Watch Widow Deliver Emotional Eulogy for Slain N.Y. Deputy

April 23, 2024
Caitlin Hoosock, the widow of Onondaga County Sheriff's Lt. Michael Hoosock, told thousands of mourners what she'll miss most about her fallen husband in a tearful eulogy during his funeral.


Onondaga County Sheriff’s Lt. Michael “Hootch” Hoosock was remembered in many ways on Monday, but perhaps most powerful was by his wife, Caitlin, who talked about him as a husband to her and a father to Nicole, Gabriel and Samuel.

“You constantly brought up the best in all of us,” she said.

Caitlin shared that her husband loved his job and put in plenty of hours, but he always found time for his kids.

He taught his boys how to fish and his daughter how to ride a bike. When Caitlin was away, he let them wear pajamas all day and eat ice cream for dinner. He took them to Monster Jam and Kidz Bop.


Michael Hoosock, 37, was one of two police officers ambushed and shot to death last week by a gunman armed with a semi-automatic assault rifle. Syracuse Police Officer Michael Jensen also died in the incident. Jensen was buried Saturday after a service at his family church in Rome.

Hoosock was mourned by thousands on Monday at the state fair Expo Center and later buried at Assumption Cemetery in Syracuse.

Watch Caitlin’s tearful eulogy above and read the transcript below:

You’ll have to bear with me. I’m not really a writer. My copy editor hasn’t had the chance to proofread this one. All throughout my recent schooling, Mike would read and intensely edit anything that I submitted with a fine-tooth comb, and he is, for sure, the biggest reason I have been able to excel. So needless to say, this won’t be perfect.

Hello to all family and friends gathered here today, the family especially. Thank you to each and every one of you who sent texts, emails, called or stopped by with hugs, food and just words of encouragement. It was greatly appreciated.

We come together today for a great loss, but also in celebration of a life greatly lived and dearly loved. For those of you who might not know, I’m Cait, the eternally proud wife of an extraordinary man, Michael, who to most was better known as Hootch, who I’ve been fortunate to know and to love for the last 12 years. He was my best friend and biggest cheerleader, even when he was Superman to everyone else. When Mike and I both started dating, friends called him (inaudible) for all of the number of things that he had already achieved, and since then he’s advanced a few levels and had some certifications since then.

Hootch had already been a superhero when I met him for quite some time. He had saved a few lives and gotten some awards, but that didn’t seem to matter much to him. He wasn’t in it for the awards. He did it for the joy of doing the job. He was in it for the highs and the lows and the wins and losses. He was a humble, down-to-earth guy. He would fill the room with infectious laughter and excel at useless tasks or sporting events like bowling or trivia knowledge, and his historical dates were impeccable. He would take me bowling on dates and I would lose miserably while he bowled spares and strikes.

Throughout our time, he’d tell me bits and pieces about work, but the Operation Impact Crew definitely had some of the best stories. I would sometimes be put into suspense for days or weeks when Mike would come home from a D watch shift and wake me up to tell me the story, but fall asleep mid-sentence, telling me a story about whatever you guys were doing, like an odd traffic stop, or ‘it’s OK, his heart is still beating story.’ For those of you who wouldn’t understand the reference, that’s OK. A lot of Mike’s stories were almost like inside jokes, those “you had to be there” moments. But I think those made all the stories all the more interesting, and now mean so much to everyone.

The loving son to Dan and Cindy, brother to Danielle, good friends to everyone at St. Daniel’s, and then on to a jokester and a firefighter at Lyncourt, then moving to Moyers Corners and eventually getting his paramedic and working at Rural Metro while applying for civil service jobs and ultimately securing his (inaudible) job.

I remember him telling me stories that, looking back, he felt like such a screw-up on his first days, but I knew that wasn’t true. He went on to train for his bomb tech, and as usual he became really good at that, too. I could tell how much he enjoyed that, and I even got to see some things blown up a couple of times. He was stressed about promotional exams, training people and the interviews, and this only showed me how dedicated he was to bettering himself and the others around him.

He was kind to people and made them want to be better, and he seemed to know everyone and couldn’t go anywhere without knowing someone or getting phone calls from someone.

He often pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me go out even when I didn’t feel equally. He supported me unconditionally for years of school and new jobs and adventures and kids, and even the days when I wanted to pull my hair out, he would come home from work and immediately give me a break. Then on the especially hard days, he even promised to give me a weekend where he could get that 24-hour nap that I might need. When we all saw him excel at his career, he made sure that I knew coming home was all that mattered.

He loved his job and put in plenty of hours, working nights, on-call weekends, call-ins, call-outs, fire department calls, but he also made sure to be up for Little League games, ‘Polar Express’ and meet grades with the teachers, or even special nailpolish dates with Nikki. He did his best not to miss that evening. He was also the one who would plan 5Ks and plan to go on and a handful of trips. And while I still had to pack the bags for everyone and make sure everyone had underwear, he would plan the details of the trip to the tee so that we had the best time. For those who wondered what kind of dad he was, he was the fun dad, the tickle monster at bedtime, the PJs all day while mom was at work, the “let’s get ice cream for dinner” and planning whatever fun adventure we can go on. He made the best plans, like Monster Jam and Kidz Bop, and he brought joy to all the little moments. His love for me and how he always showed it is instilled in his children.

And by the way, I still don’t think it’s fair that they look just like you. Especially over the last few days. Nikki will run up to make sure that I’m OK every time I start to cry, and Sam comes up with unexpected kisses and hugs, and Gabe has been offering all kinds of distractions.

The boys are most proud that he taught them to fish, but now I might actually need to touch a worm. And Nikki is most proud of the fact that you taught her to ride a bike. And let me say that weekend was probably the most running Mike had done in recent years.

Yes, we will miss you. You constantly brought up the best in all of us, but I will be sure you live on in this world by encouraging your mini-me’s to be the best part of you that they have already started to become. And I’ll also hope that we can all strive to be the kind of selfless, inspiring, genuine and charismatic person that Hootch was.

I’ll leave you with this quote: “Bravery is not the absence of fear but action in place of fear, even when you’re afraid of spiders.”


©2024 Advance Local Media LLC.


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