Identical twin sisters Karen and Kathy Medley were the go-to resource at the Jefferson County Jail for nearly three decades.
Karen died Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, at age 64, after being diagnosed with cancer in early September, Kathy said.
“She was my soulmate,” said Kathy, who lived with her sister in De Soto. “It was a very tight bond.”
Karen became a corrections officer at the Jail in 1993 and retired in 2019. Kathy, who began working as a corrections officer at the Jail in 1991, also retired in 2019.
“It seems like we just celebrated (Karen’s) retirement, and now less than a year later, we are talking about what a horrible loss it is,” Sheriff Dave Marshak said.
During their time at the Jail, the sisters were known for helping everyone, whether it was a Jefferson County deputy, an officer from another department or the inmates.
“She helped me out since I was a young cop, learning how to book somebody,” said Major Gary Higginbotham, who admitted he struggled to tell the sisters apart. “She was a big help to me as far as learning the ropes over there when I was a supervisor at the Jail.”
Brenda Short, the Jail administrator for the past three years, said new corrections officers were sent to Karen and Kathy for training.
“You wanted (new corrections officers) to be taught by the best of your staff, and that was one of the Medley girls,” said Short. “Karen kept a calm demeanor. The inmates liked her. She treated them with dignity and respect, and that is how they treated her.”
The sisters enjoyed car shows and bought a red 2011 Mustang GT California Special about two years ago, Kathy said.
The sisters also were accomplished slow-pitch softball players. Karen played third base, and Kathy played first.
“We had a lot of good athletes on our team, and it was a good competitive team,” said Kathy, who said they played for the Jefferson County Royals, which won eight state titles and placed 14th in a national tournament in Memphis one year.
Both sisters had a lot of friends, Kathy said. “We never met a stranger. Being in a small town, people get to know each other pretty well,” Kathy said. “It was a good life for Karen.”
Kathy said funeral arrangements are still pending.