Long-time Deerfield, Whately patrolman remembered
Officer Robert "Eric" Seaholm sits in a cruiser in Deerfield in the early 1990s. (Submitted Photo) Purchase photo reprints »
DEERFIELD — They called him “The Colonel.”
That’s the nickname that Deerfield Police Chief John Paciorek Jr, said members of his department gave part-time patrolman Robert “Eric” Seaholm for his uncanny ability to “politely and respectfully” take charge of any situation ... and for his role-model status among new department personnel.
Seaholm, who served as a member of the Deerfield Police Department from 1977 to 2004 and also worked as a full time sergeant at the Whately Police Department, died July 12 at his home in Arizona after a battle with cancer.
“Eric was one of the hearts and souls of the department,” said Paciorek, who worked closely with Seaholm on numerous calls in the early ’90s as a police officer in Sunderland. “He was the type of person who would help anyone at any time, through good and bad.”
“He lived and breathed police work,” Paciorek said.
Richard Calisewski, Deerfield’s Board of Health agent, also speaks highly of Seaholm’s professionalism.
“We used to have a joke around here that he wouldn’t drive a cruiser without washing it first,” said Calisewski. “He was an extreme neatnick, and always did a very professional presentation while he was on duty.”
He recalled a particular car accident that occurred years ago near the Irving gas station on Routes 5 and 10. Calisewski said Seaholm helped respond to the call, and the way he carried himself allowed him to take charge of the situation immediately.
“Everyone turned to him for guidance and help because of the way he acted. Though his mannerisms made him seem to be a hard person, he was one of the most compassionate officers we ever had in town,” Calisewski said.
“He was a fantastic police officer, he had such a great demeanor.”
Former Deerfield Police Chief Michael Wozniakewicz remembers Seaholm as a “people person” and team player, both on and off the job. He said Seaholm was active in the National Police Association and played with him on a baseball team that competed in a small inter-department league.
“He was always one you could count on to get things done, no questions asked,” said Wozniakewicz. “He was able to juggle the full-time job, the part-time job and his family. It’s tough to juggle that many things at once and maintain a balance like he did.”
Wozniakewicz said throwing a surprise party for Seaholm upon his retirement remains among his fondest memories. To lure Seaholm to the Eaglebrook School, where the party was to be held, he and his colleagues cooked up an elaborate story to convince him that the Secretary of Agriculture was to visit Deerfield for a strawberry-picking event, and that the department would be providing a security detail.
Playing the part of the secretary, another officer’s wife boarded a limousine at the Deerfield Inn while Seaholm and his fellow officers followed it in plain-clothes to the school.
“When he walked in, it was to his own party,” Wozniakewicz said.
“As I said, he was a real people person, so it was tough to keep it from him, but we were able to do it.”
Woniakewicz said Seaholm was also known to play Christmas carols on his keyboard in the center of town during the annual decoration lighting ceremony.
“He will be missed, no question about it,” said Woniakewicz.