Law enforcement mourning death of one of own

Published 5:30 am Thursday, October 21, 2004

By By JAN GRIFFEY / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Niles City Police officers are mourning the loss of one of their own.
Russell "Billy" York, a dispatcher for the city police department since 1983, died Monday evening after suffering from a brief illness.
York collapsed at his home on Sept. 24, unable to breathe, only a day after he was honored by his friends and co-workers with a 50th birthday party at the city police department.
Niles City Police Chief Ric Huff said York spent the last four weeks battling a lung infection that claimed his life on Monday.
However, his job as a dispatcher in 1983 was not his first involvement with the city's police department.
York was first employed by the city as a reserve police officer in 1976 and successfully completed the reserve police officer training academy. In 1977, York attended the police academy at Lake Michigan College and worked as a police officer for the Stevensville Police Department from 1977 to 1978.
York returned to the city in 1978, serving again as a reserve officer until 1992.
York earned the 911 Dispatcher of the Year Award in 1993, the Department Commendation in 1996, the Live Saving Award in 1998, the 911 Dispatcher of the Year Award in 1999, the 911 Outstanding Dispatcher Award in 2000, the Commander's Commendation Letter in 2001, the 911 Outstanding Dispatcher Award in 2002, and the 911 Outstanding Dispatcher Award in 2003, Huff said.
Funeral services for York are are Friday at 2 p.m. at Michiana Christian Embassy Church, 1922 E. Main St., Niles, by Pastor Jeffrey L. Whittaker of Michiana Christian Embassy and the Rev. Scott Riggenbach and the Rev. Charles D. Stanley, chaplains for Niles City Police Department. Burial will follow at Mission Hills Cemetery on M-51, following the service.
A meal will be served at the police department following the services, Huff said.
Friends may call at Halbritter's Funeral Home today from 2 to 4 p.m. Halbritter Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
York was born Sept. 23, 1954, in Niles, and was a lifetime resident. On Oct. 9, 1982, in Niles, he married Sherry L. Grahl, who survives.
Survivors, in addition to his wife, include one son, Jason Michael York; his mother, Barbara Ann York of Niles and his father, Russell J. York of Niles; one brother, Rodney M. York of Niles; one step-sister, Bonnie Marie Thomas of Niles; and one step-brother, Jeffery L. Makepeace of Niles. York was preceded in death by one step-brother, LaVerne Harold Makepeace.