms of drug use.
“He was a person who wanted to make sure people were treated fairly and had a fair trial,” said Probate Circuit Judge Bobby Junkins, who knew Harp as a young boy.
Harp was an undergraduate student worker at the Gadsden Public Library when Junkins was the library director in the 1980s.
Junkins remembers Harp’s caring personality.
“He was a very caring person,” said Junkins. “I reckon everyone liked him; he was a very likeable person.”
State Representative Becky Nordgren echoed Junkins sentiment.
“He was such a nice gentlemen, a wonderful district attorney and a friend,” said Nordgren. “He will be greatly missed.”
Attalla Mayor Larry Means remembers Harp as a loyal friend, even during tough times. When Harp first announced his campaign, Means gave him his first campaign check.
Ford recalls playing with Harp as a child at his family’s Child’s Art Studio.
“The Ford’s and the Harps were old family friends,” said Ford. “He was a good friend to me. He’s going to be well missed.”