A more somber holiday season this year for the Sullivan County community as people in the Village of Woodridge look back on the life of late police officer, Gene Ackerley. Time Warner Cable News Reporter Alexandra Weishaupt has the story.
WOODRIDGE, N.Y. -- “Gene was an exceptional guy,” said Officer Brent Lawrence. “Very friendly, someone you couldn't help but like.”
Officer Gene Ackerley lost his battle to leukemia Sunday after a yearlong fight with the disease, leaving behind his wife, three children and beloved grandchildren.
“He fought it. He tried anything and everything, he really battled it and he was doing well for a little while and he had a relapse,” said Mayor Joan Collins. “He couldn’t do it anymore.”
A member of the department since 1974, Ackerley served as a Lieutenant and was later Appointment Chief. In the 90s he retired from his full-time position, but stayed on as a part-time Patrol Officer.
He was laid back and easy going, according to those who knew him, but was always there in times of need.
“He was a wealth of knowledge,” added Lawrence. “If you needed to know about anybody in the Village of Woodridge, where they lived, who they were related to, what they were up to, Gene was the guy you went to.”
He was a family man, an athlete and one who cared deeply about the betterment of Woodridge. And while his condition was known, it’s a loss for the village, as many are only beginning to cope with the passing of a pillar to the community.
“You can never be prepared for something like this. No matter what you know, no matter when you know it, it’s not something you can prepare for,” said Collins. “We’re going to miss him.”