June 15, 1931 – Sudden Demise of Officer William H. Stier a Shock

William H. Stier, one of Derby’s oldest and best known policemen, died suddenly Sunday evening at his home at 125 Park Avenue. Officer Stier died while on duty having been summoned two hours before by Chief of Police Thomas Van Ettan to go to Lake Zoar with the Derby Gas and Electric Company’s inhalator in an effort to revive Michael Cracho, 17 year old Bridgeport youth who drowned as the result of overturning of a canoe.

Officer Stier with former Mayor George P. Sullivan and John Dempsey jr,. all employees of the Derby Gas and Electric Company, and experts in the operation of the inhalator, hurried to Stevenson where it was found to be too late for the resuscitation of the drowned man. On the return trip, Mr. Stier complained of feeling ill and was hurried to his home, where he expired about half an hour later. He was attended by Dr. William J. Scott. Death was pronounced due to acute indigestion by Medical Examiner F. N. Loomis.

Rushed to Stevenson

Sunday afternoon, Officer Stier attended the baseball game between the Shamrocks and Cubs and Athletics at Buddies Memorial Field, as a spectator. He was to go on police duty at 6 o’clock in the evening and had been seated on the bleachers with former Mayor Sullivan, when at the start of the second game, he remarked that he thought he would go home. He lives but a short distance from the field and had been gone for half an hour when he returned in his automobile and called for former Mayor Sullivan, saying he had been notified by Chief Van Ettan that he was wanted at the power house. Mr. Sullivan climbed into the car with him and they proceeded to the power house on Housatonic Avenue and finding no one needing assistance there decided it was at the Stevenson power house. Mr. Stier with Messrs. Sullivan and Dempsey drove to the police station and took the police car whose siren would give them the right of way going up the River Road.  In the meantime, the inhalator had been secured and in another car followed the police machine to Stevenson.

There it was reported that the drowning had taken place on the Newtown side of the river and at a place known as Point Pleasant, some distance above the power plant. When t he men arrived at the place they were followed by the Echo Hose company members of Shelton, who had brought along their inhalator and it was decided to use this machine but already the drowned man had been pronounced dead, having been in the water about 45 minutes.

Complained of Illness

Mr. Stier complained of feeling ill and with Messrs. Sullivan and Dempsey went into a house nearby, where a Mrs. Martin prepared some salt and warm water for him. They then proceeded over a bridge to Peter Keefe’s residence where he again complained of feeling ill and Mr. Keefe’s daughter, Mrs. Joseph Kelly, fixed him a glass of warm water and baking soda.

Proceeding down the River Road, Mr. Stier was in the back of the machine, and was seen to double over with the pain. Mr. Sullivan, who was driving, put on all speed and soon had Mr. Stier at his home. They wanted to help him into the house but he said he was all right and then Messrs. Sullivan and Dempsey returned to the ballgame and a fire minutes later Miss Virginia Stier, daughter of the policeman, told Mr. Sullivan that her father was dying.

Messrs. Sullivan and Dempsey rushed to the house and found Mr. Stier unconscious. They worked over him with the inhalator for some time but could not restore consciousness and Dr. Scott pronounced him dead. Assistance was given by several nurses who live in the vicinity, Miss Haaf and Mrs. Amy McEvoy. The body was removed to the morgue and the Colwell Undertaking Company where permission for its preparal for burial was given by Medical Examiner Franklin N. Loomis.

Native of New Haven

William H. Stier was a native of New Haven but had resided in this city for the past thirty years. He came here to enter the employ of the late J.N. Wise and later was employed by Frank H. Kamak and D. and S. Champlain. Thirteen years ago he joined the work force of Derby Gas and Electric Company as foreman of the distribution department. He was a faithful and conscientious worker, and was held in very high regard by his employees.

Mr. Stier seventeen years ago was appointed to the supernumerary force of the Derby Police Department. As an officer he had an excellent record and high tribute was paid to him by Chief Van Ettan who stated he was always a faithful officer and one who realized the responsibility and trust that were his. He was ever ready to be of service, Chief Van Ettan said, and never failed to do his duty when called upon. He was at all times at the service of the department and had thoughts for others beside himself. During the depression he asked the police officials to assign some of the unemployed supernumerary officers to his police work saying they needed the work more than he. Mayor William J. Riordan, chairman of the board of police commissioners, said last night that he was a faithful officer, trustworthy, and reliable. Police department members, with a legion of friends and acquaintances in the associated cities, were shocked beyond measure of the untimely passing of Mr. Stier and many expressions of regret were heard for his family.

Mr. Stier was an honorary member of the Storm Engine company and a member of the Derby lodge of Elks. He was also a member of the State Police association. He had a few weeks ago been appointed to grade B patrolman, by the police commissioners, in recognition for his many years of faithful service.

Mr. Stier is survived by his wife, and four daughters, Miss Virginia Stier, assistant to the principal in the Franklin and Lincoln schools, Eleanor, a junior in the Derby High School, and Jean and Carol.

He also leaves a brother, Charles Stier of New Haven, and three sisters, Mrs. Wendell Cross of Waterbury, and Miss Elizabeth Stier and Mrs. Minnie O’Neil of New York.

Mr. Stier will be buried Wednesday, the twenty-third anniversary of his marriage.

The remains were moved from the Colwell Undertaking company’s morgue to his home.

The funeral will be held from the home Wednesday morning at 8:30 o’clock, and at St. Mary’s Church at 9 o’clock. Internment will be at Mt. St. Peter’s cemetery