Retired Brigadier General Joseph Conlon dead at 66
BY KWAME OPAM
Courtesy of Newsday
June 30, 2009
Retired Brigadier General Joseph F. Conlon III, who served in Saudi Arabia during the first Persian Gulf War and worked for more than two decades as an investigator in the Suffolk district attorney's office, died June 23 at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson, New York.
Conlon, 66, a longtime Miller Place resident, suffered from heart disease and diabetes.
When Conlon was Chief Detective Investigator in the District Attorney's office, “what I remember most is the outsized personality of the man that went hand in hand with his physical presence,” said John Buonora, Chief Assistant District Attorney. “Joe was a powerful man, and he exuded confidence. He was by the book, followed procedures and he was truly a leader.”
Conlon was born on March 10, 1943, into an Irish-Italian household in Brooklyn to Susan and Joseph F. Conlon Jr. and grew up in the Woodhaven section of Queens.
In 1964 he received his bachelor's degree from Niagara University, with recognition as a distinguished Army ROTC graduate. The next year he was sent to the Dominican Republic as part of the 82nd Airborne Division's occupation during political unrest there. For his service he earned the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster and Valor Device.
“My grandmother was exuberant about his service and his graduation from Niagara,” said his daughter, Melissa Conlon, 35, of Rocky Point. “For a family that wasn't quote, unquote, ‘American,' he epitomized what it meant to be American.”
He married his wife, Gretchen, in September 1965.
He earned a master's degree in criminal justice from John Jay College in Manhattan in 1975 and went on to work in the Suffolk County district attorney's office.
Conlon was called back to military duty for the first Persian Gulf War in 1990, when he took command of the Uniondale-based 800th Military Police Brigade. Retired Sergeant Major Tony Filosa, 69, of Mount Sinai remembered Conlon as “a gentleman.”
“He treated everybody like his son or daughter,” said Filosa, who served as first sergeant under Conlon.
Conlon was active in local community affairs, was a founding member of the Miller Place Booster Club, coached football and wrestling for the Police Athletic League, and was a presenter at numerous military memorial services and veterans' functions. He was engaged in community service events sponsored by Maryhaven Center of Hope in Port Jefferson. He also was an avid fisherman.
In addition to his wife and daughter, he is survived by his sons, Joseph Conlon IV of Douglassville, Pennsylvania, and Scott Conlon of Sound Beach; and six grandchildren.
A funeral with military honors was held Saturday at St. Louis de Montfort Roman Catholic Church in Sound Beach. He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery on September 15, 2009.
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
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