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Retired Paramus Police Captain, 90, Recalled As Fair, Dedicated

The late Paramus Police Capt. Emil Setmayer at this year's Fourth of July parade. Photo Credit: COURTESY: Paramus Police Department
The late Paramus Police Capt. Emil Setmayer. Photo Credit: COURTESY: Paramus PD
"Set" Photo Credit: COURTESY: Paramus Fire Department

PARAMUS, N.J. -- Retired Paramus Police Chief Fred Corrubia wasn't on the job long after joining the department in 1972 when a sergeant caught him listening to a Yankee game outside the old E.J. Korvette's (now Kohl's) on Route 4.

The sergeant made him see Capt. Emil Setmayer to get his transistor radio back.

"I thought: 'Oh, no, I'm gonna lose a day's pay," Corrubia recalled Thursday night, after learning that Setmayer died Wednesday at 90.

Corrubia's radio was on Setmayer's desk when he walked into the captain's office more than 40 years ago.

"I was only listening to the Yankee game," the young officer told the thoughtful veteran.

"He then went through all the things that could have happened," Corrubia said. "It was like getting a lecture from your grandfather.

"He didn't yell, he didn't punish me. He just said: 'You gotta pay attention out there. You could get yourself hurt or not be able to help someone else.'

"He got his point across."

Known to friends as "Set" and "Cap," Setmayer lived in Paramus all his life.

The World War II Army veteran became a borough police officer in 1947 -- and stayed in the job for 39 years --retiring in 1986. He also was a volunteer firefighter and past chief with Fire Company #3. He remained a company member for 70 years.

Setmayer was a lifetime member of VFW Post #6699 and American Legion Post #170, both in Rochelle Park.

His dedication to protectors of the public was unwavering, Paramus Police Chief Kenneth Ehrenberg recalled.

"He never ever missed a police or firefighters fundraising event or a police or dinner or anything that involved police getting together to help or honor their own," Ehrenberg told Daily Voice Thursday night. "Every Fourth of July parade, every Memorial Day parade -- he was there.

"He insisted on being at the Fourth of July parade, not even two weeks ago, in his wheelchair," the chief added. "He said he didn't want to miss it.

"He was involved right to the very end."

Fair but firm best describes his police captaincy, Corrubia noted.

"You'd go into his office expecting to be yelled at or punished," the former chief recalled. "Set would say 'I'm putting this in my file and will deal with it later' -- then he'd let it go.

"He treated us all like family," Corrubia said. "He'd listen to all sides of the story and always do the right thing.

"You have to respect a man like that. A leader like that molds many fine careers."

Setmayer was pre-deceased by his wife, Gloria Dato, and siblings Max and Margaret. He and Gloria had two daughters, Jacquelyn Setmayer and Deborah Maletic (and her husband, Eno), as well as a granddaughter, Tara, and her husband, Marcelle.

Visiting hours were scheduled from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Friday at the Vander Plaat Memorial Home , 113 South Farview Avenue in Paramus.

A funeral service was set for 10 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home, followed by interment in George Washington Memorial Park in Paramus.

Memorial contributions in Setmayer's memory may be made to the Soft Body Armor/Vest Fund at the Paramus PBA Local No. #186, P.O. Box 1186, Paramus, NJ 07652 and/or Paramus Fire Department Company #3, 198 W. Midland Ave, Paramus, N.J., 07652.

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