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Flushing police officer dies of colon cancer

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Two buses filled with officers from the 109th flocked to Suffolk County Monday to attend the funeral of Officer Thomas G. Brophy, 36, of West Islip, who was known to lift weights and take vitamins before being diagnosed with the cancer.Brophy assisted with the cleanup of the World Trade Center site after Sept. 11, according to a Dee Richard, a photographer and columnist for the TimesLedger Newspapers who knew him well. She said that others who knew Brophy wondered whether the toxic conditions at the site may have contributed to the onset of the cancer because there was no logical explanation why a man in such excellent health would be diagnosed with colon cancer at such a young age."He was always a very happy, charming, cheerful guy that everybody liked," Richard said. "He was a fighter up until the last couple of weeks."Before he was assigned to the 109th Precinct, Brophy was with the Department of Corrections from 1991 until 1994."He was very well loved and respected at the 109th," Richard said. "He lived and breathed cop morning, noon and night."She first became acquainted with Brophy as a frequent customer at the Whitestone Diner, where they ran into each other because they both were in professions with unorthodox working hours."Nothing bad could be said about the guy," said a woman officer from the 109th Precinct.Last February, Destination Flushing - a civic association comprised of Asian businessmen - held a fund-raiser to help Brophy and his family with medical bills stemming from his cancer treatment, although they had never met him. Their effort helped raise close to $30,000. Some 350 people attended Brophy's funeral on Long Island, including contingents of state troopers (his brother is a trooper); the Suffolk Co. Police Department where his former partner, Richie Seagriff, now works; and the Department of Corrections.The services, which were held at Holy Cross Church in Nesconset followed by the burial at St. Charles Cemetery near Huntington, also included a Police Department ceremonial unit, a bagpiper and a fly-over helicopter. Two men from the department played taps on bugles "They don't just dig a hole and throw you in," Richard said of Brophy's comrades. Brophy is survived by his wife, Rita, and 3-year-old son Matthew. He leaves two brothers, Brian and Justin, and a sister, Erica.

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