SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — Friends, family and scores of police officers paid their respects to Robert “Bob” Luce, a former Scotch Plains police chief, who died on Saturday, May 18, at age 85.
Bob Luce was born in Boston and settled to Scotch Plains in 1939. He was a 1952 graduate of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School and then enlisted in U.S. Marines during the Korean War. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division from 1953 to 1956. Prior to his discharge, he reached the rank of sergeant.
Chief Luce's career in law enforcement began in 1958 as a patrol officer with the Scotch Plains police. In 1963, he was assigned the new Harley Davidson Motorcycle the SPPD purchased and was a motorcycle cop until being promoted to Detective Sergeant in 1966. He progressed throught the ranks to Detective Lieutenant (1970) and then Commander of the Detective Bureau (1975). Bob Luce was promoted to captain in 1979 and became an assistant to the Chief on administrative issues. In 1983, he was promoted to Police Chief, a position he served in until his retirement from the SPPD in 1996.
“Although Chief Luce retired before I was hired, I only heard of what an outstanding Chief and leader he was,” said current Chief Ted Conley. “He inspired so many officers, not only in Scotch Plains, but also in Union County and throughout the State.”
Upon his retirement in 1996, Chief Luce went on to work with the Union County Prosecutors Office. In a joint appointment from the Union County Police Chiefs Association and the Prosecutors Office, he was appointed the Director of the Union County Police Academy in Scotch Plains. Chief Luce left the academy in 1997 and was appointed Director of the County Forensics Lab until his eventual permanent retirement in January 2000.
“Chief Luce was a great servant to the people of Scotch Plains,” said Fanwood Chief Richard Trigo. “He was a valued member of the Union County Police Association, and his legacy will live on through all the good work he did.”
Bob Luce was a member of the American Legion Post 1000, a life member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Scotch Plains PBA Local 87, and a former member of the Scotch Plains Fanwood Lyons Club.
Chief Luce is predeceased by his wife Virginia ’19, and son Dave ’11. He is survived by his children Robert J, Judi A, daughter-in-law Terri M., stepsons Gerard Ricciardelli and wife Trista, Anthony Tittanegro and wife Johanna, grandchildren Kevin and Andrew, Dario, Nadia, Nicholas, Anthony and Lorenzo. Bob is also survived by his two sisters, Margaret Briley and Martha Cogan.
A funeral service will be offered at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 23, at the Rossi Funeral Home (1937 Westfield Ave., Scotch Plains). He will be buried at St. Gertrude Cemetery, Colonia.