Update: Funeral arrangements have been made for Riverhead police detective Robert Boden, who died Monday, funeral home officials said.
Visitation will be held at the Reginald H Tuthill funeral home from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday. Funeral services for Mr. Boden will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at St. John the Evangelist Church in Riverhead. A burial will take place later that day at St. John’s cemetery.
Mr. Boden’s family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to the Boden Memorial Football Scholarship Fund, c/o McGann-Mercy High School, 1225 Ostrander Avenue, Riverhead, NY 11901 or Suffolk County National Bank.
Original story: Robert Boden — a beloved father of four, a Riverhead Police Department detective and a 32-year veteran of the force — died Monday afternoon, sending shockwaves through the close-knit department and community. He was 54 years old.
Mr. Boden suffered a blood clot in his lung while at home last week and was rushed to Peconic Bay Medical Center, said Riverhead police Chief David Hegermiller. He died at Stony Brook University Hospital, funeral home officials said.
“He’s a great person,” Chief Hegermiller said. “Bobby knew everyone and I think everyone knew Bob.”
Mr. Boden, a life-long Riverhead resident, joined the force on Nov. 16, 1981, and became well-liked for his sense of humor, Chief Hegermiller said.
“He told it like it was and he was always good for a laugh,” Chief Hegermiller said. “He had a heart of gold, and he really did care about his job and Riverhead. And, of course, his family.”
Mr. Boden is survived by his wife, Denise, and four children.
He was also a graduate of McGann-Mercy High School and was an active member of the Mercy community, said the school’s director of institutional advancement Debbie Kneidl.
“They were really big supporters of the athletic program at Mercy,” she said. “Bobby and Denise would be at any and all games possible, whether their kids were playing or not.” Mr. Boden was also very involved in giving the Boden Memorial Football Award, a yearly award that was started by his father.
The school’s football team is paying tribute to Mr. Boden by wearing his initials and his son’s number — #56 — on their helmets during this week’s game, school officials said.
“It is a shock to the Mercy family and we’re all trying to process it,” Ms. Kneidl said.
Chief Hegermiller said Mr. Boden’s co-workers in the department — including his brother, Lt. Rick Boden — have also been hit hard by his sudden death.
“When you have someone there for 32 years, it’s like a family,” he said. “It hurts everybody.”
Tributes to Mr. Boden poured in on social media Monday as news of his death spread.
“A great friend and colleague who left us before his time,” wrote Riverhead police officer Rich Freeborn on Facebook. “Rest easy fella, we’ll take it from here. ”
Several users on the site changed their profile pictures to a blacked-out Riverhead police badge to honor Mr. Boden.
“Riverhead lost a great guy and someone who was a role model to so many community kids,” added Riverhead resident Liz Stokes.
“We lost a brother in blue today, one of the best, one of Riverhead’s finest,” Joey Szot wrote. “My thoughts, prayers, and love is being sent over to the Boden family right now.”