Dwana Pusser dies

ADAMSVILLE – Dwana Pusser was in the museum honoring the legacy of her father, former McNairy County Sheriff and Adamsville Police Chief Buford Pusser, on Wednesday, for the last time. Dwana died Wednesday night.

The museum is in her childhood home, with her bedroom still the same as a girl growing up for visitors to see, preserved as it was in 1974 when her father died.

She brought some memorabilia she’d found in her house for use in the Sheriff Buford Pusser Home & Museum. She intended to sign a few copies of the book she wrote about her father called “Walking On” but didn’t get to because she liked to sign books with new Sharpie pens, and there was none available at the time.

“These are the last four,” said Tina Mullis, the curator of the museum, looking down at a short stack of books in the gift shop, with Pusser’s signature on the opening page just inside the front cover.

Current McNairy County Sheriff Guy Buck said foul play isn’t suspected in Pusser’s death, but her body, which was found in her home, was sent to Memphis Medical Center for an autopsy.

Shock and sadness gripped Mullis and Pusser family members in the museum Thursday morning.

“Dwana was a kind woman and compassionate, and she was passionate about doing what she could for law enforcement and her father’s legacy,” Mullis said.

Dwana, 57, was 16 years old when her father died in a one-car crash coming home from the fair in 1973. He’d built a reputation as a sheriff tough on crime and moonshine in McNairy County, without using a gun too often. The first “Walking Tall” movie about his life was made before his death. A pair of sequels were released in the years since.

“Because of that legacy he’d left, law enforcement was something that was really important to her,” Mullis said. “She traveled all over, talking with law enforcement agencies, talking about her father.

“And there were plenty of officers, even younger ones now, who told her they became law enforcement officers because they were inspired from watching the “Walking Tall” movies.”

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