Just two months after Cobb County police headquarters in Marietta was renamed after Robert E. Hightower, he died of complications from a fall.
Hightower completed a 26-year tenure with Cobb, serving as chief of police, as well as the first director of public Safety, which oversees police, fire, 911 and corrections.
Hightower led the police department through critical periods of growth, creating many specialized units that are still in service today. He also created the Department of Public Safety Training Academy.
After leaving Cobb, Hightower served as director of the Georgia State Patrol and as Georgia's first director of homeland security.
He began his career in the Navy's Underwater Demolition Team as a Navy Seal. He also served as a captain with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
He died Tuesday night at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital where he was recovering from a fall. He was 78.
A memorial service will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta, with Rev. Adrian Pleus, Rev. Scotty Davis and Dr. Ernest Easley officiating.
Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Shirley Hightower of St. Simons; daughter, Kimberly Hightower-Hulsey and husband, Bobby of Studio City, Calif.; two sons, Robert E. Hightower Jr. and wife Kelly of Houston, Texas; Lance Hightower and wife Angela of Dallas, Ga.; one sister, Wanda Eibling of Highpoint, N.C.; eight grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in his name to the Navy Seal Foundation.
Mayes Ward-Dobbins Funeral Home & Crematory in Marietta is in charge of the arrangements.