Democrat File Photo
Hundreds of people turned out to wish then Sheriff Dan Hogue well after he announced his retirement in May, 2005. Pictured, from left: Son Dan Hogue Jr., Hogue Sr., wife Millie and Dan Jr.’s wife Kim.
‘Sheriff Dan’ fondly recalled
Story by Dan Hust
FORESTBURGH May 24, 2013 Lisa Mason remembers heading through Forestburgh on Route 42 when a tire blew on her minivan.
This being 1997, Lisa didn’t have a cellphone. Leaving her baby son and her three-year-old daughter with her friend, she hiked a mile to the nearest house to ask to make a call.
“I knocked on the door, and this man not only let me use his phone but then drove back to my van to get my friend and baby,” she recalled. “It was a very hot summer day.”
When they returned to his house, Lisa noticed election signs and realized who the man was: Dan Hogue, then running for Sullivan County Sheriff.
She blurted out this fact to her mother while using Hogue’s phone.
“Well, he let out a very loud laugh and then got on the phone with my mom and said, ‘Hi Lois. Your daughter is fine, and whenever you get here is fine. She’s welcome to stay for dinner.’”
Hogue went on to become Sullivan County’s sheriff for eight years, and that generosity and laughter Lisa experienced was shared by many others.
“Dan was a great sheriff and a wonderful person,” recalled Penny Carman Blume, who got to know him through working at Blanche’s Diner in Mongaup Valley. “He would bring his grandchildren or [wife] Millie, or sometimes the whole family would come. Always a smile!”
Such good memories were reawakened this week in scores of county residents after news spread of Hogue’s passing on Wednesday at the age of 74.
“The only reason I’m here is because of him,” Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Luis Alvarez affirmed.
Alvarez joined the department in late 1985, just a few months before Hogue was tabbed by then-Sheriff Joe Wasser to become undersheriff.
Alvarez, a Spanish-speaking native of Puerto Rico, had been having major trouble speaking English so much so that his new job was in jeopardy.
“I was having a real rough time,” Alvarez acknowledged.
Hogue called him into the office, promising him a job in the Jail Division in order to feed his family.
But Alvarez pointed out to Hogue that he’d passed the police academy, which demonstrated that he could read, write and understand English as well as any other graduate.
That gave Hogue faith that Alvarez could ultimately master actually speaking the difficult language.
“You will prevail,” Hogue promised the new officer.
“And I did,” Alvarez happily affirmed.
The two worked together for the next 20 years, before Hogue retired in 2005 after two four-year terms as Sheriff.
“He always backed me up,” a grateful, emotional Alvarez said. “He was a gentleman with me.”
But he was also no-nonsense.
“Don’t ever lie to him,” Alvarez warned.
“He was a man of absolute integrity,” affirmed Sullivan County Court Judge Frank LaBuda.
Hogue’s ability to discern between truth and deception was culled from 44 years in law enforcement, starting as a Monticello cop in 1961.
Seventeen years later, LaBuda, a young assistant district attorney at the time, worked with then-Monti PD Detective Dan Hogue on a felony burglary case.
“As a detective and later in his career as sheriff, he brought law and justice to the people of Sullivan County,” said LaBuda, “and that is his legacy.”
Even in the months before his death, Hogue was engaged in his field, serving on a County Legislature-convened commission to study local law enforcement and find efficiencies.
Sheriff Michael Schiff, Hogue’s successor, called him a “role model for the officers of the county.”
“Danny was one-of-a-kind a tough street cop but compassionate when he needed to be,” Schiff related. “He gave his life to public safety and law enforcement, and he set the bar high for me.”
“He was certainly a cop’s cop,” added Thompson Supervisor Tony Cellini, who ordered the town’s flags flown at half-mast yesterday in tribute. “He was not only a good friend to me but a wonderful husband, father and grandfather.”
Indeed, his affable style earned him countless friends.
“He was loved and respected not only by his deputies and other police agencies,” affirmed LaBuda, “but he was also loved by the people.
“That’s why he was fondly called ‘Sheriff Dan.’”