Kent State police officer dies of stroke

Cody Francis

32-year veteran remembered as a mentor on police force

Lt. Thomas S. Etcher, 54, of the Kent State University Police Department, died Jan. 16 due to complications from a stroke. Etcher suffered the stroke while at work on Monday, Jan. 5.

He was a member of the KSUPD for 32 years and a resident of Stow for 45 years. Etcher is survived by his wife of 31 years, Linda; sons, Matthew of Hampton, Va. and Kyle of Streetsboro; daughter Meredith Beesing and her husband Don of Suffolk, Va.; grandson, David Beesing; sister, Patricia Wolfe and her husband Mark of Richmond, Va. and brother, John Etcher and his wife Philinda of Yorktown, Va.

His youngest son, Kyle, is currently enrolled in the Kent State Police Academy.

Etcher was a “mentor to most officers” at the KSUPD, said Lt. Paula Rossi, also of the KSUPD.

“He was like everyone’s dad or big brother,” Rossi said. “He was so supportive and always there for everyone.”

Alice Ickes, a former KSUPD crime prevention officer, said she enjoyed working alongside Etcher.

“It was a joy and a privilege working for him,” Ickes said. “He really treated people well. I certainly think that was his hallmark.”

Rossi spoke highly of Etcher’s ability as a police officer.

“He was a take charge kind of guy,” he said. ” He was a great cop and was just able to communicate with people so well.”

Rossi said Etcher and his wife were big supporters of Kent State athletics, regularly attending sporting events, including many volleyball games.

“We are all just going to miss him so much,” Rossi said.

Contact safety reporter Cody Francis at [email protected].