CLARION – Clarion Borough Police confirmed yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon that they are investigating the death of Clarion County Coroner Randall C. Stom.
A press release issued by Police Chief William H. Peck IV last Tuesday afternoon states that Stom was found on the 400 Block of Grant Street in Clarion at 5:11 a.m. on Nov. 12. Peck would only say that Stom was discovered by “a citizen.”
Stom, 56, of Clarion, was unresponsive and transported by Clarion Hospital EMS to the Clarion Hospital Emergency Room where he was pronounced dead.
Peck said that the incident remains under investigation, and that he couldn’t release additional details that could hamper the investigation.
Police were assisted at the scene by Clarion Hospital Ambulance, Clarion University Police, Clarion County Sheriff’s Department, Clarion-based state police, Punxsutawney-based state police and the Clarion County District Attorney’s Office.
The police chief also confirmed that Clarion County Sheriff Rex Munsee was sworn in Tuesday afternoon as acting coroner.
Reached Tuesday evening, Munsee said he could not comment on the investigation, but also confirmed that he was sworn in as acting coroner by Clarion County President Judge James Arner.
“Somebody needed to step in,” Munsee said, noting that in other counties, the sheriff has stepped in during similar circumstances.
Munsee noted the appointment is only temporary until a permanent appointment can be made.
“As a whole, the county cannot go without a coroner,” he said, adding that Stom did not have a deputy coroner working with him. “I was the closest one to help out.”
The news of Stom’s death hit other county officials hard on Tuesday.
“He was serious about the coroner’s office, always looking for ways to make it better and more efficient,” Clarion County Commissioner Wayne Brosius said. “He was very understanding and compassionate with those he dealt with in trying situations. He was a great coroner and I will greatly miss him.”
Stom, a Republican in his first four-year term as county coroner, graduated from Clarion-Limestone High School, and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in science education, and had post-graduate doctoral (ABD) studies in education and education administration from the University of South Carolina and Slippery Rock University. He graduated from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science with honors and was recognized by his peers with the Memorial Award for leadership. He also worked as a funeral director at Goble Funeral Home in Clarion.
Prior to taking office in 2017, Stom served as a deputy coroner for two years, and was the chief deputy coroner for Clarion County for three years.
According to his campaign announcement from 2016, Stom was involved with the Clarion Kiwanis Club, Pennies From Heaven, the First United Methodist Church, and other civic and service organizations.