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Dec 15, 2010 10:40 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town 24-Year Veteran Police Officer Frederick Cantrell Dead At 50

Dec 15, 2010 10:40 AM

At least a dozen Southampton Town Police patrol cars lined Hampton Road in Southampton on Tuesday night, as police officers gathered inside Brockett’s Funeral Home to honor 24-year veteran Southampton Town Police Officer Frederick Cantrell, who died suddenly on Friday night.

Mr. Cantrell was most recently assigned to the department’s Community Response Unit, but he held a number of posts in the department during his more than two decades of service.

He was known affectionately to friends and family members as “Woody,” a name bestowed on him when he was growing up by his grandmother, Gladys Lozier, who decided “Frederick” was “too stuffy,” according to his wife, Katherine Cantrell.

Mr. Cantrell died from an apparent heart attack at about 8:30 p.m. on Friday night after police responded to a 911 call stating that Mr. Cantrell was unconscious in his Millstone Road residence in Noyac. Town Police arrived on the scene and began administering CPR to their colleague, who was then transported by Sag Harbor Village Ambulance to Southampton Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

According to police officer Jim Cavanagh, Mr. Cantrell’s first partner, the loss of the veteran police officer will leave a noticeable void in the halls of police headquarters, and in his own life.

“If you went to a bad call, he just inspired tranquility,” said Mr. Cavanagh. “He took the time to know everybody—that’s what made him such a great cop.”

A father of one and stepfather of two, Mr. Cantrell would often return home during an overnight shift patrolling Bridgehampton and ask his wife for diapers or children’s clothes for people in need. “He would come home in the middle of the night and say, ‘Do you have size 3 pajamas?’ He would need diapers,” Ms. Cantrell said. “It would be for children whose calls he would go on. He was always sending me out to get stuff like that.”

Born in Freeport, Mr. Cantrell and his mother, Gloria Cantrell, moved in with his paternal grandparents, Gladys and Kenneth Lozier, who owned a home on Heady Creek Lane in Southampton, when he was 6 years old. A graduate of Southampton High School, Mr. Cantrell continued his education at Hofstra University in Hempstead, where he studied criminal law. While he was in school, Mr. Cantrell took his first job with Southampton Town, as a lifeguard at Sagg Main Beach in Sagaponack, according to his wife.

His lifeguard position was the first in a nearly 30-year career with the town, where he held jobs ranging from school crossing guard to police officer.

Mr. Cantrell was first hired as a crossing guard by the Southampton School District in January 1981. In May of that same year and during the following summer, Mr. Cantrell was hired as a seasonal traffic control officer. His first experience in the Southampton Town Police Department came in January 1983, when Mr. Cantrell was hired as a part-time police officer. He attended the police academy that same year and was hired the following year as a full-time police officer, patrolling Bridgehampton, a post he held until 2007.

Mr. Cantrell met his wife, Katherine Held, in 1985 at an Elks lodge carnival in Southampton. The two were married the following year. Ms. Cantrell said at her husband’s wake on Tuesday that he was known for his laugh, compassion, sense of humor and his wisdom.

Throughout his career, Mr. Cantrell was heralded with commendations from the police department for the recovery of two stolen vehicles, pulling a person out of a burning vehicle in 1997, and apprehending four suspects in a robbery in 2000.

Though Mr. Cantrell was championed for those incidents, his wife recalled one specific event that revealed his nature as a dedicated officer and compassionate human being.

Mr. Cantrell was instrumental in making burial arrangements after the death of a local homeless man in Bridgehampton, known simply as “Leroy.” Mr. Cantrell often spotted Leroy riding his bicycle around Bridgehampton, according to his wife. Ms. Cantrell said that when the first cold snap of winter would bluster through the area, her husband would pick up Leroy, load his bicycle into the back of his patrol car, and bring him before a judge in the Southampton Justice Court.

“He’d bring him in front of a judge and lock him up,” Ms. Cantrell said, noting that her husband set it up so Leroy could stay in jail during the winter so he would have a warm place to stay and food to eat. Every spring, Leroy would be released from jail, and Mr. Cantrell would give him back his bicycle—which he would have locked safely away for him all winter.

“He was definitely a real champion of all the homeless,” said Mr. Cavanagh, who read Mr. Cantrell’s eulogy during a service held for police officers on Tuesday night. “If somebody was hungry, he’d run into a store and buy food.”

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Very sorry to hear this news. Deepest sympathies to his family and to all of my friends at the Southampton Town Police Department. Rest in Peace, Woody! You served your community well. I'll miss hearing your voice on the scanner.

By Robert I Ross (250), Hampton Bays on Dec 12, 10 5:41 AM
A really solid guy who would go out of his way to help anyone. R I P Wood.
By Bestmod (8), southampton on Dec 12, 10 6:54 AM
STPD Has Lost a True Hero and Friend. God Speed To His Family, CO-Workers and Friends.

R.I.P. STPD #123
By 1640sWhaler (74), Sag Harbor/Easthampton on Dec 12, 10 10:03 AM
Woody was a stand up guy and friend from the famed "kickball court" though the adult years. My hopes and prayers go out to his family. He will be missed.
By Lester Ware (15), Sag Harbor on Dec 12, 10 10:05 AM
1 member liked this comment
R.I.P. Woody, A Hero in the community and the department. You will be missed. Thank you for serving and giving 110% effort every day. Prayers going out to his entire family. God Speed.
By BHLOCAL (2), bridgehampton on Dec 12, 10 12:11 PM
Woody and I go back to grade school, Im stunned and at a loss of words ....he was solid and loyal my heart and prayers go to the family....its impossible to fill his shoes
By minarditraining.com (18), Easthampton on Dec 12, 10 4:02 PM
R.I.P. Woody You were a great guy!
By Puros (30), Hampton Bays on Dec 12, 10 9:25 PM
Years ago there was a homeless guy named "Leroy" that died in Bridgehampton. When Woody found out Leroy was going to be buried in a pottersfield for unclaimed persons, he stepped forward. Woody arranged for a casket, funeral, and proper burial. This is but one example of how he would go beyond his regular duties to serve the community and treat everyone with respect. Police Officer Frederick Cantrell was a friend to all. I hope his family gains comfort in seeing how many friends and supporters Woody ...more
By lifesaver (118), speonk on Dec 13, 10 10:25 AM
I am going to miss you brother, thank you for everything. i worked with you alot more with ambulance than with the STPD but i will miss seeing that smile and miss your friendly hello's every morning and hearing crew 12 on the radio. you are one of my inspirations to become a police officer thank you woody i will truly miss you brother and R.I.P. woody and god speed
By Southampton251 (5), southampton on Dec 15, 10 12:45 AM
God Speed to you Officer Cantrell.
By Uncle Fester (61), Southampton on Dec 15, 10 11:40 AM
I stood at attention this morning with the cold wind blowing and snow flurries passing by only thinking you must be making good speed to heaven. You set the standard for c-42 I only hope that the men and women who fill that post from this time on take to heart the stories they will hear of you. I'll never forget our beach calls together. God Speed Brother
By OldSalt (10), Sag Harbor on Dec 15, 10 1:57 PM
The compassion Officer Cantrell could show to arrestees was an example in being a complete human being.
By danrudan (40), Southampton on Dec 16, 10 4:07 PM
Very sorry to hear the news. I worked with Woody for over twenty years and he was an inspiration to anyone who wanted to be a "road cop". He was sick and came to work, he had PD accidents responding to calls and came back to work, he suffered injuries during working hours yet ALWAYS came back to work. Others would have "cashed it in" and tried to retire on disability. NOT WOODY. He was a classic "out east" and a credit to our department. I now live down south and as I said, I am sorry to hear ...more
By warren (3), SOUTHAMPTON on Dec 16, 10 7:23 PM
By Bandguy (23), Sag Harbor on Dec 20, 10 9:31 PM
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