Retired Stoneham Police Officer Thomas Cullen passed away Saturday after a long illness. Officer Cullen was 65 years old.
Officer Cullen will be remembered with a funeral Mass on Friday at St. Patrick’s Church at 10 a.m. Visiting hours for the long-time DARE officer will be held Thursday afternoon from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Barile Funeral Home, 482 Main St., Stoneham.
Remembrances of Officer Cullen have been coming in since news of his death spread throughout Stoneham and the area.
Tufts University Police Sgt. Darren Weisse said Tuesday that he remembered Officer Cullen from his own days as a high school student and later when Sgt. Weisse worked with the Stoneham Auxiliary Police.
“I was injured in the Stoneham gym during a basketball game in 1983,” recalled Sgt. Weisse. “Jeanne Craigie was the first person that attended to me but Tom was the first officer on scene. To this day, I can still hear his voice as I laid on the gymnasium floor. His voice was calming, as it always was, and reassuring. He was a terrific police officer and person.”
Grace McManus worked often with Officer Cullen through the DARE program.
“Tom loved the DARE program,” she said. “And the Stoneham children loved Tom because of the DARE program.”
Many of those children were prompted to become police officers thanks to Officer Cullen’s influence.
“My son decided to go into police work because of the kindness and dedication of DARE Officer Cullen,” said Lauren Murphy. “When I told my son ‘Now you can be a DARE Officer like Tom Cullen,’ he replied ‘No one can be like Officer Cullen.’ No truer words have been spoken. He was truly a wonderful man and will be sorely missed.”Paul John Maisano called Officer Cullen "a giant of a man with a heart as big as his laugh."
"I believe most people thought of him as the smiling poster police officer you may remember from forty years ago, as he pointed to us to drive carefully, and watch for children," said Maisano.
Maisano called Officer Cullen a mentor to children throughout Stoneham.
"Tom made a huge difference in our lives in small ways," he said. "Tom Cullen lived a magnificently successful life. He reached out to all equally, he was never judgmental, and always tried to find understanding ..... when there was little available. Tom maintained the enviable virtues of honestly, caring, and integrity. He was proud of his commitment to his family, his department, and our town, as he served so honorably for a lifetime."
"As I drove down Pond Street this morning, I remembered that a few years ago Tommy on a detail waving to me as I passed," Maisano continued. "For many of us, Tom will always be on duty in Stoneham, smiling, as his spirit reminds us to keep an eye out for the children as we drive."
Obituary from Barile Funeral Home:
Thomas K. Cullen of Stoneham passed away on Saturday, February 15, 2014. He was 65 years of age.
Thomas was the loving son of the late Thomas E. and Mary (Gorman) Cullen.
During the Vietnam War, Thomas proudly defended our freedom as a member of the United States Army. He was a Police Officer for the Town of Stoneham for 32 years and former DARE Officer.
Thomas was the devoted husband of Ellen (Rocco) Cullen. He was the beloved father of Julie Cullen and Tom Cullen and his wife Danielle. Thomas was the cherished grandfather of Camden and Cole. He was the dear brother of Margaret DiNardi and Ann Muolo and her husband Frank. He is survived by many loving nieces and nephews.
Funeral from the Barile Family Funeral Home, 482 Main St. (RT 28) STONEHAM Friday, February 21, 2014 at 9 am followed by a Funeral Mass celebrating Thomas' Eternal Life in St. Patrick Church, 71 Central St., Stoneham at 10 am. Family and friends are cordially invited to gather and share remembrances with the Family on Thursday, February 20, 2014 from 4-8 pm in the Funeral Home. Parking attendants will be available.
Please honor Thomas by making donations in his memory St. Jude's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Pl., Memphis, TN 38105-1905.