Fallen remembered at memorial service

By Edward Lewis

May 1, 2013

WYOMING — Two men were remembered Wednesday for their service to public safety and dedication to their law enforcement careers.

The late Eric Williams and Blake T. Coble were honored during a state police memorial service at the Wyoming barracks.

Williams, a federal corrections officer from Nanticoke, was killed by an inmate at the federal correctional institution at Canaan on Feb. 25, and Coble, a state trooper from Beaver Falls, died from injuries he sustained in a crash when a tractor-trailer slammed into his cruiser on Oct. 4.

Williams, 34, and Coble, 48, were killed in the line of duty. Coble was three months shy of retirement when he died, ending 24 years with the state police.

Retired state police Sgt. Chester Zaremba said he did not personally know Williams, but attended his viewing.

“As I waited two hours in line to pay my respect … one fella standing next to me asked me if I knew Eric,” Zaremba said. “I said ‘No I didn’t,’ and he asked why would I stand in line for two hours. I said because he’s part of the family.”

Zaremba was the keynote speaker at the memorial service held in the parking lot under sunny skies.

State police Capt. James E. Degnan dedicated the service to Coble, who became the 94th state trooper to die while on duty since 1905. Names of the 94 troopers are etched in stone at the State Police Academy’s memorial wall in Hershey.

“May (Coble’s) name be the last one placed on the wall,” Degnan said.

State police Lt. Richard Krawetz read the names of the 10 troopers at Wyoming who made the ultimate sacrifice. Two members of the state police retirees association placed a wreath at the memorial stone in front of the Wyoming barracks while Butch Modzelewski played “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes and Trooper Jeffrey D. Lamm played taps on a bugle.