Mike Joyner, a long-time public servant in Levy, Citrus, Jefferson, Gadsden and Seminole counties, died Aug. 4 at age 70.
“We could all serve to be more like Mike Joyner,” said Levy County Commission Chairman John Meeks, a friend and colleague of Joyner’s. “It was in his nature; he always put others first.”
The Levy County Commissioner, former Florida law enforcement officer, farmer and community pillar died after suffering from health complications during a hospitalization.
The Chiefland resident leaves behind his wife, Diane, a son, “Scooter,”, and a daughter, Jennifer.
Joyner was born in Cairo, Ga., graduated from Jefferson County High School in Monticello and obtained law enforcement training at North Florida Junior College.
Joyner began his 32-year career as a law enforcement officer in Jefferson County in 1973. He also served in Levy, Citrus, Gadsden and Marion County law enforcement agencies before retiring in 2005.
During his time in law enforcement, Joyner was credited with saving four different lives on three separate instances, according to the Levy County Sheriff’s Office website.
In 1986, he spearheaded an 18-month undercover operation that led to 72 arrests. Joyner also went undercover in prison seven times in four different states, gaining information that helped solve multiple cold-case homicides.
Meeks said that Joyner was a first-rate law enforcement officer and undercover investigator who solved and assisted on a variety of cases, including bringing down multiple drug rings and dealers.
To Meeks, one moment from Joyner’s time on the Jefferson County force exemplified his illustrious law enforcement career and personality.
He said that a small plane had crashed in a swamp one winter evening. The temperature was unusually cold, about 10-15 degrees below freezing. Despite the harsh conditions, Joyner waded through the cold swamp and pulled the pilot from the plane, carrying him out on his back. Despite suffering from hypothermia and other effects of the cold, Joyner didn’t mind. Meeks said it was just the type of man he was.
Joyner first became a member of the Levy County Commission in 2010 when he was appointed by former Florida Gov. Rick Scott after then District 1 representative Chad Johnson won election to the second district. He subsequently won reelection multiple times.
Joyner most recently represented the third district in Levy County as county commissioner, serving as Vice-Chairman of the commission, alongside his friend John Meeks. He also served as a member of the county’s 2021 County Agent Advisory, Canvassing and Value Adjustment Boards and the 2021 Levy County Jail Diversion Committee.
In a message posted to the Levy County Emergency Manager’s website, the office lauded Joyner’s hands-on commitment and effort to help keep the county’s residents and visitors safe in times of need.
“Commissioner Joyner would, at the drop of a hat, offer his assistance with anything from answering phone calls from the public, to grabbing a chainsaw and cutting trees out of roadways. He did all of this with no expectation or want of recognition,” the emergency management office said.
“He was a man of the people and a defender and advocate to the employees of Levy County. His life as a dedicated professional in his service to the public is a shining example of what a true public servant is and what we all should strive to be.”