Palatine police officer dies after fight with aggressive brain cancer

Veteran Palatine police officer Mark Dahlem died Tuesday, four days after colleagues honored him with a retirement ceremony while he was in hospice care.

Chief Alan Stoeckel said Dahlem, a Cary resident, died at 4:11 p.m. Dahlem, 48, the married father of two children, entered JourneyCare in Barrington on Jan. 18.

Stoeckel paid a high law-enforcement compliment to Dahlem at the special ceremony, calling him a "solid cop's cop."

In December 2017, just eight days after seeing a doctor to check on severe headaches and five days after emergency surgery to remove a tumor, Dahlem learned he had glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive form of brain cancer. Family, friends, law enforcement colleagues and others rallied behind him.

Kimberly Dahlem, 46, said her husband eventually returned to full-time duty last year but had a setback when doctors found a tumor in late October. She said her husband had surgery New Year's Eve and seemed well enough that he asked when he could resume working full time and return to coaching youth sports.

She praised Palatine police officers for their extraordinary compassion and devotion toward the family during her husband's illness. Officers were at Dahlem's room 24 hours a day after he went on hospice care.

At least 60 officers and Stoeckel honored Dahlem with the retirement ceremony in his JourneyCare room on Friday. Dahlem received a retirement plaque for his service from 1995 to 2019 as part of the gathering.

One of Dahlem's assignments in his Palatine career was at Fremd High School. Stoeckel wrote the text on Dahlem's plaque, which revealed why the Fremd work turned out to be meaningful.

"During his assignment at Fremd High School as the school resource officer, Mark recognized the importance of building long-lasting relationships with students and school staff," Stoeckel wrote. "One such relationship led to Mark meeting a school counselor, who eventually became the love of his life and his better half. Mark left a legacy at Fremd High School, where he will always be remembered for his passion and dedication to serving others."

Besides his work serving and protecting Palatine, Dahlem served as a youth football and baseball coach in Cary.

During his law enforcement career, Dahlem was a patrol officer, field training officer, juvenile officer, crime scene technician and the Fremd liaison. His retirement plaque notes his attention to detail and investigative abilities made him a go-to guy in his 14 years as a crime scene technician.

In addition to Kimberly, Dahlem is survived by a 15-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son. Information about services was not immediately available Tuesday.

Palatine police honor officer in hospice care with retirement ceremony

Palatine police Ooficer Mark Dahlem, his wife Kimberly, their son Jack, 10, and daughter Abby, 15, show a plaque honoring him at a retirement ceremony Friday at JourneyCare in Barrington. Dahlem, 48, died in hospice care Tuesday. Courtesy of JourneyCare
Palatine police gather around fellow officer Mark Dahlem and his family during a retirement ceremony in his honor Friday at JourneyCare in Barrington. Dahlem, of Cary, entered hospice care Jan. 18. Courtesy of JourneyCare
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