Sept. 19, 1983 – April 10, 2017
Thomas J. Diehl Sr., a Town of Tonawanda police lieutenant and hockey coach, died Monday in Roswell Park Cancer Institute after a yearlong battle with a rare form of leukemia. He was 33.
Born in Buffalo, he was a 2001 graduate of Kenmore East High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University at Buffalo in 2005.
After graduation, he joined the Town of Tonawanda Police Department and had been a police officer for nearly 11 years when he took leave last year due to illness.
He also had been an instructor in defensive tactics at the Erie County Law Enforcement Training Academy. He received many honors for his police work, including a Report of Commendation, a Certificate of Recognition and two Letters of Recognition. He also received an American Legion Certificate of Distinguished Achievement.
A lifelong hockey player, he had been a youth hockey coach for more than 15 years.
Diehl was head coach of the 2005-06 Town of Tonawanda Lightning Squirt Major team, which won the New York State Tier II championship. He had been a vice president of the Lightning organization for more than 10 years.
Mr. Diehl became a volunteer assistant hockey coach at Kenmore East in 2007 and helped guide the Bulldogs to state championships in 2012 and 2016. For his dedicated work at Kenmore East, he was honored with the Cornerstone Award in 2016.
Survivors include his wife, Dawn M.; two sons, Tony and Thomas “T.J.” Jr.; two daughters, Summer and Teagan; his parents, James E. and Shawn; and a sister, Jaime K. Pichette.
A Liturgy of the Word service will be offered at 11 a.m. Saturday in St. Amelia Catholic Church, 2999 Eggert Road, Town of Tonawanda.