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Denzil Nelson Bud Staple


Denzil N. "Bud" Staple experienced what few deputy U.S. Marshals have. In his 20 years of service – November 1958 to December 1978 – he found himself in unique and historical situations. On Sept. 30, 1962, in only his fourth year on the job, he faced mobs during the riots of Ole Miss.

"They threw anything they had," he remembered in 2002. "I was hit with, probably, a brick. Other [deputies] were also hit. But we prevailed in routing them and it felt good to fight back for a change."

Bud did fight back, but only when he had to. His gentle nature often prevailed. He loved family and possessed a religious base that earned him the role of chaplain in the Retired U.S. Marshals Association (now U.S. Marshals Service Association) for many years. His kindness and quiet pragmatism were invaluable to others.

Robert Christman, retired chief deputy U.S. Marshal of the Western District of Washington, recently noted, "He was a good guy and a good deputy…always there when I needed him."

Denzil N. Staple Jr. was born near Sumner, Wash., July 20, 1928, to Denzil Sr. and Coralee Staple. He joined the U.S. Marshals during a time of professionalization, and first worked in Tacoma, Wash. He moved to the Southern District of California and worked under Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Earle Baugher, an experienced lawman who became a lifelong friend.

Bud was one of three deputies sent to the University of Mississippi from the Southern District of California when James Meredith integrated the college in 1962. An estimated 4,500 people opposed the approximately 700 deputy marshals, deputized border patrol officers and prison guards when they encircled the registration building known as the Lyceum. Enduring an evening of flying debris, buckshot, and Molotov cocktails, the deputies held until relieved by the U.S. Army. Riot training became necessary for young recruits with an increase in assignments to desegregate educational institutions in the south.

Bud served as a Marshals Service spokesperson on the Ole Miss assignment, and during the 40- and 50- year anniversary commemorations, he gave his insights about the ordeal, including life at the Holly Springs "fish camp" where the deputies stayed during the deployment. He even made name tags for the retired deputies at each event.

After Ole Miss, he served in Seattle and at U.S. Marshals Service headquarters in facilities management under then-Chief Tommy Hudson. He served as an early member of the Special Operations Group and participated in groundbreaking strategic assignments, including the lengthy U.S. Marshals Service encampment near Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in 1973. After his stint at Headquarters, Bud transferred to the Western District of Missouri and lastly to Portland, Oregon, as chief deputy U.S. Marshal.

After retirement, Bud and his wife Muriel resided in Stanwood, Wash., where he worked in management for the local police department. He remained active until diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early 2013. He passed away quietly Nov. 22, 2013. He is survived by Muriel, son Dan and daughter-in-law Susan; and daughter Dixie and son-in-law Bob Doyle.