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Former West Hartford Police Officer and Police Cross Recipient Stephen Fedus, Jr. Has Died

West Hartford Police Off. Stephen Fedus, Jr. in 1948. Courtesy of West Hartford Police Department
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Stephen Fedus, Jr., who retired from the West Hartford Police Department in the 1940s after losing his left leg in the line of duty and was honored with the Police Cross in 2016, passed away on April 19.

By Ronni Newton

Former West Hartford Police Officer Stephen Fedus, Jr., 96, died Wednesday, April 19, 2017, slightly more than 69 years after sustaining a tragic injury that ultimately cost him his left leg and his career as a police officer.

West Hartford Asst. Police Chief Robert McCue said he spoke with Fedus’ son Henry, who told him that Fedus “passed away peacefully in his sleep with his family present” at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

A West Hartford Police Department Honor Guard Ceremony will take place as part of the funeral service for Fedus, scheduled for Monday, April 24, at 9 a.m., at the Molloy Funeral Home, 906 Farmington Ave., West Hartford.

Fedus had embarked on what he considered his “life’s work” when his career with the West Hartford Police Department was cut short by a critical injury he received while trying to protect children from an out-of-control vehicle that was speeding by a crosswalk near Beach Park School (now School for Young Children).

The incident happened on April 13, 1948. Several days after the incident Fedus, who was 27 at the time, had his left leg amputated and in May 1949 was forced to take a disability separation from the West Hartford Police Department, Chief Tracey Gove said in an interview in May 2016.

From left: Asst. Chief Daniel Coppinger, Retired Off. Stephen Fedus, Jr., Chief Tracey Gove, and Asst. Chief Robert McCue present the Police Cross. Courtesy photo

On May 25, 2016, Gove, McCue, and Assistant Chief Daniel Coppinger visited the then-95-year-old Fedus at his home in Southwick, MA. They presented him with the Police Cross – an honor “awarded to a sworn officer who in the intelligent performance of his/her duty is seriously injured.”

Current members of the West Hartford Police Department had not been aware of Stephen Fedus’ sacrifice until they received an email from Henry Fedus in May 2016 informing them that his father, then 95, was in failing health and said it would be nice if someone could stop by and say hello.

“My father still considers himself a police officer and it would really raise his spirits during the ending of his time here with us,” Henry Fedus wrote.

Gove, McCue, and Coppinger were happy to make the trip to Southwick, and at the same decided to present Stephen Fedus, Jr. with the Police Cross. The award had not been established back when Fedus was injured.

Fedus’ obituary on Legacy.com states that receiving the Police Cross “was a very special moment that Fedus treasured.”

For the complete story of the Police Cross presentation and details of the incident, click here.

The wake is scheduled for Sunday, April 23, 2017, from 3-6 p.m. at Molloy Funeral Home. The procession will depart at 9 a.m. Monday for St. Andrews Church, 128 Norwich Ave., Colchester, CT, where a mass will be held at 10 a.m. immediately followed by burial at Linwood Cemetery in Colchester.

Donations in Fedus’ memory may be made to the Stephen Fedus, Jr. Scholarship Fund, c/o Windsor Federal Savings Bank, 21 Hartford Ave., Granby, CT 06035. Funds will be designated to students of police officers serving within the Greater Hartford area.

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