John W. Brigham, 82, Phila. police officer

John W. Brigham
John W. Brigham
Posted: March 08, 2014

John W. Brigham, 82, of Cinnaminson, a Philadelphia police officer from December 1965 to May 1984, died Friday, Feb. 28, of complications from Alzheimer's disease at a daughter's home in Swedesboro.

"Most of his career was at the Police Administration Building," working in the radio room when it was staffed mostly by officers rather than civilians, said his wife, Dorothy.

Mr. Brigham grew up in Kensington and, his wife said, left civilian life during the Korean War.

"He said our country was at war," she said, "and that's where he belonged."

Mr. Brigham spent much of his military service, from 1951 to 1954, as a gunner's mate on the destroyer-minesweeper Rodman as it patrolled the Mediterranean Sea.

About 10 o'clock on the night of April 26, 1952, the Rodman and the destroyer-minesweeper Hobson were accompanying the aircraft carrier Wasp on maneuvers west of the Azores, according to the website

The Wasp turned into the wind to receive returning aircraft. The Hobson crossed its path and was cut in two, losing most of its crew of more than 200.

"He often talked about" the tragedy, Mr. Brigham's wife said. "John's ship picked up 12. Two men he pulled out himself."

When he returned to civilian life, she said, "he worked at a lot of small jobs" after the firm at which he was a machinist moved out of state.

"He delivered milk, he was a limo driver," she said, "and finally decided to join the police force."

His industriousness showed itself again when, while a police officer, he worked part-time as a security officer at the former Sears, Roebuck & Co. facility on Roosevelt Boulevard near Adams Avenue.

After retiring, he worked full-time for the Sears warehouse, his wife said.

Mr. Bingham was a member of the American Legion, the USS Rodman Association, and the Tin Can Sailors, the nickname for the National Association of Destroyer Veterans.

Besides his wife of 54 years, Mr. Brigham is survived by daughters Kathryn Urban, Carol, Dorothy Stolzer, and Patricia McDaniels; a sister; and four grandchildren.

A life celebration was set for 11 a.m. Saturday, March 8, at the Snover Givnish Funeral Home, 1200 Route 130 N., Cinnaminson, followed by a noon memorial service there. Interment is to be in Lakeview Memorial Park, Cinnaminson.

Donations may be sent to www.samaritanhealthcarenj .org. Condolences may be offered to the family at

610-313-8134 @WNaedele

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