ONEONTA – John J. Riordan, a retired state trooper who served in increasingly responsible positions in Troop C’s Oneonta barracks, then rising to commander of Troop E (Canandaigua), died Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, at the Daughters of Sarah Nursing Center in Albany. He was 80.
John was born in The Bronx Hospital, New York City on Nov. 8, 1936, to the late John J. and Catherine A. (Furey) Riordan.
He is survived by Janie (Wall) Riordan, his wife of 56 years; their three loving children, James (Stacy) of Vienna, Va., Kenneth (Linda) of East Greenbush and Karen Smith (Ray) of Saratoga Springs; brother, Patrick (Clara) of Saville; and sister, Marianne Lange of Holland Patent. He was blessed with four grandchildren, Kayla and Nolan Smith, Emily and Andy Riordan; as well as several wonderful nieces and nephews.
John graduated from Incarnation Elementary School in the Washington Heights section of Upper Manhattan and Cardinal Hayes High School on the Grand Concourse in The Bronx.
Joining the Army, he worked out of the 18th Precinct as a member of the Armed Forces Police Detachment (AFPDNYC); later, when transferred to the Republic of South Korea, John was assigned as an investigator for the Provost Marshal’s Office. He served a 13-month tour of duty in South Korea and missed being present for the birth of his oldest son.
John enlisted in the State Police and served most of his career in Oneonta as troopers, sergeant, station commander and zone sergeant. In 1979, he attained the rank of lieutenant and served as the Zone One commander in Troop E (Canandaigua). At Headquarters (Albany) he served as the Division Quartermaster and Emergency Management Officer. John retired in May 1991.
He was a member of the State Police Benevolent Association and the Association of Former New York State Troopers.
Mid-way through his State Police career, John attended college on the GI Bill and received a bachelor’s degree in literature from SUNY Oneonta. He loved to write short stories and had five published in regional magazines during his “retirement” years.
He also enjoyed music and played the Great Highland bagpipe. As a longtime member of the Albany Police Pipes and Drums Band, John traveled with his bandmates to Dublin, Ireland in 1991, to march in the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. He was a proud Irishman, family man, avid outdoor sportsman and lifelong Giants and Yankees fan.
The Riordan family extend its heartfelt thanks to the wonderful caregivers of Daughters of Sarah and Community Hospice.
A funeral mass will be celebrated at 9 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 26, at St. Clare’s Catholic Church (1947 Central Ave., Albany). There will be a Celebration of Life reception with the family in attendance directly after Mass at the Midway Fire Station.
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests that you honor John’s memory through the New York State Trooper Foundation, 3 Airport Park Blvd., Latham, NY 12110, Community Hospice, 445 New Karner Road, Albany, NY 12205, or your favorite charity.
A private burial service will be conducted later.