Retired Vernon police chief Roy Wherry dies at age 74

Vernon /
| 03 Jan 2023 | 08:02

Roy C. Wherry of Highland Lakes passed away peacefully on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, after a valiant battle to remain with his family and friends for as long as possible. He was 74.

Born in Irvington to the late Robert and Alice (Curtis) Wherry, Roy grew up in Livingston and spent his summers in Highland Lakes.

He joined the U.S. Marine Corps after his graduation from Livingston High School and settled in Highland Lakes after his military service. He lived there for more than 50 years and raised his family there.

Roy lived his life in service to others. He was part of the original 11-member Vernon Township Police Department formed in 1975 and he ultimately retired (albeit begrudgingly) in 2013 as the chief of police.

He was a proud Eagle Scout and was active in the Boy Scouts of America. He was a member of the Sussex County Marine Corps League Det. 747, Holy Counselor Lutheran Church in Vernon and the New Jersey Chiefs of Police Association.

He was the Vernon Office of Emergency Management director and a past member of the Highland Lakes Fire Department and Ambulance Squad.

He would join almost any group that would have him and gave extra points if their meetings included food, but his real drive in these endeavors was in helping those in his community and making lasting relationships with everyone he met.

In his spare time, he enjoyed telling jokes to anyone who would listen (particularly bad jokes); dropping off baked goods to family, friends, even family of friends; going to the dump; driving his MG; spending time on his pontoon boat, which he insisted on calling the Wherry family yacht; and buying tools at yard sales and telling you, “Hey, this is pretty cool, you may need this one day!!”

Predeceased by his parents and his brother Don Wherry, Roy is survived by his daughters, Jeanette Emmerich and her husband Michael, and Jaime Wherry; sons Robert Wherry and his husband Christopher DeMuro, and Patrick Wherry and his wife Julianne; grandchildren Tyler, Keegan and Aubrey Paluzzi, Meghan and Lauren Emmerich, and Ryan and Luke Wherry; his sister, Eileen Detweiler and her husband Bill; and many nephews and nieces. Roy is also survived by his partner of many years, Bonnette Curtis.

The void he leaves in their lives and the lives of his friends and colleagues is immeasurable.

A visitation for Roy will be held on Thursday, Jan. 5 from 2 to 7 p.m. at St. Francis de Sales RC Church, 614 County Road 517, Vernon. Roy’s funeral will be on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 10 a.m. at the Ferguson—Vernon Funeral Home, (One Vanderhoof Court for GPS), 241 Route 94, Vernon. Burial will follow in the Glenwood Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Vernon Police Athletic League ( or the Sussex County Marine Corps League Det. 747, 152 Compton Road, Sussex, NJ 07461.

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