'Honored and humbled to have known him': Palatine officer laid to rest
The late Palatine police officer Mark D. Dahlem was memorialized by family, friends and a sizable contingent of co-workers Saturday morning at Holy Family Catholic Church in Inverness.
The Cary resident, 48, died Tuesday of glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive form of brain cancer. Just four days earlier at Barrington's JourneyCare hospice, more than 50 of Dahlem's colleagues held a special retirement ceremony to honor his 24 years of police service.
"Mark had a lot of one-liners," said the Rev. Terry Keehan during the funeral's homily. "One of them was, 'Don't lose your compass.'"
With that phrase, Keehan sketched in details of Dahlem life that steered him toward a life of service as a police officer.
Dahlem grew up in a military family and attended Highland Park High School and Western Illinois University in Macomb before joining the Palatine Police Department.
"Mark dedicated his life to helping others and making a difference," said Kim, Dahlem's wife of 22 years. "He chose a field that involved situations that others would run from and endured exchanges far from pleasant."
She also shared how daughter Abby, 15, and son, Jack, 10, inherited several of their father's traits. They ranged from his sharp wit to "that ear-to-ear grin."
"Grace carried us through this past 15 months of illness, and grace will continue to guide Abby, Jack and I through rebuilding our lives," Kim Dahlem said.
Dahlem's obsession with all kinds of sports -- both playing them and memorizing stats -- was also stressed throughout the service.
"He loved sports," Keehan said. "Let's raise up this guy who played baseball in college, and then softball until he was physically unable to do so."
Palatine police Cmdr. Kyle Ingebrigston shared other aspects of Dahlem from work. They included Dahlem's nickname of "Marky-Mark" around the station to squad car rookies not being able to get a word in edgewise as Dahlem opined about general managers of Chicago professional sports teams.
"We are all honored and humbled to have known him and called him a friend," said Ingebrigston. "He always had your back no matter what," a point that Ingebrigston emphasized by saying it twice.