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25 Years Later, Fallen Officer’s Daughter Throws Party

The News Tribune via YellowBrix

January 25, 2010

Emily Nollmeyer of Tacoma doesn’t remember her father’s funeral.

She was 4 years old when Tacoma police officer Craig Nollmeyer was shot to death Jan. 24, 1985, on a domestic violence call in the North End.

A fight between a man and his wife escalated into gunfire. The man killed both his wife and Nollmeyer, who was walking down an alley toward the home.


Officer Craig Nollmeyer

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of her father’s passing, Emily Nollmeyer hosted a dinner Sunday night in downtown Tacoma. More than 100 colleagues, friends and family members of Craig Nollmeyer gathered to celebrate the soft-spoken, devout man who played band in high school and made cabinets before becoming a police officer.

The officer’s widow, Patty Rubottom, and son Trevor – now a Spokane police officer – were also in attendance.

“A part of me always wanted to meet these people who knew my father,” Emily Nollmeyer said. Her own memories are hazy; she recalls the smell of leather, pine sap and shoe polish, the sound of her father reading the Bible at bedtime.

Washington’s six law enforcement deaths in recent months stirred up painful memories for Nollmeyer, who feels for the officers’ loved ones: “I’ve been on this journey for 25 years, and they’re just at the beginning. Knowing what they’re facing, it makes your heart hurt.”

At the Sunday dinner, guests lined up for heaping servings of lasagna, salad, cake, cookies and Craig Nollmeyer’s favorite dessert, apple pie. A table decorated with blue balloons carried old photographs, Craig Nollmeyer’s motorcycle helmet and a sign reading “Nollmeyer Lane,” a 300-foot-long walkway that runs from Yakima Avenue to the County-City Building, named in honor of the fallen officer.

Patty Rubottom described her husband as a popular, steady friend who served in 10 weddings, either as best man or groomsman. They met at Lake City Community Church in Lakewood and married in June 1976, despite his protest on their first date that he was “a bachelor forever.”

Richard Karman attended Lakes High School with Craig Nollmeyer and remembered his longtime friend as a good problem solver—thoughtful and forgiving. After Karman went into law enforcement in the mid-1970s, he got a call from his old high school buddy, asking if he’d recommend police work. Karman, now a crime analyst with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon, said yes.

That conversation still haunts him, over 30 years later. “I told him it was a good job,” Karman said, briefly choked with emotion. “It’s still a good job, it’s just painful to remember.”

Tacoma police sergeant Gary Stril served with Craig Nollmeyer during the officer’s three years at the department. Between shifts, the two of them used to talk in the locker room about faith and family. “He was an extremely decent person,” said Stril, who came out in uniform to honor his one-time colleague. “It’s no small thing, to give your life.”

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  • Sfa_iv_max50


    almost 4 years ago



  • Car6_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Awesome idea.

  • Littlegirltongue_max50


    over 4 years ago


    What a great way to honor his memory and kudos to her mother for keeping his memory so alive in her daughter.

  • Img_6140_max50


    over 4 years ago


    This is absolutely beautiful. Brings a tear to your eye. What a wonderful way for a daughter to celebrate her fallen Dad and fellow LEO Brother.

  • Cp5_max50


    over 4 years ago


    What a great way to honor and keep alive the memory of a fallen hero. I lived in Seattle when Nollmeyer was killed, and often wondered what "happened thereafter." I hope that the gathering gave his daughter (and the other attendees) a better aweareness of and apprecation for her father and the great service he gave to his community. We should all be so lucky to be remebered so well. Classy move, Emily.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    I am so moved and so happy to read this beautiful story of courage and love for a falllen Brother. Thanks so much for sharing this story, It should motivate us all to be the best we can be and nothing is finer than to be a dedicated loving family man and honorable OFFICER OF THE THIN BLUE LINE. *****

  • Fallenherobadge-3-1_max50_max50


    over 4 years ago


    One has problems in his or her life and then when one reads something as up lifting as this one remembers ones problems are not so bad. My prayers for your Father, you and your family, friends and your Father's Department.

  • Ba_old_glory_max50


    over 4 years ago


    What an outstanding way to remember. This is awesome!!!!!

  • Screen_shot_2011-04-10_at_8


    over 4 years ago


    How beautiful...

  • Police_link_badge_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Very good !!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    Excellent tribute!!!

  • Picture_or_video_137_max600_max50


    over 4 years ago


    awww that's so sweet.

  • Carbon_1_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Emily, I'm sure your Dad is very happy and proud of you for that precious gift you prepared for him.

  • 1979_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Outstanding young lady! What a wonderful way to honor your fallen father and make sure his memory and tragic loss will always be remembered. To celebrate this fine Officers life and tragic desth serving his fellow man is a great honor to him. Kudo's and we are sad that you lost your Dad and us a brother all those years ago.

  • Pug_max600_max50


    over 4 years ago


    It's no small thing to give your life. How true. Thank you Emily. All gave some, some gave all.

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