By JOSEPH SAPIA
Jeff Henry died just prior to his Saturday day shift on the Allenhurst Police department, doing something that was routine for him.
“He was sitting in his car,” said Sgt. Brian Egan of the Deal Police, where Henry formerly worked. “He would do it everyday before his shift — drink coffee, read his paper.”
On Saturday, Oct. 31, Halloween, Henry, 44, was doing that at the Asbury Park beachfront when he suffered an apparent heart attack and died, according to the Deal and Allenhurst departments. He was scheduled to begin work at 7 a.m., said Allenhurst Police Chief Robert C. Richter.
“He was very personable, had a good sense of humor, loved his wife and kids,” Richter said.
One of his sons, Tyler, is an Allenhurst Police dispatcher, as is Jeff’s brother, Jason. Henry also is survived by his wife, Erin, and another son.
Prior to becoming a special police officer in Allenhurst in May, he had worked for 25 years for Deal Police. He retired from Deal, where he started as a dispatcher at 18 and retired as a patrolman, in October 2014, Egan said.
“He loved that job,” Egan said. “He was very popular in the community.”
Both Egan and Richter talked about Henry’s personality.
“His sense of humor was incredible,” Egan said. “He made you laugh, made you smile. His aura, always had a smile on his face. He had the ability to lighten the mood, no matter the situation.
“Every time you worked with him, you were guaranteed to laugh or smile,” Egan said.
Henry’s funeral arrangement is being handled by the Damiano Funeral Home, Long Branch. A viewing is scheduled at the funeral home Thursday, Nov. 5, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Contributions may be made in Henry’s name to the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 260 Wall St., Eatontown, 07724.
“He was a big supporter (of the MCSPCA) and an animal guy,” Egan said. “He always had rescue dogs, rescue cats. He was just a big animal lover.”
As for Henry’s death, both Egan and Richter said it took people by surprise.
“This was completely out of nowhere,” Egan said. “I just saw him last week, he looked great.”