Ex-policeman John J. Cullen, Standout In Motorcycle Unit

Posted: August 18, 1986

Former Mayor Frank L. Rizzo remembers John J. Cullen as one of those ''outstanding police officers who did his job well."

Cullen, a retired Philadelphia police officer and an original member of the department's motorcycle drill team, died Friday. He was 62 and lived in South Philadelphia.

Rizzo, a former police commissioner, said he knew Cullen when he became one of the first members of the city's new highway patrol motorcycle unit in the early 1950s. In addition to their patrol duties, many members of the unit perform at the annual Hero Scholarship Thrill Show.

"He was one of the outstanding guys," Rizzo said. "You know who they are and you remember them."

Cullen was an officer for 15 years until he suffered a serious back injury in an accident. He retired in 1967 after earning 22 departmental commendations.

His son, Dennis, who is also a Philadelphia police officer, said one of his father's fondest memories was serving in the security detail when John F. Kennedy was campaigning for president in Philadelphia.

Cullen said his father was an advance man for the police and laid out the routes that enabled Kennedy to hit many of the city's neighborhoods while being escorted by the motorcycle unit.

Kennedy was so impressed by Cullen's work, his son said, that he gave him an official commendation for his work and a PT boat tie pin, which his father continued to wear. Kennedy was a PT boat skipper during World War II.

Cullen added that after Kennedy won the election, the president invited the motorcycle unit to his inaugural and gave a personal invitation to his father.

''Although he later became a Republican, Dad was a great admirer of men like Kennedy and Harry Truman," said Cullen. "He recognized them as being generous to the working man and Dad had that type of attitude."

Cullen served on the boards of Lodge 5 of the Fraternal Order of Police and the Emerald Society. He was past president of the League of the Scared Heart, former commander of the Municipal War Veterans and a member of the Retired Police, Fire and Park Guards Association.

He was also a Republican committeeman in South Philadelphia's 39th Ward and last November was elected judge of elections.

Cullen served in the Navy during World War II and was aboard the battleship USS Missouri when the Japanese surrendered in Tokyo Bay in 1945.

He worked briefly at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard before joining the police force, where, in addition to his son, many nephews and other relatives joined him.

His brother Raymond is also a retired police officer.

Another brother, William, is secretary-treasurer of the International Longshoresmen's Association.

Cullen also is survived by his wife, the former Marguerite Reilly; two other sons, John Jr. and James; two daughters, Marguerite McBride and Lisa Marie; and six grandchildren.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, 3rd and Reed streets. Burial will be in Holy Cross Cemetery, Yeadon, Delaware County. Friends may call from 7 to 9 p.m. tomorrow at the Rogers Funeral Home, 3rd Street near Reed.


Thomas L. Morrison, a well-known and respected softball umpire, died Friday. He was 46 and lived in Chester.

Morrison umpired state softball championships and games of the now-defunct Professional Softball League that were played at Veterans Stadium. He was noted for his expertise in umpiring fast-pitch softball games.

He was an official in the Southwest Delco Umpires Association and the Amateur Softball Association of Pennsylvania, District 6, and was a star player for 16 years in the Chester Major Fast Pitch League.

Morrison worked as a pipefitter for Allied Chemical Co. in Trainer, Delaware County, and was a former president of the United Steelworkers Local 13866.

He is survived by his wife, the former Kathleen Farnan; two sons, Thomas L. and David W.; and a granddaughter.

A memorial service will be held at 7 tonight at the Nolan-Fidale Funeral Home, 2316 Providence Ave., Chester.


Samuel A. Baron, who operated a real estate office on Girard Avenue near Front Street for 42 years, died Saturday. He was 86.

Baron was a real-estate broker for more than 50 years and ran his real- estate office until he suffered a stroke a week ago.

He came to the United States in 1905 from Kolk, Russia, to join his father, Jacob, in running a chicken store near 2nd and Thompson streets.

Baron graduated from Central High School and attended the University of Pennsylvania.

He was an active member of the Elks, the Masons, the Shriners, the Golden Slipper Square Club and B'nai B'rith, which honored him for his efforts in selling Israel bonds.

Baron also was a life member of the eastern Montgomery County and national real estate boards, which cited him for more than 50 years of meritorious service as a real estate broker.

Surviving is his wife of 56 years, the former Rose Bailinky; two daughters, Greta Bess Cohen and Sybel Meyer; a son, Charles H.; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Services were yesterday.

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