FBI agent group cites DeLoach for service

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FBI agent group cites DeLoach for service

BY TIM DONNELLY<br>THE ISLAND PACKET
Published Saturday, October 1, 2005 in The Island Packet  |  581 Words  |  /IslandPacket/news/local

The picturesque marshside setting of the River Club at Oldfield is a far cry from the FBI world of Deke DeLoach.'
There, 40 years ago, DeLoach -- as a right-hand man to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover -- oversaw the investigation into Martin Luther King Jr.'s murder and shared a wall with the man who later would leak Watergate secrets to The Washington Post.'
But Friday, on an outdoor porch surrounded by mostly retired FBI agents, DeLoach's admirers and family were gathered to pay tribute to a man who contributed to the local community once his FBI and corporate careers were over.'
"It's clear Mr. DeLoach may have retired from the FBI, may have retired from PepsiCo, may have retired from a lot of other things," said Johnie Joyce, vice president of the Southeast region of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI, "but he did not retire from life."'
DeLoach, 85, was given the Humanitarian Service Award for the society's Southeast region. The award was supposed to be presented at the society's national conference in New Orleans this year, but it was canceled due to Hurricane Katrina.'
Locally, DeLoach was instrumental in starting the Self Family Arts Center, now the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, when he was chairman of the Hilton Head Island Cultural Council's fundraising efforts for the center's construction. He has stayed active in various scholarship and charity organizations, including the Heritage Classic Foundation.'
"It really happened because people wanted it to happen," DeLoach said in an interview after the award presentation. "I guess if you sum it all up, the arts center would be one of the main things (I've accomplished)."'
Earlier this year, he was chosen to serve as grand marshal of Hilton Head's St. Patrick's Day parade, something he also identified as a great honor.'
He spent an eventful 28 years in the agency before leaving to become a vice president at PepsiCo. As deputy director under Hoover, he worked on the investigation that helped convict James Earl Ray in the murder of King. In 1964, DeLoach called President Lyndon Johnson to tell him that the bodies of three civil rights workers were found near Philadelphia, Miss. -- a case that ended only this June with the manslaughter conviction of Edgar Ray Killen.'
While at the agency, DeLoach worked next to Mark Felt, the man who only recently was revealed to be the secret "Deep Throat" source helping Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein investigate the Watergate break-in's ties to the White House. In 1997, DeLoach was honored at a roast on Hilton Head hosted by G. Gordon Liddy, the former FBI agent who was convicted for his role in the Watergate scandal.'
DeLoach moved to Hilton Head part time in 1982 and settled here permanently in 1985. Since his retirement, he has written a book and appeared on television to defend Hoover's handling of civil rights matters. He stays involved with his church, the Holy Family Catholic Church, and is chairman of the J. Edgar Hoover Foundation, an organization that provides scholarships to needy students.'
"I've traveled throughout the world," he said, "but Hilton Head is a good basic place, where people can come together and do stuff for each other."'
DeLoach said the $2,000 check he received with the award will be given to the foundation for scholarship money.