22-year Mass. veteran dies on duty

Brother, friend gone too soon
By David Perry 
Lowell Sun

TYNGSBORO, Mass. — He was a cop brother officers looked up to. A veteran. He had your back on the late-night shift.

Tyngsboro police senior patrolman John "Jack" Georges worked tirelessly to keep the town safe and provide for his family.

A 22-year veteran of the force, active on the union's executive board, he trained plenty of Tyngsboro's police.

Including the acting chief.

But yesterday morning, something wasn't right with Georges during the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift he'd worked nearly his entire career. At 6:18 a.m., he called dispatch for an ambulance in the police station's parking lot. Georges' fellow officers responded alongside medical personnel. They couldn't save him.

Georges, 48, was pronounced dead at Lowell General Hospital. The state Medical Examiner's Office was scheduled to perform an autopsy today.

A lifelong Dunstable resident whose family's roots run deep there, he leaves a wife, Kathy, and three children, 14-year-old twins Peter and Jennifer, and a 9-year-old daughter, Nicole. He is survived by his parents and four siblings, including a younger brother, Steve, a fellow Tyngsboro police officer who worked alongside him nights. His father is Peter Georges, Dunstable's veterans agent.

Yesterday, Georges' fellow officers' voices -- low, soft and near breaking -- conveyed the color of the day at the station on Westford Road -- black.

Officer Ron Goulet said the mood on the force was "very solemn, to say the least. Everybody's devastated."

They described a deeply devoted family man who worked double shifts to provide for his wife and children. A guy who loved his trailer at York Beach in Maine. A guy who set an example in the dark of night and around the station.

"Jack Georges was the real deal," said Tyngsboro Selectman Kevin O'Connor, a longtime friend of the family. "A good employee, a consummate gentleman and he was family-oriented like no one I've ever seen. Totally devoted to his parents as well as his wife and kids."

"He trained me," said Acting Chief Richard Burrows, a rookie 21 years ago. "And he trained me well.

"He had a lot of common sense. You can give people all kinds of degrees, but you can't teach common sense. Jack loved police work and there was always somebody looking to him for advice. He was a conscientious and very hard-working officer."

Burrows found 10 commendations in Georges' file yesterday. Apprehending a wanted fugitive, preventing a burglary, responding to housebreaks ...

"A little of everything," said Burrows.

Georges served in the Marine Reserves and earned a degree in criminal justice from Western New England College.

He was among the first to sign up for police details that began after his regular shift ended. He was scheduled to work one of the precincts in the town's elections yesterday.

A leaky pipe? Your toilet running? It might as well be a burglar -- Jack would drop everything to shut it down.

He was "quite handy, good with odd jobs," said Burrows. "If there was a problem at your house, especially with the plumbing, it was always, 'I'll be right over.' "

Beginning in 2004, he worked as a K-9 officer, and was a member of the North East Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council.

Budget cuts eliminated the K-9 position, "and Jack was disappointed, but he understood," said O'Connor. "Better to eliminate an animal's job than someone putting bread on the table for his family."

"The hardest-working guy around," said Officer Goulet.

On Dec. 19, 2005, Georges and Goulet were commended by the town for "dedication, commitment and professionalism" by Tyngsboro selectmen for saving the life of an accident victim who was trapped inside his burning car a couple weeks earlier.

Goulet says Georges was "a big family guy" who sometimes stretched himself to work his regular shift, a detail and make it to his kids' soccer practice.

Georges played third base on the department's softball team, worked the station for donations for youth sports and, along with his family, worked faithfully as a server at the annual St. Patrick's Day corned-beef dinner at the Sportsman's Club in Tyngsboro.

"I looked up to him," said Goulet, 36. "Any questions, he was the guy. He'd seen everything and knew how things worked."

Burrows recalls working a shift one night years ago when a trailer was stolen.

"It was up by the mall, when trailers were up there."

Officers tracked the stolen trailer to Dunstable.

When they caught up, Burrows looked over to see a guy in shorts with a revolver drawn.

"It was Jack," said Burrows. "He wasn't on duty yet, but he heard the call and showed up."

Burrows isn't looking forward to filling out next week's schedule.

"I think it'lI really hit me when I go to do that and his name isn't there."

Calling hours are at Dolan Funeral Home on Middlesex Street in Chelmsford on Friday, from 1 to 3 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m.

A funeral will be held at Tyngsboro High School at 10 a.m. Saturday. Georges will be buried in Dunstable. 

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