One of Amherstburg police’s first retirees dies at age 80

 

 

Police logo-webBy Ron Giofu

 

One of – if not the first – Amherstburg police retirees has died at the age of 80.

Joe Dube died Oct. 6 and leaves behind a lifetime of memories and respect including from those who worked with him at the Amherstburg Police Service. Dube joined the force in 1965 and is believed to be the first official retiree when he left the police service in 1993.

Since then, Dube was a fixture at local sporting events watching youth play baseball and hockey among other sports.

Chief Tim Berthiaume worked with Dube for four years before the latter retired and has fond memories of Dube.

“He was a good ol’ guy. Everyone knew him,” said Berthiaume. “He was old school. He was dedicated and he was always there when you needed him.”

Berthiaume recalled that Dube’s badge number was one and he was 60-years-old when he retired. Dube’s retirement party was one of the bigger ones Berthiaume remembers as he estimated over 250 people were there.

“We lost an icon in our community. He was a well respected part of Amherstburg,” the chief said. “You would see him frequently at hockey and baseball games. I don’t think he ever stopped patrolling Amherstburg.”

Berthiaume also recalled Dube dressing up as Santa Claus during the holidays and always willing to joke with people as well.

“I enjoyed his sense of humour and he had a big heart,” said Berthiaume. “To know Joe was to love him. He was such a big part of our community and we are really going to miss him around here. He always had time for you when he saw you and he’d tell a quick joke and move on.”

While Berthiaume is one of only three active Amherstburg police officers to have served with Dube, he said Dube would still come in and visit and joke with officers.

“I’m sure Joe will be keeping an eye on the town from above,” the chief added. “I don’t think he’s ever going to stop.”

Retired deputy chief Bart DiPasquale said he started with Amherstburg police in 1975 when the service had eight officers. He recalled Dube telling him there were four officers when Dube began ten years earlier.

“Everybody knew Joe. He was definitely from the old era the way he treated people. He had a heart of gold,” said DiPasquale.

DiPasquale, now a town councillor, believed Dube was the department’s first retiree. While a police officer, Dube would be part of several larger arrests as well as take care of smaller matters, DiPasquale recalled. DiPasquale said Dube and partner Jim Hedges once found a car with a young woman bound and gagged in the cemetery property which led to the arrest of a pedophile from the United States.

Dube would later be subpoened to testify in Chicago in a matter regarding that person.

“They made some very large arrests and did a fine job in looking after the town,” said DiPasquale. “He was right in the thick of things and tried to keep peace in the town.”

Dube was also recalled by DiPasquale for being someone with a lot of compassion.

“Joe was quite a character,” said DiPasquale. “He had a good heart. He really cared about people. He really did. You couldn’t find a greater guy.”

Remembering Dube as “a big, burly man with a heart of gold,” DiPasquale also recalled Dube dressing as Santa Claus and visiting families of police officers or those less fortunate.

The idea of community based policing started with Dube’s era, he added.

“They were doing it years ago,” said DiPasquale.

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