By Kim Howard
Kenneth Palady, a long-time Williston resident and retired Williston police office, was laid to rest last Friday at Deer View Cemetery. Palady passed away unexpectedly on May 7 from a heart attack. He was 73.
“Kenny,” as many friends called him, began his work life in the drywall taping business before being asked to consider becoming a police officer in Milton. Soon after, Palady was certified as a police officer in 1969.
“He grew to love this newfound job,” his wife, Sharon, wrote in the eulogy she read last week. “He took it very seriously, studying the laws of Vermont, attending classes whenever he could.”
In addition to working in Milton, Palady was an officer with the Chittenden County Sheriff’s Department, and Vermont State and Williston Police departments, and was a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Palady also served as head of security for Shelburne Shipyard.
“He loved working for all of these departments, but Williston was his ‘home,’” Sharon Palady wrote.
Kenneth Palady was born on Riverside Avenue in Burlington on Jan. 12, 1934, and moved to Williston when he was an infant. He lived on West Oak Hill Road, across the street from a one-room schoolhouse. In an interview, Sharon said her husband told her that as teenagers, he and friend Paul Boutin, now deceased, once put a big farm wagon on the roof of the school as a prank.
Palady was a Civil War buff and enjoyed traveling to Civil War sites with his wife, whom he married in 1990. He was “bosom buddies” with Knoha, the couple’s chocolate mini poodle, his wife said, though he’d told her he didn’t want a dog.
“Ken would get up in the morning; they both had eggs and toast,” Sharon said. “Ken got him hooked on pears – at two in the afternoon – bananas at seven.”
He also liked to play cards with his oldest granddaughter, Zoie, age 12.
“She cheats and he cheated,” Sharon said with a small laugh. “She knew it and he knew it.”
Palady may have cheated in cards, but repeatedly friends and former officers said in interviews that Palady was fair, honest and dependable.
“I knew him to be honest, dedicated,” close friend and former Vermont State Trooper Wes Relation said. “He cared about everybody, he cared about his community. … Anytime anybody needed anything, he was there to help.”
When Palady began his part-time work with the Williston Police Department in roughly 1977, officers supplied their own uniforms and were paid only while on patrol. Williston had only 84 businesses (now there are roughly 1,100) and that year the department made four arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Everett Curavoo, a retired part-time Williston police officer and long-time friend of Palady’s, said Palady had the kind of hearty laugh he can never forget.
“He was a very jolly type person,” Curavoo said. “He was also a serious person, and a very fair police officer dealing with people. He wasn’t one of these tough guys or anything like that. I believe he dealt with the people from his heart.”
Sharon Palady shared in the eulogy she wrote a story representative of her husband’s approach to law enforcement. Once Ken stopped a car driven by a young man under the influence.
“Ken, knowing this young man’s father, made the decision that he would arrest the individual and scare the b’Jesus out of him,” Sharon wrote. After being processed, the young man asked Palady to take him to jail when he realized he was going to drive him straight home to his father, which the son said would be worse than jail.
“Ken always knew that sometimes as a police officer you have to put a little more effort into a relationship or circumstance, that in doing so, down the road someone may get something better back,” she wrote.
Ken Palady is survived by his wife, Sharon; daughters Robin (Keith) Schumacher, Carol Palady, Lisa (Paul) Brigham, Heidi (Dennis) Tessier and Heather (Jim) Boudreau; grandsons Aaron, Jason, Kyle, Andrew; granddaughters Zoie and Vanessa; a sister, Janice Ayers; mother-in-law, Marjorie Haggarty; special brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law; cousins, nieces, nephews, many good friends and fellow patrol officers. Ken was predeceased by his father, mother, and siblings Eugene, Frank, Harry and Phyllis.
Donations may be made to Vermont Law Enforcement & Fire Memorial, 317 Academy Road, Pittsford, VT 05763.