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A Community Bids Former Deputy Joe Delarosby Farewell, Mixing Anger With Remembrance

| October 14, 2014

After today's services at Church on the Rock, Joe Delarosby's wife Judy  was led out by Carmine Celico, brother of the late Frank Celico, with her daughter Kelsey behind her, and Joe's father Gerard, who was flanked by Flagler County Sheriff's Sgt. Michael van Buren, a close friend of Joe's and his family. c

After today’s services at Church on the Rock, Joe Delarosby’s wife Judy was led out by Carmine Celico, brother of the late Frank Celico, with her daughter Kelsey behind her, and Joe’s father Gerard, who was flanked by Flagler County Sheriff’s Sgt. Michael van Buren, a close friend of Joe’s and his family. (© FlaglerLive)

No matter who spoke at Joseph Delarosby’s memorial service at Church on the Rock this morning, certain words kept recurring to describe the man Flagler County knew as an EMT and a sheriff’s deputy for more than half the life he ended last week: above all, compassion and generosity, charisma, a sharp photographer’s eye whose lenses were like extra limbs, and a sense of humor that, at least to those who knew him publicly, never quit.

“Making a difference was what Joe was all about. From major events such as hurricanes and forest fires to other calls from someone in need of assistance, Joe was there to help. helping others before he helped himself,” Joe’s brother Robert said before quoting Emerson in words that embodied his brother: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Robert would go on to quote Buckminster Fuller and Jimmy Carter as he summarized the life of a man who “stood up for what he believed in. When Joe took on a cause, he took it on at full steam, with full gusto, and never looked back. He may not have always been right, but he always gave 100 percent.”

He’d encountered countless strangers in 30 years of service in Flagler and had even managed to make a friend or two of people he’d served papers on, his brother recalled, citing Carter’s famous words about having “one life and one chance to make it count for something.” Robert then said: “Until you’ve lived Joe’s life, walked his path, suffered his pain and seen what he’d seen, I could care less about his judgments. We will forever miss the way Joe made us laugh, and we will also regret not having a chance to help him through his troubles. I choose to remember the way he laughed.”

Joe Delarosby was 50.

Several hundred people had turned up to the church, filling all four seating wings radiating out from the altar. One of the wings was filled with politicians (including constitutional officers, Circuit Judge Dennis Craig, County Judge Melissa Moore-Stens, former Sheriff Don Fleming, several county commissioners, one Bunnell city commissioner but none from Palm Coast or Flagler Beach) and firefighters-paramedics lined up to the wall. Joe’s family was up front in the middle wing. Some 60 or 70 Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies in uniform filled the wing to the right of the altar. Including, up front, toward the wall, Sheriff Jim Manfre, who the family did not want there.

Gerard Delarosby. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Gerard Delarosby. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Gerard Delarosby, Joe’s father, stunned the assembly when, speaking from the floor as the first of five eulogists, he began with words directed at Manfre, whom he never referred to as sheriff: “Is there a Mr. Manfre in the house?” Gerard Delarosby said, his voice barely audible to many in the back of the church. “Stand up and be recognized, please.” Manfre stood up. “The family wishes it to be known,” Delarosby went on, “that Mr. Manfre was not invited to attend these proceedings. He was expressly asked not to. And then here he is. It’s the arrogance of office.”

With those words, the assembly erupted in applause. Manfre stayed through the final ceremonies that followed the service but did not go to the Elks Lodge where the family had invited guests for fellowship and a meal (and where several people handed out No Manfre bumper stickers).

Joe’s wife Judy would later say to a law enforcement officer that she hadn’t known Gerard was going to speak about Manfre’s presence, but was grateful he had, a reflection of the anger that has surrounded the aftermath of Delarosby’s suicide at Heroes’ Park in Palm Coast on Oct. 7, seven weeks after he was encouraged to retire from the Sheriff’s Office because of health and other issues.

It was another reflection of the anger surrounding Delarosby’s death that when his father proposed that his colleagues at the Sheriff’s Office form a special commemorative unit to keep his son’s memory alive, He said, “this unit should not be commanded or advised by the so-called powers that be.”

Services drew numerous members of the Flagler County Sheriff's Office and members from other law enforcement agencies across the state. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Services drew numerous members of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and members from other law enforcement agencies across the state. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

“My world, my community in law enforcement is reeling,” the officer–from another agency–said, asking for anonymity. Even  Chaplain Michael Palmer alluded to anger twice in his brief introduction, addressing “those who grieve in anger” but also those who “feel anger that Joe did not seek help one more time,” and urged them to look for what he called a “supernatural peace.”

Maria Bosley, a family friend and the goddaughter of Shirley Chisholm (the late and history-making congresswoman as the first black woman elected top Congress in 1968), spoke of her family’s debt to Delarosby for many occasions, speaking of the “patience, understanding and candor” that attended his coordination of Chisholm’s services after she died in 2005 in Palm Coast.

Joe Delarosby's life markers: his service as a deputy, his camera, his backpack. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Joe Delarosby’s life markers: his service as a deputy, his camera, his backpack. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Two firefighters also spoke: Palm Coast Fire Chief Mike Beadle, and Palm Coast Firefighter-paramedic Patrick Juliano, both of whom had been close to Delarosby–Beadle remembering their friendship starting in 1988, when Beadle moved to the area. “We soon found ourselves in fire school together,” Beadle recalled. “And then something happened, Joe got tired of being a paramedic but not tired of helping people, and Joe went in to the other side as we call it, the law enforcement side. Again, I apologize,” Beadle said, turning to the wing of deputies to his left for his second of what would be three apologies for typical firefighter slights of “the other side.”

The fire chief described several on-the-job occurrences that illustrated Delarosby’s quick-thinking resourcefulness, in one case deputizing Beadle to prevent a case of vigilantism by local hunters, in another case using his paramedic training to play a key role in helping to save a car accident victim. He and Delarosby would often talk about their daughters (Delarosby had two). “We talked about the good, we talked about the bad,” Beadle said, but mostly about the blessings of “having these girls in our lives.”

Juliano, who’s usually in charge of arranging ceremonial occasions that involve the Palm Coast Fire Department and other agencies, said he had Delarosby to thank as his mentor in such things. “Today’s services are a direct tribute to his mentorship,” Juliano said, “and he’d have been especially proud that we started on time.”

Outside Flagler’s deputies and law enforcement officers from numerous other agencies across the state, at least two from as far off as Pinellas County, stood at attention for some 25 minutes before deputy James Kaphan played taps and a group playing windpipes performed “Amazing Grace,” as Delarosby’s family was walked to a pair of cars.

Juliano was the last of the eulogists, and he ended with words that would soon echo outside, as part of the traditional final call-out to the fallen: “Your job was well done, your duties have been all served. We have it from here.”

Joe Delarosby Photo Tribute at Church on the Rock Services
(With thanks to Patrick Juliano)


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49 Responses for “A Community Bids Former Deputy Joe Delarosby Farewell, Mixing Anger With Remembrance”

  1. rick says:

    Sheriff Manfre attending the service was a slap in the face of the family who expressly requested he not attend. It was single-handedly one of the most disrespectful things anyone could have done to a family that is in tremendous grief; they had but a few hours of a memorial service to pay respect to Joe. This was a disgusting distraction and interfered with the family’s moment. Sheriff Manfre you should be ashamed of yourself!

    With that said, it was otherwise a great service to a man who served his community with honor. God Speed Beak!

    P.S. FlaglerLive thank you for the excellent reporting and fact finding with regard to this whole tragedy.

  2. You can view and download images from my site here.

    I am providing these images as a public service to the community and law enforcement and the Fire service.

    Thank you Joe Delarosby for the example you gave us in life.

    • Cindy says:

      Thanks for the pictures!

    • orphan says:

      Thanks so much for the pictures, Michael.
      As I have been keeping up with this event I have continually asked myself the question: WHY?
      I don’t have an answer, but your picture #18 did me in. :(
      Again, thanks.
      I send hugs to all of the friends and family of this wonderful person, Joe Delarosby.

    • Tonya says:

      Thank you, Mr. Randazzo

      Great job!

      We all will be keeping all the family and friends in out thoughts and prayers!

  3. RJ says:

    Oft, in the Stilly Night

    Oft, in the stilly night,
    Ere slumber’s chain has bound me,
    Fond memory brings the light
    Of other days around me;
    The smiles, the tears,
    Of boyhood’s years,
    The words of love then spoken;
    The eyes that shone,
    Now dimm’d and gone,
    The cheerful hearts now broken!
    Thus, in the stilly night,
    Ere slumber’s chain hath bound me,
    Sad memory brings the light
    Of other days around me.
    When I remember all
    The friends, so link’d together,
    I’ve seen around me fall,
    Like leaves in wintry weather;
    I feel like one
    Who treads alone
    Some banquet-hall deserted,
    Whose lights are fled,
    Whose garlands dead,
    And all but he departed!
    Thus, in the stilly night,
    Ere slumber’s chain has bound me,
    Sad memory brings the light
    Of other days around me.

  4. Because I Can says:

    Joe, you never realized what you meant to so many people. You were so loved. I was too distraught to attend the ceremony, but you will remain in our hearts forever.

  5. IAmStillHere says:

    Despite Manfe’s unwelcomed presence, it was a beautiful service. Joe’s FCSO brothers and sisters did him proud. Many, many condolences to Joe’s family. To Mr. Manfre, shame on you. You couldn’t help but to try to make it your moment. Well there you go. Hope you are proud of yourself.

  6. Heading North says:

    Well said and Amen!
    Save me a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee Joe – see you when I get there someday!
    Rest in peace old friend – I will miss you!

  7. The Question says:

    Someone, please explain how this ALL is supposed to be Manfre’s fault?

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you kidding me?? Joe’s life revolved around his love for the job! Manfre took all that away from him stripping him of his passion! This community NEEDS to know the truth.

    • anonymous says:

      It’s not. But he treated Joe with enormous disrespect and failed to offer him needed assistance. Another example of how manfre just doesn’t get it, and never will. He cannot understand what the uniform means to guys like Joe .

    • Katydid says:

      Please this is not the place for such a discussion or debate. Show some respect for this family that is devastated beyond belief.

    • barbie says:

      He’s overseen the purge of older workers from the force. I am sorry that Mr. Delarosby took his life over it, but I completely understand it. Age discrimination in the workplace is rampant in this country right now, across the board, and in (I think) 2006, Congress made it harder to prove, putting the burden on the accuser, rather than making the workplace and its agents demonstrate that they’re following all workplace laws.

      In short, when you take away someone’s livelihood, you often take away their very identity. That’s especially true for men in America, where our culture pre-supposes that a man’s career is his life. It’s disgusting. Manfre, along with every other middle-management lackey told to purge the workforce of older, more experienced people, should be ashamed of himself, particularly in having the guts to show up at Delarosby’s services. That is just unbelievably arrogant, and I am glad that family called him out.

    • resident says:

      If you know anything about what has happened in the “sheriff’s” department since he was elected then you can guess. If not, look it up BEFORE the next Sheriff election
      On to my reason for being here….
      Joe was a really wonderful person, and he deserved better than what he was dealt. His father should never have had a need to have to begin his son’s eulogy in that manner.
      Shows what a disgrace Manfre really is to this county and how little respect he has for the officers who serve under him, their families, or, in fact, the residents of this community.
      God Bless Joe and his family. He was an amazing person who gave all of himself. He will never be forgotten.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would like to know also how it is Manfre fought for everything. This was suppose to be a day of Celebration not to point fingers at anyone, Joe was a person that love happiness.

    • Believe this says:

      This is in part manfre and staley’s fault because they came into office and they took Officer after officer and they disregarded all of those officers’ years of self sacrifice, of helping others, and seeing things that shouldn’t be seen and manfre/staley told those officers….your no longer wanted. Resign or be fired! The reasons varied from officer to officer but mostly they were forced into resigning because manfre/staley didn’t like them. For example….all the deputies that were active on Pollingers campaign have had to resign. Joe was one of them. Most of the officers who supported Fleming have been forced to resign or were fired. Lives…families…destroyed. Good officers with years of training and experience….thrown to the side. That is why!!

    • HonkeyDude says:

      I’m sorry.
      Even with certain laws, ignorance is not a factor or defence.
      So don’t play ignorant.
      My elementary aged child knows how to do his own research.
      But adults who vote for sheriffs don’t. Or don’t remember.

    • Just a thought says:

      Simple. He had some emotional issues he was dealing with. Rather then help him through the programs already in place to help employees with those problems, Manfre told Joe he needs to retire or he will be fired. So Joe retired and was no longer eligible for the benefits or programs. That’s how it’s Manfre’s fault.

    • Michael says:

      He is a complete egomaniac; it is all about him and his stature as Sherriff. If he forced the man into retirement instead of offering him the EOA (employee assistance program) then he is full responsible for the action taken by the victim. Manfre was asked not to attend, but his ego is bigger than he will ever be. He was a failure the first time in office and shame on people for voting him back in. He believes he is above reproach on any matter, he can fire and bully employees any time he feels like it. Take away his badge (which he does not even deserve to wear) and he is your typical little man syndrome bully because he has power in his position.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would also like to know what Manfre had to do with this. Who writes this stuff?

    • carol bennett says:

      It is not, Manfre job is to lead his department as best he can do in the best interest of the public’s tax dollars. The department needs to operate efficiently. The Delarosby family thinks that the Sheriff office is a charitable office and should maintain/support officers that cannot meet their duties. We need to be real and especially when you live off tax dollars. If you can’t do your job, sorry to say but, you must move on and do something else. We need more Manfres in government.

    • Save our Officers says:

      I asked the same question. Unfortunately, until they get professional counseling the need is there to blame someone.

      I blamed myself for my Mother’s death, in that ha I called her an hour earlier she would have not gone through with it. (Also, there was a 6 month murder investigation prior to FDLE closing it as a suicide. I still struggle with what happened. It was exactly like Joe took his life. :-(. )

      Our community should continue to pray and support this family no matter what. Suicide of a loved one can destroy those left behind….

      Be gentle with words is all I can say to our community. RIP Joe!

  8. Jen says:

    Mr Manfre with his smug look at a service he was asked to not attend. Knows what he did and continues to do. He will have to answer for his actions one day.

  9. Outsider says:

    While I have never met Deputy Delarosby, it is obvious he touched many lives in positive ways. My thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family.

  10. Johnny Taxpayer says:

    It certainly is not Manfre’s fault, (mismanagement of the Sheriffs office aside, nobody makes another take their own life). but if the family asked him not to be there, and he showed up anyway, that’s extremely poor taste.

  11. Alex Lugano says:

    Praying that great memories of this exemplary deputy and man bring comfort to the grieving family. May the community always remember and honor his memory. And may karma get the person responsible for ruining the lives of so many officers who served our community so well.

  12. sophocles says:

    anger, guilt, and grief are not a good combination – may all involved find peace

  13. EJ says:

    I thought it was awesome when Deputy Delarosby’s father asked Manfre to stand up and publicly humiliate him (although, he does a pretty good job of doing it to himself on a daily basis) Manfre has single handedly caused major turmoil in the sheriff’s department and he is a disgrace to what the badge stands for. The service today was very nice and the turnout was excellent with hundreds of people. Deputy Delarosby was a great servant for this community and the presence today showed that was evident. One last thing, I saw it was noted that Manfre did not attend the Elks lodge for the meal after the service. Was he at Outback for a steak lunch on the department’s credit card?

  14. Michael Van Buren says:

    I promised myself a while ago that I would stop posting on Flagler Live. I spoke the truth; about what needed to be said; however my family would eventually suffer as I have already been “talked to” about speaking out about the current FCSO administration on facebook. After reading the last comments in the Daytona Beach News Journal, I have lost all respect that that I have ever had for this administration. Sheriff Manfre has preached ethics and integrity, from the start…… however the only ethics and integrity I have seen so far has been from the employees let go by this administration.

    For Sheriff Manfre to say he was not informed about the family’s decision to not attend Joe’s service is a flat, bold lie. I personally relayed the message to Sr. Commander Cole after several meetings with Joe’s wife. That message was delivered to the Sheriff and it came back down the chain of command as I was asked about it on Friday, October 10th when I had a follow-up meeting about the funeral arrangements by the Undersheriff. I agreed bring up the manner again with Judy even though I knew that Manfre was coming regardless.

    I stressed to both sides that the story to be told needed to be about Joe. Not about the Sheriff, and not about if the Sheriff attended or not. Did I know what Joe’s Dad would say at the service? Absolutely not. Do I disagree with him? Not in the least.

    Joe had his demons. But his heart was always in the right place. There were options available that probably would have saved his career and his life. Let’s hope Manfre can finish his term and collect his retirement after 8 years of “honorable service”. That’s more than Joe got.

  15. Joe says:

    God Bless and God Speed my brother.

  16. confidential says:

    Perfectly asked Question!! How is this blame thrown to the current sheriff? Could he have commit by force the Sargent to a much needed rehab center, after his wife and daughter call for help….? I don’t believe so. And if so maybe the outcome would have been sadly the same.

  17. Save our Officers says:

    Totally classless and par for Falger County.

    My Mother, a first responder, committed suicide almost 3 years ago. She saved many lives, talked people out of suicide, listened as those committed suicide unable to help and also worked hurricanes, fires ect!

    I can tell you that Joe was ready, he had a plan and there wasn’t anything that could be done. But accusing and acknowledging your anger towards Manfre is going to cause you great grief. It will eat you alive to point fingers and accuse anyone. Joe took his own life.

    I’m sickened by the lack of respect and class, and you should be ashamed of your actions. You have no idea the pain you will endure in the coming months. For Joe’s daughter, She will be forever affected. Losing a parent is horrific pain. The what if’s and why’s never get answered.

    Make peace in your community. Anger is a normal emotion to suicide, but expressing it at the expense of Manfre is not going to ease your pain.

    Praying for this family… End your bitterness, forgive quickly, love and be loved. Seek immediatel counseling for victims of suicide and don’t forget Joe loved you!!!! He just had a mental illness that was too strong to climb out of, he felt it was the only way out.

  18. lena Marshal says:

    One of the nicest guys on the forces, always helped.

  19. Charles "Bub" Robson says:

    If you haven’t been a cop, you would not understand. All cops were once civilians so we know what its like to be a civilian. So rest in peace Joe, the community and the THIN BLUE LINE will not forget you.

    • John Smallberries says:

      All cops are *still* civilians.

      • anonymous says:

        And yet they’re treated like they’re part of “big government.”…makes you wonder where “us vs them” comes from. They are civilians when it’s convenient, but government when the civilians need a scape goat… what category do they really belong?

        RIP Joe

        • John Smallberries says:

          It’s my understanding that the rift between police and the people that they police began with air conditioning in police vehicles. It’s much nicer to sit on your ass in the AC than actually get out of it and meet the people whose presumed safety you are responsible for on a daily basis. Maybe you should try actually doing that so that the rift will close, because from what I’ve read about Mr. Delarosby, it seems like he was the sort of cop to do exactly that. Also, newsflash: when police are actually held accountable for their actions, which is almost never, it’s not called “being a scapegoat.”

  20. John F. Pollinger says:

    In addition to the video I prepared for the family at the services, with Judy Delarosby’s permission, I have also produced a slightly different video which I hope by watching, brings a measure of comfort and solace to all who knew Joe.

  21. confidential says:

    The witch hunt of Sheriff Manfre here, is obvious as well
    Our two current elected constitutional officials unfairly accused of baseless, bogus and frivolous actions!

    • Outsider says:

      When the truth comes out, even you will have to agree that his call for help went unanswered. Maybe then we will get a recall vote, or removal by the governor.

  22. RANDY D CAULEY says:

    this message is in response to carrol bennett’s comment. how dare you speak the words you have spoken. and yes i do agree if you cant do you job then find something else to do. with that being said so call sheriff manfre should be looking for another means of employment because it is obvious he cant do the one he has now. i was fortunate enough to have met joe during bike week 1996 and became instant friends with him and every year during bike week and biketoberfest i made sure i got in touch with joe. if flagler county sheriff”s dept had more joe delarosby’s in their dept (which they do), i for one feel safer knowing they are protecting us. and as for the comment that JOHN SMALLBERRIES left, i’d like to see you even try to wear a pair of shoes that joe has worn. it seems your last name fits you very well because it sounds to me like that’s what you have for a pair (smallberries). sounds like you and manfre are buddies, i’m just wondering how much it cost him for your vote to become sheriff. thank you to the men and women at the fcsd who stood by and supported their brother joe delarosby. we will forever miss you joe and we loved you! RIP.
    randy and brenda.

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