A memorial service for Washington State Patrol Trooper Sean O'Connell Jr., who was killed in a motorcycle collision on May 31 while directing traffic, will be held Saturday at St. Peter of Alcantara in Port Washington.
Raised in North Babylon, O'Connell, 38, settled in Washington state because that was where the Navy veteran's ship, the USS Abraham Lincoln, was stationed, said his father, Sean O'Connell Sr., of Hampton Bays.
"He met a girl on a blind date and the rest is history," O'Connell said. "I went out there and said, 'You're supposed to come home when you get out of the Navy.' "
Instead, his son took the exam for the State Patrol.
"He graduated No. 1 overall; he was an accomplished guy," said his father, former principal at the St. Peter of Alcantara School.
O'Connell Jr., who enlisted in the Navy after graduating from high school, served more than four years. After being stationed in Japan, he became an aviation boatswain's mate aboard the Lincoln, an aircraft carrier based in Bremerton, Wash.
When he later became a trooper, he fell in love with the job, telling his partners, "I can't believe I get paid to do this."
He treated everyone he arrested with respect, his father said.
O'Connell, a Lake Stevens, Wash., resident, was a trooper for 16 years. The fatal collision occurred near the Canadian border, where traffic had to be rerouted due to a bridge collapse. O'Connell was married, with an 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.
Thousands of officers, troopers, deputies and Mounties from around the United States and Canada honored O'Connell at his funeral on June 6. The memorial service began with a 13-mile procession along Interstate 5.
Besides his father, O'Connell is survived by his mother, Diane Tufaro of Sharon, Conn.; his wife, Alissa; son Kian; daughter Miley; and brother Francis of Arlington, Va.
A funeral Mass is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at the church, 1327 Port Washington Blvd.