Thomas Scanlon, former Harvard police officer, died Tuesday at Massachusetts General Hospital following a short illness. He was 68 years old.
Scanlon, who was known as "The Irish Cop," first came to Harvard in September 1951 and worked here until his retirement in 1977.
University police officers said yesterday Scanlon's affability and generosity endeared him to students, faculty, and colleagues.
"If a student needed money to get home, or for food at Elsie's, Tommy was always ready with the cash," University police captain George L. Walsh said. "He was the 'mayor' of the yard--always a smile and a handshake for everyone," police sergeant Arthur G. Luongo said.
Police officers also praised Scanlon's concern for people. Walsh said that Scanlon once went to the Cambridge police station to buy a cup of coffee and some cigarettes for a suspect he arrested. Another time, Walsh recalled, Scanlon gave away his gloves to a street peddler.
"He was one of the best public relations men this staff has ever had," Walsh said, calling Scanlon "a true gentleman".
Funeral services attended by the Harvard police honor guard will be held Friday at 10 a.m. in St. Margaret's Church in Burlington, Mass.