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Published: Wednesday, 8/10/2005

Toledo officer was on force 24 years

Richard F. Zarecki, a Toledo police officer for 24 years, died Sunday at his home in Monclova Township. He was 62.

Mr. Zarecki died of leukemia, his wife, Janett, said.

Both his grandfathers - Melvin Zarecki and Fred Neithammer - were Toledo police officers, and Mr. Zarecki, as a boy, wanted to follow in their footsteps, his brother, Kenneth, said.

In 1969, he did just that.

Mr. Zarecki was a patrol officer for 16 years until spinal damage from duty-related injuries forced him to take a desk job in the crime analysis unit, Mrs. Zarecki said.

When he arrived, the unit only kept a database of criminals in the prison system. Mr. Zarecki, a computer enthusiast since the early 1980s, helped change the database to include every arrest the department made, she said.

The expanded database helps officers pinpoint when and where crimes might occur, Richard Hanus, a fellow police officer, said.

Before joining the police department, he served in the Navy from 1961 and 1965. He was stationed in Japan and the South Pacific, Mrs. Zarecki said.

Upon his return, he worked various jobs while trying to gain appointment to the police department.

In his retirement Mr. Zarecki traveled frequently to Las Vegas; Hilton Head, S.C., and other places across the country, Mrs. Zarecki said.

The couple were married at Hilton Head Island in 1997.

The Zareckis and Mr. Hanus and his wife were part of a group of 10 who took cruises at least every other year.

The Zareckis also had time-share condominiums in Hilton Head and Las Vegas.

"[Mr. Zarecki] never saw a casino he didn't like," Mr. Hanus said.

Surviving are his wife, Janett; son, Christopher; daughter, Jill Holbrook; stepsons, Dale, Scott, and Eric Johansen; brother, Kenneth; sister, Karen Rydman, and five grandchildren.

Services will be private. Arrangements are by the Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home.

The family suggests tributes to the Hospice of Northwest Ohio or the American Cancer Society.

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