St. John Cemetery in Middle Village is the location of the grave of Captain Thomas G. Abbey, WWII hero pilot and NYPD veteran whose story was detailed in the last Juniper Berry. On Saturday, September 17, a ceremony was held under the direction of the NYPD Ceremonial Unit to honor his life of service to the people of NYC and the USA. The event was coordinated by Newtown Historical Society, Juniper Park Civic Association and co-sponsored by Haspel-Staab VFW Post, Council Member Robert Holden, Enchanted Florist, and the Blue Knights Motorcycle Club. Honored guests in attendance included Inspector Sylvester Ge, Commander of NYPD Highway 2, Deputy Inspector Kevin Coleman, Commander of the 104th Pct and Pat Lynch, President of the NYC Police Benevolent Association. Vincent Tomeo read his poetry as part of the ceremony. Afterward, an honorific street sign dedicated to Capt. Abbey was unveiled at the corner of 82nd Place and 64th Street. Replicas of the sign were produced for the VFW, NYPD Highway 2 and the Abbey family, who were unable to attend. At the conclusion of the event, a community service award was presented by JPCA President Tony Nunziato to PO Fadi Albishara of Highway 2, for saving a kitten on the Kosciuszko Bridge on July 4th. Pastry refreshments were donated for the event by Continental Bakery of Maspeth. Photos by Kevin Ryan and NYPD.
Robert F. Holden, Council Member of the 30th District, is proud to join the Middle Village community in honoring the life and indelible memory of Captain Thomas G. Abbey for his outstanding service and enduring contributions to the community; and
WHEREAS: Public service is a noble calling, a sense of being drawn towards serving others and giving back to the community. On this occasion, we are proud to remember and pay tribute to a man who truly embodied faith and service, as well as the generous spirit behind them; and
WHEREAS: Captain Thomas G. Abbey served in the First World War at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in North Chicago. After the war, he participated in the rescue of Jimmy Mattern, who, after being forced down on a round-the-world flight, was found in a remote village in Siberia; and
WHEREAS: During the Second World War, although then-Mayor LaGuardia had requested that New York City Police Officers and Fire Fighters receive draft deferments, Captain Abbey, whose skill as a pilot was publicly recognized by the Mayor, was released from the NYPD to serve in the military; and
WHEREAS: Captain Abbey, whose World War II service began as Chief Instructor for new Army Airforce pilots at a base in Florida, had the enormous responsibility of training a new generation of Army Airforce pilots to fly and to fight; and
WHEREAS: Captain Abbey was the first casualty for the NYPD. Following his time training new pilots, he set up numerous airfields in remote areas of South America for the Rubber Development Corporation. Rubber was a vital material resource for the war effort. He died in search of another missing pilot; and
WHEREAS: Captain Abbey’s life was totally dedicated to public service. He served his country in two World Wars and his city as a Police Officer, ultimately giving his life for his country. Although his contributions in the Second World War are seen in the countless aviators whom he trained to fight overseas and his sacrifice to the war effort, his outstanding dedication to service and his embodiment of the American spirit are what we most fondly remember and honor; now, therefore
BE IT KNOWN: That with the Middle Village Community, Robert F. Holden, Council Member of the 30th District, is proud to honor the life and memory of this great New Yorker and declares that 82nd Place between 64th Road and Furmanville Avenue is hereby co-named as
Captain Thomas G. Abbey Place
in gratitude of his outstanding service and enduring contributions to his fellow New Yorkers.
Signed this 17th day of September in the year Twenty Twenty-Two.
ROBERT F. HOLDEN
Council Member, 30th District