Surry Poole was born on October 4, 1935, in Clay, Texas, the eldest child of Lillie Mae and Surry Pool, Sr. He attended Snook High School and was a stellar athlete, excelling in track and baseball. Following graduation Surry moved to California, arriving first in San Diego before settling in the San Francisco Bay Area. He developed a passion for training dogs while working for the Humane Society and University of California San Francisco Research Center.
Surry began his long and celebrated career in law enforcement as a Corrections Officer at Soledad State Prison and later San Quentin Prison. In 1966 he joined the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department, becoming only the fourth African American officer hired to the department. He enjoyed a distinguished career with the Sheriff’s Department, serving in various departments including Homicide and Narcotics. Marrying his passion for training dogs, with his skills in law enforcement, he became the first African American K9 officer in Northern California.
Surry was not satisfied with achieving individual success. He was a pioneer for minority police officers, playing a key role in developing minority recruitment programs for the department. His efforts were instrumental in increasing minority hiring throughout the Bay Area. He was a valued leader in law enforcement, becoming the first President of the Contra Costa Black Deputies and Associates organization. During his career, he rose to the rank of Lieutenant and retired as the Commander of the Bay Station Patrol Division. Following his retirement, Surry assumed the duties of the Head of Security for Unocal Refinery in Rodeo.
When tragedy struck in his life, Surry channeled his grief into community outreach. He, with Jernice Poole- Smith, co-founded the Kevin D. Poole Memorial Scholarship Foundation to honor the memory of their son. The foundation has awarded over $200,000 in scholarships to more than 140 Bay area high school graduates seeking higher education.
Surry was deeply involved in his community. He volunteered as a Vallejo Babe Ruth baseball manager for many years. He served on the City of Vallejo’s Economic Development Commission, Civil Service Commission, Solid Waste Management and Recycling Commission, Human Resources Commission, and the Code Enforcement Appeals Board. He was honored to be selected to serve three terms on the California Superior Court Solano County Civil Grand Jury.
He was married for 32 years, to the love of his life, Marie. They spent lots of time together traveling the world to Spain, Morocco, Greece, Italy, and Hawaii. He had a passion for the game of golf. He was a member of Bluerock Springs Golf Club. He, and his best friend James “Robbie” Robinson, would find a course to play on at least three times a week. Lastly, he was also a member of the Christian Seniors men’s golf group that traveled the country visiting premier golf courses.
Surry was preceded in death by his parents, Lillie Mae and Surry Pool, Sr; his sons Kevin and Surry Roberts Poole, III; his daughter Debra Bell; his sister Barbara Carter; his brothers Ollie and James Pool.
He is survived by his wife, Marie; stepdaughters Sharon Pool, Ava Linthicum, Keilani Burrage (Bubba), and Karen Anderson; stepsons Kevin Anderson (Michelle) and Travis Washington; sister Estella Daniels; brothers John (Vera), Hilmon (Gladys), Robert (Sara), Ennis (Martha), Cecil (Rosalyn), Eddie; sisters-in-law Alda and Margaret Pool; brother-in-law Hezekiah Carter, Sr; ten grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren; a host of nieces and nephews.
Donations for the Kevin D. Poole Memorial Scholarship
Make checks payable to:
El Cerrito High School
540 Ashbury Ave
El Cerrito, CA 94530-3299
Note: Please indicate for the Kevin D. Poole Memorial Scholarship
Tax ID: 68-000495
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