Mourners pay last respects to Oak Forest officer killed by crash
By Ginger Brashinger Correspondent March 21, 2014 8:58PM
Police officers line up to pay their respects to fallen Oak Forest Police Officer James Morrissy at Sheehy & Son Funeral Home, Friday, March 21, 2014 in Orland Park | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 24, 2014 10:05AM
They came from at least as far away as Elgin to pay final respects to their fallen comrade.
Among the thousands of people who crammed into an Orland Park funeral home Friday night were about 300 first responders. They showed up for a ceremonial final walk-through in honor of Oak Forest officer James Morrissy, who died Monday after an on-duty crash with another vehicle.
“He was a great officer. He gave us 34 years of service to the city of Oak Forest. He was loved by all,” Deputy Police Chief Tim Kristin said outside Sheehy & Sons Funeral Home. “He was a great father, a great husband, a great brother. It’s a sad day for Oak Forest.”
The 62-year-old Morrissy was headed to a call Monday afternoon to help a fellow officer on a nonemergency situation when his squad car was involved in a powerful crash as he turned left from 160th Street onto Cicero Avenue. A southbound vehicle smashed into the driver’s side of his squad car, police said.
Morrissy died hours later at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn from multiple injuries he suffered in the collision.
Morrissy’s squad car emergency lights apparently were not on at the time of the crash, police said. The other driver — who was treated for minor injuries — won’t be charged, police said.
Morrissy was a husband and a father of three sons. He served in the military and met his wife, Janice, while in college.
The Oak Forest resident served as a police officer for more than 30 years.
On Friday afternoon, mourners packed the funeral home’s parking lot — with overflow cars parked on a nearby side street. On 151st Street, police and other emergency vehicles filled the median.
Police from Chicago, Elgin, Evergreen Park, Orland Park and Riverdale were among those who attended. But there were many more.
Kristin said thousands of people showed up to Morrissy’s visitation throughout the day.
Before the ceremonial walk-through, police walked around, shaking hands and talking. There was an air of camaraderie and, even, light laughter.
The mood turned solemn and silent, however, as the first responders lined up to pass through the funeral home.
Oak Forest Police Chief Greg Anderson and Kristin greeted the first responders as they exited the funeral home.
Afterward, there was embracing amid a sense of brotherhood.
A funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home. It will be followed by a funeral procession to Holy Sepulchre Cemetery starting around noon.
Jim and Donna Hortsman, of Oak Forest, said their daughter attends Oak Forest High School with Morrissy’s youngest son, Jake.
“It’s very sad,” Jim Horstman said.
Jean Moran, a former Oak Forest resident who worked for the city for 20 years and knew the Morrissys, said she was impressed by the family.
“He was a great guy. He was devoted to his job,” said Moran, now of Orland Park, said. “He isn’t the type of guy who would want us to go around crying. He would want us to help his family go forward in any way that we could.”