North Andover, MA — One of the town's most popular characters, Thomas "T.J." McEvoy, 60, passed away in his sleep at his home in Bradford on Thursday.
T.J. was born and educated in North Andover schools, and was the son of Irene McEvoy and the late Thomas McEvoy. He later attended UMass-Amherst, before getting his teaching degree at Salem State University, then his master's degree in criminal justice at Anna Maria College in Paxton, Mass.
Around town, he was known for his police work and approachable personality. He spent 33 years on the North Andover Police force, and the last quarter-century as a sergeant. Even as a police officer, he was known for his kindness, particularly to those in need.
T.J. spent countless hours helping and advising many residents with problems, some relating to the law.
One of T.J's passions was sports, particularly basketball. A captain on the North Andover High basketball team, he later became a top official of the sport and refereed games in the Merrimack Valley Christmas Tournament and the boys state high school tournament.
"He loved refereeing," said longtime, local official and North Andover native, Bill Boutilier. "He really loved mentoring young kids coming along.
"Some of us would call him 'Technical T,' because he didn't take anything," said Boutilier. "He brought a cop's mentality to the game. But he was always a gentlemen and would always warn them first. I told him 'You never met a technical you didn't like.'"
Another passion of T.J.'s was golf. In fact, after he retired in May, he started working part-time in the pro shop at North Andover Country Club, assisting his friend and head pro, Peter Farley. T.J. played golf regularly in the spring, summer and fall. In fact, he considered becoming a golf superintendent in college before deciding to get into criminal justice.
T.J. was a big force in introducing the sport to his nephew, Liam McEvoy, who plays on the North Andover High golf team.
T.J. was also devoted to his family, eating dinner with his mother at least five days a week, and spending many hours helping his children, two of whom live locally in North Andover.
"If we ever had something wrong at the house, he always had a guy who could come fix it," said T.J.'s daughter, Jill Dufresne.
T.J. was very close to his only brother, Jack McEvoy, who also recently retired from the North Andover Police Dept.
"We have different personalities but we were best friends," said Jack. "I can't tell you how many hours I was up with him talking about everything. He was an incredible brother and an incredible son."
T.J. loved being an officer in North Andover. After retirement, he remained on as a special duty officer and continued to do road details, usually in a busy part of town.
He would tell friends, "I always think they got it wrong when they say a policeman's job is, 'to protect and to serve.' It should be, 'to serve and to protect.' I've always believed our job was to serve the community first and foremost."
Most people that knew T.J. didn't know that he was not only a Eucharistic Minister for St. Michael's, but almost every Saturday morning he would bring Communion to patients at Lawrence General Hospital.
T.J. was predeceased by his father, Thomas McEvoy; aunts and uncles Bill, Frank and Rose McEvoy; and brother-in-law, Stanley Hesketh Jr.
He is survived by mother, Irene McEvoy; brother, Jack McEvoy; and sister, Susan Hesketh, of Pennsylvania; children, Tommy McEvoy and wife, Stephanie, Brian McEvoy, and Jill Dufresne and husband, Andy, all of North Andover; nieces and nephews, Danny, Sarah, Matt, and Katie Hesketh and Kaila and Liam McEvoy; nine grandnieces and grandnephews; and many many friends.
"I honestly doubt that you could find anyone that he knew that he didn't do a favor for," said Boutilier. "No matter what you needed, whether it was your driveway plowed during a snowstorm, or a kid that needed a ride somewhere, he would do it ... T.J. was one of the best."
ARRANGEMENTS: Calling hours will be on Monday, from 4 to 8 p.m., at St. Michael Parish. There will be a funeral Mass on Tuesday, at 11 a.m., at St. Michael Parish. Burial will be private.
To leave condolences, please visit www.contefuneralhomes.com.