By Paul Tennant
---- — NORTH ANDOVER — The death of longtime police Sgt. Thomas “T.J.” McEvoy yesterday jolted North Andover residents with disbelief.
McEvoy, 60, a veteran police officer with 30 years of service to the town, had just retired a few weeks ago. He died of natural causes.
“The station was very quiet today,” said police Chief Paul Gallagher, who called McEvoy “an invaluable member of the force.”
“He enjoyed being a mentor to younger officers,” Gallagher said.
After McEvoy retired, he volunteered his time as a special police officer, the chief said, and was directing traffic at the North Andover Merchants Association’s Fall Festival last weekend.
“We offer our condolences and prayers to the McEvoy family,” Gallagher said.
“It’s a very sad, tragic day for North Andover,” selectmen Chairwoman Rosemary Connelly Smedile said. “He will be missed by all who knew him.”
Like other members of his family, McEvoy was “truly dedicated to the town,” Smedile said, noting that his father, Thomas McEvoy, served as a selectman. The elder Thomas McEvoy and his brother, William McEvoy, for whom McEvoy Park is named, were both involved in founding a youth sports boosters club, she said.
McEvoy’s brother, John McEvoy, also recently retired from the Police Department. Their mother, Irene McEvoy, is a longtime worker at the polls during elections.
Smedile and her colleague, Selectman Donald Stewart, both mentioned McEvoy’s frequent presence on road details. He did more than just stand there, both selectmen said. He made sure conditions around the work site were safe, they said.
“He worked details in all kinds of weather and worked them hard,” Smedile said.
“He was a policeman’s policeman,” Stewart said. “He was always fair.”
Stewart, first elected to the Board of Selectmen in 1991, said he had “nothing but good things to say about T.J.”
“He treated everybody with respect,” Stewart said. “He was just so professional.”