William D. Koehnlein of Lady Lake, Florida, a former longtime resident of Montclair and a retired Essex County police officer whose beat included Brookdale Park, died on Aug. 26, 2023. He was 76.
Mr. Koehnlein was born in 1947 to William “Biggy” Koehnlein and Elizabeth “Betty” Koehnlein and raised with his three brothers in Montclair.
He was a passionate patriot who served in Vietnam in the 1960s. In his 20s and 30s, he was a jack-of-all-trades, working successfully as a carpenter, glazier, master plumber, mechanic and more.
Mr. Koehnlein found his passion in the 1980s, when he began working for the Essex County Police Department. He worked on the SWAT team as a sniper for several years and became a patrol officer.
He was known as “The Candy Cop” in Brookdale Park, as he always carried candy in his hat to promote connections to the community. His easygoing nature and dedication to avoiding violence while working made him the go-to officer for cases involving children or those suffering from mental illness.
Mr. Koehnlein was well-known in the community as someone who would always lend a hand to those in need, and who often did low-cost or free plumbing work for senior citizens.
His hobbies included keeping large flower and vegetable gardens and cooking delicious meals for his friends and family, often with ingredients he grew himself. He also enjoyed swimming with his daughter, spending time with his pets and taking trips to Maine to relax in nature.
Mr. Koehnlein was a dedicated father to his daughter and loving “Uncle Billy” to his nieces and nephews.
He is survived by his daughter, Tracie; brothers, Michael and Arthur; sister-in-law, Mary Ann; nephews, Chris, Peter, Mark, Doug and A.J.; nieces, Janine and Emily, and several grand-nieces and grand-nephews. He was predeceased by his parents and by his brother, Karl.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Sept. 16, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Caggiano Memorial Home for Funerals, 62 Grove St.