James E. Zaleski of Riverhead, a retired Riverhead Town police officer, passed away on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. He was 81 years old.
Jim was born on July 29, 1942, in Southampton to Charlotte K. (Turbush) and Thomas A. Zaleski. He was one of two children. He graduated from Riverhead High School. After high school, he enlisted in the United States Air Force and served from 1962 to 1966 during the Vietnam War, attaining the rank of airman first class. During his service he was awarded the Air Force Good Conduct Medal and Air Force Expeditionary Medal. After being honorably discharged from the military, Jim worked for UPS from 1967 to 1971. In 1972 he became a police officer with the Riverhead Town Police Department and worked there until his retirement in 1994. According to Jim, the highlight of his time with the police department was when he once rescued a lady off a bridge.
Jim was a member of the Retired Police Association of New York, a member of the Suffolk County Police Association, a member of the Suffolk County Police Conference, a lifetime member of the VFW Post 2476 in Riverhead and a lifelong member of St. John the Evangelist parish in Riverhead. He was also an avid bowler and golfer. Most of all, Jim was known for his devotion to community service.
Predeceased by his first wife, Constance, in 2000; Jim is survived by his second wife, RuthLinda (whom he married on Aug. 28, 2005, in Riverhead); children Tanya Doherty of Ridge, N.Y., James Zaleski II of Riverhead, Michael Zaleski of Riverhead and Frank Zaleski of Selden, N.Y.; grandchildren Thomas Doherty, Michael Doherty, Kaitlyn Doherty, James Zaleski III, Ryan Zaleski, Charlotte Zaleski and Catherine Callahan-Zaleski; sister Dorothy Bogdan of Aquebogue; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and other relatives throughout the United States.
The family will receive friends on Sunday, Nov. 26, from 3 to 8 p.m. at DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Home in Mattituck. The Liturgy of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, Nov. 27, at Saint John the Evangelist R.C. Church in Riverhead at 11 a.m. Interment with U.S. Air Force honors will follow at Saint John the Evangelist R.C. Cemetery adjacent to the church.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Wounded Warrior Project at woundedwarriorproject.org would be appreciated.
This is a paid notice.