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300 pay respects to YPD officer

Published: Wed, June 25, 2008 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Patricia Meade

The mother of an officer shot to death five years ago attended the funeral.

STRUTHERS — “He was a plus in my life.”

The words were spoken Tuesday in the parking lot of St. Nicholas Church on Fifth Street as a procession of marked and unmarked police cars filed in behind a silver-gray hearse carrying the body of Youngstown Police Department Detective Sgt. Robert Deichman.

  Robert Deichman

The procession had wended its way from Schiavone Funeral Home on Belmont Avenue.

The 40-year-old accident investigator died in a fiery predawn crash on Salt Springs Road last Thursday, just minutes from his apartment on Tyrell Avenue. He was off duty at the time and returning home from celebrating a fellow officer’s birthday when his unmarked cruiser slammed into the side of a semi tractor-trailer pulling out of a driveway.

“He was a very kind man, never walked by anyone without saying hello,” Patrolman Bill Ward said, clenching his white YPD honor guard gloves in his hands as he talked. “I feel bad for the younger ones who won’t get to know him. He was a plus in my life.”

Deichman and Patrolman Michael Cox were hired the same day in 1999, on Jan. 19. Up until the past year or two, they’d get together on their “anniversary” and hoist a beer or two.

“I was always impressed by how smart he was,” said Cox, better known as boxer Kelly Pavlik’s cornerman. “He could have won on ‘Jeopardy,’ knew a lot of trivia. Police need common sense and Rob had that, too.”

As bells tolled a mournful dirge, officers — some from as far away as Cleveland and Columbus suburbs — lined each side of the walkway and held their salutes until the coffin was placed inside the church at 11 a.m. Among the pall bearers were Patrolman Morris Lee and Detective Sgt. Brian Flynn.

Some of the 300 or so who came to pay their last respects wore a lapel photo of Deichman in his uniform. The photo lists “sunrise” as Sept. 24, 1967, his birthday, and “sunset” as June 19, his death.

Deichman’s sister, Dawn Brown, showed reporters an “In Loving Memory” tattoo on her right arm that depicts her brother’s badge.

Youngstown officers wore a small black band across their badges.

Deichman’s wife, Lori, and their daughters, Jenna, 15, and Julianna, 11, who live in Struthers, each wore the photo. The Deichmans had been separated.

The somber funeral Mass caused many to wipe tears from their eyes, among them Detective Sgt. Patricia Garcar, whose desk in the Accident Investigation Unit faces the one Deichman once occupied. Before the funeral, she described herself as “numb.”

With the hymn “Be Not Afraid” as background, Lori Deichman helped guide her husband’s coffin to the altar. Sunlight, somewhat muted by the church’s 48 stained-glass windows, fell upon the sad assemblage that included family, friends and city, county, state and federal officials.

Mary Kay Hartzell, whose 26-year-old son, Patrolman Michael Hartzell, was shot to death on duty in April 2003, said she held up fairly well until the hymns, especially “Amazing Grace,” were sung. She wanted to be there to show support for Deichman’s grieving family and fellow officers.

St. Nicholas Pastor Bob Bonnot said God called Deichman out of this world. The priest described the Mass as both a sorrowful celebration of early death and a joyful celebration of life. Loved ones read scriptures.

“Police officers — their lives are fragile each and every day,” Father Ed Noga, pastor at St. Patrick’s Church, said from the altar. “It’s not a job, but a calling.”

He said Deichman died too young and God will welcome him home and open the gates of heaven.

After the communion procession, Deichman’s sister Dawn tearfully addressed the gathering. “He loved all of us and he loved all of you. There are so many memories.”

Lori Deichman, her daughters by her side, said “he was our hero.” Her voice cracking, she said she’ll miss his sarcastic smirk and the devil in his eye.

Around 12:15 p.m., the Mass ended. A procession then made its way to Calvary Cemetery on Youngstown’s West Side.

With a backdrop of lush greenery, the coffin was placed in front of a statue of the Virgin Mary holding her dead son Jesus. Police stood at parade rest, their arms folded behind them, as the final goodbyes were said.


1redox(55 comments)posted 8 years, 1 month ago

RIP Brother

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2bigdog0480(1 comment)posted 8 years, 1 month ago

First, I don't think anyone should loose their life, especially when they are serving our city and keeping our streets safe.

However, I can't overlook a couple of things. He was at birthday party of a friends house....was he intoxicated? Also, was he wearing his seat belt? The law is I must wear my seatbelt and if I don't, I get a ticket. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Second, he was in an unmarked car. This is a car that us tax payers are paying for, not to mention the gas that goes into it. Do we allow our city employess to use our tax dollars for their personal use?

I feel terrible for the honorable gentleman and his family. However, I think we have a systematic problem here that needs addressed.

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3apollo(1227 comments)posted 8 years, 1 month ago

It's the do as I say not as I do mentality.

His death is no more of a tregedy than anyone elses. Just because someone chooses to be a police officer doesn't then mean his life is more important than say a garbage collector. All lives are equally important.

If he was impaired, (intoxicated) driving fast, or without a seat belt, then he deserves less pity since he was the cause of his own demise.

The best lesson that can be learned from this is to be a defensive driver.

You've got to love the response from some who claim that everyone at one time or another has driven drunk and therefore excuses it. I have NEVER driven drunk and I think there are many others who also can say that. Driving impaired is tantamount to playing russian roulette with a deadly weapon.

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4henryviii1509(274 comments)posted 8 years, 1 month ago

apollo, you may have never driven drunk, but, it looks like you post while drinking here.

leave the man alone, he's dead and can't beat your ass himself.

police officers in particular are to be commended and held in high esteem just because of the elements that they have to work with everyday to keep your dumb ass safe.

maybe you should try driving drunk so that your opinion can be valid.

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5apollo(1227 comments)posted 8 years, 1 month ago

Held in high esteem? Only those who deserve it should be held in high esteem. Just being a cop isn't enough reason to be held in high esteem. You need to be a good cop. One who walks the walk. Refrains from threatening citizens who pay your salaries on bulletin boards. One who upholds the laws and abides by them too. Those are the cops I hold in high esteem. The problem is they are too few and far between!

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6OhioLawStudent(1 comment)posted 8 years, 1 month ago

" I have been where you fear to go... I have seen what you fear to see...I have done what you fear to do...All these things I've done for you. I am the one you lean upon...The one you cast your scorn upon...The one you bring your troubles to...All these people I've been for you. The one you ask to stand apart...The one you feel should have no heart...The one you call the man in blue... But I am human just like you."

Author Unknown


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7markdtenn(8 comments)posted 8 years, 1 month ago

here we go again I was there all weekend and not a peap now I am back home and the comments start up again, 1) Yes he WAS wearing his seatbelt. 2) NO he was not drunk, and 3) the redneck dumbass pulled out in front of him with no trailer lights on being as he ( dumbass truck driver ) called 911 and said he saw him coming down the road and ran into his truck which means he saw Robert and still pulled his rig out in front of him with no lights on. I said goodbye to my friend yesterday for the last time. anyone has a problem with that send me your address and I will be more then happy to come by and see you next time I am in city my friend gave his life for. Rest in peace brother, you are always in our thoughts and prayers.

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8mouse05(6 comments)posted 8 years ago

it is obvious that he was drunk. whether he was wearing a seat belt doesn't matter right now, the fact that he was drinking and driving a vehicle that tax payers are paying for for his own personal use is what bothers me. he wrecks a car that homeowners are paying for and the fact that he was, indeed, DRUNK and above the "legal" limit for us "ordinary" people bothers me. i have to agree with bigdog0480.

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9undead76(63 comments)posted 8 years ago

I would feel awful if I was one of his cop buddies. HE was obviously impaired, but come on, not one of them thought that it would be a better idea if he didn't drive home. I'm sure they would be the first to lecture anyone else about the hazards of driving drunk.

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10MADMIKE(3 comments)posted 8 years ago

Mike Cox - better known as boxer Kelly Pavlik’s cornerman? Never heard of him. What a worthless turd would promote himself at a funeral.

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11WTF(1 comment)posted 8 years ago

This is another fine example of some ridiculous idiot posting on this website! What does Kelly Pavlik have to do with this article? Mike Cox did not introduce himself as Kelly Pavlik's cornerman. The Vindicator journalist knew who he was (something that will never happen to you by the way). She included the fact that he was Pavlik's cornerman in the article. So, the real question becomes, who is the worthless turd MADMIKE????? Can you at least keep your eye on the ball long enough to discuss the situation at hand??? If you are going to show your ignorance, please try not to be so blatent about it! Do you spend your free time wishing you were in the corner??? Sounds like it. Get over it.

Best wishes to the family of Officer Diechman.

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12leelee(31 comments)posted 8 years ago

hey markdtenn
1) was he wearing a seat???NO
2)was he drunk???? YES

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