Lewis H. Stehr, Chief of Police, Dies Suddenly

Camden Morning Post – December 11, 1930

Head of Camden Force Succumbs to Heart Disease in Cooper Hospital

City Flags Ordered At Half-Staff for Month

Body to Lie in State Friday Night; Final Rites at 2 P.M. Saturday

Funeral rites for Chief of Police Lewis H. Stehr, who died suddenly at 11.30 a.m. yesterday in Cooper Hospital, will be conducted at 2 pm on Saturday.

The body will lie in state between 7 and 10 pm on Friday at Schroeder chapel, Broadway and Royden streets, where the funeral services will be conducted.

Burial will be in Harleigh Cemtery.

The Camden police official, who lived at 621 Chestnut street, had been in the hospital since December 1, suffering from heart and kidney trouble. He suffered and earlier heart attack last April.

Chief Stehr’s death was unexpected, although his condition had been considered grave. He had just asked a nurse what time it was and collapsed as she answered. The nurse, alarmed, summoned a physician, who pronounced him dead.

Chief Stehr, the son of the late Lewis Stehr, city assessor, was 58, and is survived by his widow, Mrs. Anna Stehr. They had no children.

Mrs. Stehr had been at the bedside of her husband constantly since he was stricken Thanksgiving Day. Yesterday nurses assured her her husband’s condition was unchanged and she was making Christmas purchases at Chief Stehr’s request when he died.

Won Several Promotions

The chief was born into the Fifth ward and later moved to the Sixth ward. He was first appointed to the police force as a patrolman on July 1, 1905. His record was one of a steady rise. He was named a sergeant August 1, 1912, and on Feb. 15, 1916 was appointed a captain. He served as commander of the Second District.

On June 23, 1927, Stehr was elevated to the post of police inspector, holding that rank until July 1, 1923 , when he was appointed police chief exactly 23 years after he became a policeman. The appointment was made by Dr. David S. Rhone, director of public safety.

“At the present time Major Dickinson will be in charge of the police department until a temporary chief of police is appointed,” Dr. Rhone stated.

Rhone Expresses Sorrow

Dr. Rhone expressed profound regret when he learned of the chief’s death. He said he and Chief Stehr had been personal friends for years. He noticed, he said, that Chief Stehr was failing in health after the heart attack last spring. Recently, the chief appeared to be in such poor health that his physician, Dr. H. S. Riddle, ordered him to a hospital for a rest.

Dr. Rhone stated that he appointed Major Charles V. Dickinson as deputy director of public safety to take over some of the duties attendant to the office of chief of police, in order to relieve Chief Stehr of some of the pressure of his work, so that his health would not further be impaired.

The decedent was an active member of the Sixth Ward Republican Club and was well liked not only by members of the police force but throughout the city.

Mayor Expresses Sorrow

Mayor Price issued the following statement:

“I was very greatly shocked to learn of the death of Chief Stehr. While I understood he was in serious physical condition, I did not anticipate his death.

“Chief Stehr had devoted practically his entire lifetime to the service of the city, having entered the police department in his early youth, and is entitled to the commendation of his fellow citizens for his efforts in the public service.”

Commissioner Frank B. Hanna, when apprised of the police chief’s death, said:

“The news of Chief Stehr’s death was a terrible shock. I feel a personal loss, as we were close friends. I knew him since I was a young boy, and our contacts in the past two years were most pleasant.”

Prosecutor Cifford A. Baldwin declared:

“The suddenness of the death of Chief Stehr comes as a shock to those of his friends who were wishing him well in his illness. His passing naturally causes grief to those whose work brought them into close contact with him.”

City Commissioner Clay W. Reesman said:

“The passing of Chief Stehr is a great loss to the community. We were all hoping that Chief Stehr was on the road to recovery and only several days ago when I inquired at the hospital, I learned that his condition was greatly improved. His sudden passing is a terrible shock.”

City officials last night ordered all flags lowered to half mast on all police stations for 30 days. Deputy Director Dickinson and Captain Arthur Colsey today will convey to Mrs. Stehr the police department’s official condolence.

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