Sheriff’s Office mourns deputy who died from prolonged illness


INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — The Hart siblings always looked out for each other.

Two of the siblings, Curtis Hart Sr. and Donald Hart Sr., both ventured into careers in law enforcement at the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office. Donald Hart worked in the law enforcement division while Curtis Hart, the youngest out of 11 siblings, worked in the corrections division.

“We didn’t see each other much at work. But we both knew (the other) was just a call away,” Donald Hart said.

Donald Hart, who has since retired from the sheriff’s office and is now employed as a Sebastian officer, reflected on his youngest brother’s sudden passing. Deputy Curtis Hart died Friday morning surrounded by family and friends at a hospital after battling a prolonged illness, sheriff’s officials said.

He was 47 years old.

“He was outgoing. He loved science. He was the light of events,” Donald Hart said. “When he wasn’t at work, he was at church. He enjoyed singing at church.”


Hart, of Gifford, worked as a corrections deputy at the sheriff’s office for more than 21 years, Indian River County sheriff’s spokesman Maj. Eric Flowers said.

“He was a great employee and great asset to our agency,” Flowers said. “He will be missed.”

Hart, son of pioneer and former local chapter NAACP President Victor Hart Sr., had been hospitalized at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach for about three weeks. Further details on his medical condition were not immediately available.

“Those who knew him were aware of the love he had for his family and his passion for fishing,” sheriff’s officials said. “He also had an affinity for music and could often be heard singing throughout the corridors of the Indian River County Jail. ”

The sheriff’s office transported Hart’s body from West Palm Beach back to Indian River County.

“I really appreciate that; honoring my brother in his passing,” Donald Hart said.

While employed at the agency, Hart had various tasks including field training, booking and medical duties.

Hart has a big family tree. His siblings are Vernita Young Shepherd, Ronald Young, Victor Hart Jr., Wilfred Hart, Donald Hart, Vickie Hart Brent, Sonya Hart, Gerald Michael Hart and Denny Hart.

Hart was preceded in death by another one of his brothers, Frederick Young, who died in 2017, and his mother Valareese Young Hart, who died about 20 years ago, family members said.

“We were raised in the church. Education was the number one priority in our household,” Donald Hart said. “We all enjoyed each other.”

Hart’s nephew, Ladell Young, also worked as a lieutenant for the sheriff’s office and retired in 2017. Young recently came back to the agency and is working as a school resource officer.

Hart leaves behind a wife, Natoya Ford-Hart, and five adult children; Jasmine Jackson, Tasha Jackson, Curtis Hart Jr., Dezmond Hart and Devonte Hart.

Memorial services

  • Wake, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., August 2, Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, 4545 30th Avenue, Gifford
  • Funeral, 10 a.m., August 3, Central Assembly of God, 6767 20th Street, Indian River County

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