Hundreds of police attend fallen Oak Forest officer’s funeral
By Susan Demar Lafferty firstname.lastname@example.org March 22, 2014 2:52PM
A police officer salutes as fallen Oak Forest Police Officer James Morrissy arrives at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery, Saturday, March 22, 2014 in Alsip | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 24, 2014 10:10AM
James Morrissy was remembered Saturday as a compassionate man and one of Oak Forest’s best police officers.
Floral condolences lined the walls and hundreds of police officers from throughout the state joined family, friends and mourners who packed four chapels at Sheehy & Sons Funeral Home in Orland Park in a final tribute to Morrissy, who was killed in the line of duty March 17.
Police closed two of the four lanes of traffic on 151st Street as squad cars lined up for several blocks to lead the hearse in a procession to Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Many wore a black ribbon across their badges.
“To be a great police officer, you need to be a great man. Jim was a great man,” said Oak Forest Deputy Police Chief Timothy Kristin, who eulogized Morrissy during a brief service.
Morrissy, 62, a 34-year member of the police department, died at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn from multiple injuries he suffered in an accident. He was on his way to assist a fellow officer on a nonemergency call when his squad car was struck by a southbound vehicle on Cicero Avenue as he was turning onto Cicero from 160th Street.
Morrissy’s squad car emergency lights apparently were not on at the time of the crash, and the other driver — who was treated for minor injuries — won’t be charged, police said.
Morrissy is survived by his wife, Janice, and three sons, Kyle, Marc and Jake.
“His love and devotion to his family cannot be measured,” Kristin said. “He had great pride in his three sons.”
“But he also had a family at 155th and Central,” he said, referring to the police station. “He was a true friend to all who worked with him. He is someone who touched your heart and will stay there forever.”
Kristin said Morrissy’s empathy for others “truly made him a special police officer.”
To Morrissy’s widow and sons, Kristin said: “You will be in our family forever. His loving memory will last forever in our hearts. Thank you for sharing him with us for 34 years.”
Outside, on a cloudy, chilly day, hundreds of police officers stood at attention and saluted as Morrissy’s casket was carried to the hearse. His widow dabbed her eyes while bagpipes played.
On Friday, thousands of people, including about 300 first responders, paid their respects to Morrissy during his visitation at the funeral home.
“It’s a sad day for Oak Forest,” Kristin said Friday.
Among the mourners Saturday was state Rep. William Davis, D-East Hazel Crest, who was with Janice Morrissy when she was notified Monday of an emergency involving her husband.
Janice, who works with the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, was in Davis’ office discussing economic development opportunities for the area, he said.
“When she got the message, she was nervous but not panicky,” Davis said.
Before she left his office, she made a call and learned that her husband had been in an accident.
“At that time, we thought is was non-life threatening,” Davis said. “This is absolutely tragic.”
Contributing: Ginger Brashinger