Pennsylvania state trooper remembered as professional, humble
State Police Trooper 1st Class Blake T. Coble never was one to stand on ceremony, said a colleague at his funeral on Tuesday.
He would be the last one to wear a tie or his trooper hat and hated to shine his boots.
Coble, who died in an Oct. 4 car crash while on duty, likely would have looked at the hundreds of law enforcement officers gathered for his funeral and say: “What a waste of shoe polish,” said Cpl. Mark Bardzil.
“But Blake taught us it is not about the shine on our shoes. It's about the shine on our hearts, and Blake shone brightly,” Bardzil said.
Bardzil had Coble's fellow troopers at the Brighton barracks shed their ties and hats during a portion of the service.
Nearly 1,000 law enforcement officers, family and friends gathered inside the Golden Dome of Community College of Beaver County in Center for a final farewell to Coble.
The 24-year veteran, just three months from retirement, died when a tractor-trailer driven by Gregory Golkosky, 47, of Mt. Pleasant slammed into his cruiser in South Beaver, not far from Coble's house.
Lt. Eric Hermick said Tuesday that Golkosky faces charges, including running a stop sign and careless driving. The Beaver County District Attorney's office will make the final determination.
Local police departments, Allegheny County police and deputy sheriffs stood alongside troopers from Pennsylvania and officers from across the nation and Canada to honor Coble.
“We are all family,” Pittsburgh police Chief Nate Harper said. “It's a tough pill to swallow.”
Coble is the 94th state trooper to die in the line of duty.
Nearest Coble's casket sat his wife, Brenda, who is a dispatcher at the barracks where her husband worked, and their children, Savannah, 6, and Jimmy, 8, who wore his father's campaign hat throughout the two-hour service.
There are no answers to why Coble was taken so suddenly, said the Rev. Ruth Simmons of Avery United Methodist Church in Washington County, but healing will come.
“One day at a time, one thing at a time, one step at a time, knowing we do not walk through the path alone. God walks with us,” said Simmons, a speaker at the service.
Bardzil said he first met Coble years ago in the parking lot of the Butler barracks. Coble worked a vice detail, had hair down his back and a long beard, and sported a ratty Jimmy Buffett T-shirt.
Bardzil didn't know that Coble was a trooper. Coble reassured him: “Don't worry, I'm a good guy.”
“What an understatement. I didn't know I'd get to know Blake, but I did, and I'm blessed for it,” Bardzil said.
At a brief service at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cemetery in Chippewa, Brenda Coble tightly hugged her children as bagpipers played “Amazing Grace.” A state police helicopter flew overhead.
“To me, it's an honor being here,” said Peter Nava, a trooper with the Texas Highway Patrol.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Bodies of Kochu, Gray found in Ohio River in West Virginia
- Penguins’ protracted slump continues with 5-2 loss at Carolina
- Man barricaded in house near West Hempfield Elementary School
- Narduzzi set to begin more critical evaluations during Pitt football spring drills
- Hays eagle egg breaks; unclear if chick was born
- Police end standoff with New Kensington man
- Sestak’s use of rank violates military’s code of ethics
- About face: Pirates’ Burnett now digging the shifts
- Pittsburgh angles to keep Heinz headquarters in merger
- Pitt adds quarterback recruit from Cincinnati
- Pirates notebook: Worley bounces back after rough start