HORNELL – Former Steuben County Sheriff Jack Lisi was buried with military honors Tuesday morning after a simple Catholic Mass attended by hundreds of prominent county officials, police, friends and family.
About 1,300 people were on hand for the funeral service here in St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church—which holds 900 people, funeral director James Dagon said.
Contingents from area police forces stood outside the church during the service after paying their respects by marching up the center aisle to his casket.
Lisi, who was sheriff for 18 years and extensively involved in community organizations, was praised by the Rev. Elmer J. Schmidt.
“We come here today to show our love for you and for Jack,” Schmidt told Lisi’s family.
Through his work for others and giving of himself, Lisi had earned a pass into the family of God, Schmidt said.
“How could he accomplish so much?” Schmidt asked. “It was because he loved so much and was loved in return.”
Lisi collapsed and died of a heart attack on Thursday [May 16, 1991] while working at a Retired Senior Volunteers Program recognition luncheon in Kanona. The organization was one of many community organizations Lisi worked with after retiring in 1987.
After the ceremony, Lisi, a World War II U.S. Marine veteran, was then taken to St. Ann’s Cemetery. An honor guard from the U.S. Marine 8th Tank Battalion inspector-instructor staff, based in Rochester, carried his flag-draped casket. He received a 21-gun salute at the cemetery, and his family members wiped away tears while Taps was played.
On hand for the services were representatives from sheriff’s departments in eight counties, including Steuben, Chemung, Schuyler, Yates, Livingston and Erie. Steuben County court officers were there as well.
Also represented were New York State Police, and municipal police from Corning, Hornell, Bath, Cohocton, Waverly and Hammondsport. The state conservation department and Hornell’s fire department were also represented.
Steuben County Sheriff’s Senior Investigator Karl Secondo, who had been Hammondsport police chief before joining the department to work with Lisi, said Lisi always took a personal interest in his employees and in his jail inmates.
“He always took the position that there was a lot of good in people, no matter what they did,” Secondo said.
Steuben County Judge Donald G. Purple Jr. said, “Jack and I grew up together in law enforcement.” Purple started as county judge in 1970, the same year Lisi became sheriff. “He was one of the most compassionate men I’ve met, and very competent. He could take an explosive situation, and diffuse it somehow, and make everyone happy.”