MACON, Ga. — People from across the state gathered Wednesday in Tennille in Washington County to mourn Sheriff Thomas Smith. Visitation started at 4 p.m., but people came out as early as 3:30 p.m. to pay their respects.

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Wednesday afternoon, law enforcement, government officials, friends, and family from all over Central Georgia attended Smith's visitation.

"Washington County will never, ever be the same," said Bishop Vincent Drummer.

Drummer says he's known Smith for about 30 years.

"Everybody is at a loss, a shock, and at a loss, and devastated to lose him so young and so early," said Drummer. 

A line of people went out of the door and stretched across the lawn of Oak Lodge, the home of Allen Smith, the sheriff's brother. 

Tennille Mayor Eartha Cummings says it's a trying time, but she's staying prayerful. 

"He was somewhat small in stature, but he's leaving such a large legacy that it's going to be just really hard," said Cummings. 

The inside of the home was filled with flowers from family and friends. Denise Garner called Smith "a selfless man." 

"He was there for my niece's funeral. He was the pallbearer. He's just always been a part of the family," said Garner. 

Drummer says sheriff Smith was a light for so many people. 

"No matter what he was going through, he would always persevere and come out with a smile," said Drummer. 

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Smith's funeral is Thursday at 11 a.m. at Tennille United Methodist Church. His burial will be at Zeta Cemetery Thursday in Tennille as well. You can live stream the funeral at http://tennilleumc.org/