NYPD widow Stephanie Diller delivers powerful eulogy at husband’s funeral


“Stephanie knew how good a man he was; Monday just proved it to the rest of the world.”

— Father Michael Duffy

Stephanie Diller stood before mourners at a funeral mass for her late husband Saturday morning in Massapequa. And she delivered a surprise eulogy about the love of her life, Jonathan Diller, who died a hero to New Yorkers.

In a composed but emotional delivery, she told those in the church that Jonathan had already been a hero to her and the couple’s 1-year-old son, Ryan. She stood up to speak because she wanted the world to know a bit more about Jonathan outside of his police uniform.

She recounted their courtship and marriage, spoke about how he would do anything for a laugh — and that it was no surprise to her he was such a remarkable cop.

Because he was such a remarkable man.

“This is devastating,” she said. “It’s a devastating, senseless and tragic loss for so many … It’s a shame that someone who brought so much positivity to the world was given such a negative ending.”

“It breaks my heart that Ryan was robbed of getting to grow up with his dad.”

She said Jonathan’s most cherished role in life was that of a father.

“I will never forget the look on his face when our son was born; I don’t think we could ever achieve a greater happiness,” she recalled.

“And Jonathan was so excited that Ryan’s first word was ‘Dada,’ and I remember I would playfully try to get him to say ‘Mama’ instead,” she said, fighting back tears. “But now I never want to stop hearing Ryan say Dada to me.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better partner to have a child with.”

As she spoke inside St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, some tens of thousands of police officers from across the U.S. stood at attention, not just outside the church, but for miles around.

“Our lives were pretty much perfect until five days ago when our lives were changed forever,” Stephanie continued inside, cameras rolling as her eulogy was broadcast across the nation.

“It breaks my heart that Ryan was robbed of getting to grow up with his dad,” she said. “But I am eternally grateful that Jonathan made me Ryan’s mother. Because his son is just like him, always making people smile.”

“It’s hard to imagine how long I have to wait to see Jonathan’s again,” she said. “When the doors to heaven open for me one day I hope to see Jonathan there, looking at me just like he did on our wedding day.

“Jonathan, Ryan and I don’t know how we are going to live without you. Rest in peace, Jonathan, the man who captured my heart and now all of New York’s.”

Jonathan Diller, 31, a three-year, decorated NYPD veteran from Massapequa Park was shot and killed in broad daylight during a traffic stop in Far Rockaway, Queens, on Monday.

Jonathan Diller and his wife Stephanie with their 1-year-old son, Ryan. (courtesy photo)

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Police Commissioner Edward Caban also delivered powerful speeches during a funeral mass presided over by the Rev. Michael Duffy.

Father Duffy had married the couple in 2019, when he was a pastor in Malverne.

“Tens of thousands outside are mourning a brother in arms, but Stephanie and Ryan are mourning their everything,” Father Duffy said during a sermon that followed the Catholic Gospel reading.

“Stephanie, you have been an inspiration to everyone here and everyone outside since the very beginning of this disaster,” he said, addressing Diller’s widow in the front row as she clutched her baby.

He then harkened back to their early romance and burgeoning love.

“She knew how good a man he was; Monday just proved it to the rest of the world.”

In his funeral speech, Mayor Adams called Diller “a hero to all New Yorkers and all Americans.”

“We have to dig deep to find purpose through this pain,” he said. “The outpouring of grief for this young man is real. And it is raw.”

Adams then recounted what had happened on Monday in Far Rockaway.

“Even with the acknowledgment that he was shot, he fought and took the gun out of the hand of the person who would take his life,” he said. “He saved lives.”

A retired NYPD member himself, Adams also made a pledge to the city’s police officers, saying the job is much harder now than it was when he wore the uniform, especially in the face of critics.

“You’re inundated every day with those who are loud but they are not the majority,” he said. “New Yorkers love you and and support you. Don’t let anyone make you believe otherwise. The vast majority of New Yorkers share your vision” of a city of “law and order.”

“We’re going to make sure you have what you need to do your job,” Adams pledged, “making sure that violent career criminals are held accountable for their crimes.

“Please join us as we turn this painful moment into a purposeful moment.”

Stephanie Diller, in her remarks, also called for change, a change she said never came after two other NYPD officers, Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora, were killed two years ago in New York.

“How many more police officers and how many families need to make the ultimate sacrifice before we start protecting them?” Stephanie Diller said. “I don’t wish this type of pain on anyone. Jonathan lived his life doing good for people and it’s now time for people to start doing good for all the officers he represents.”

Commissioner Caban, in his eulogy, announced a posthumous promotion for Diller to Detective 1st Grade — to a standing ovation. Diller’s new shield number, he said, is 110, which is also Ryan’s birthday.

“What Jon loved most in life was being Ryan’s dad,” Caban said. “And I promise you, he won’t miss a moment. On Ryan’s first day of school, Jon will be there. When he picks up that first lacrosse stick, his first hockey stick, Jon will be there. When he brings home his first report card and it says ‘Ryan is just like his Dad,’ Jon will be there.

“And in your quiet moments … remember Jon was there always.”

New York City Mayor Eric Adams at Saturday’s funeral procession in Massapequa. (Credit: Andrew Theodorakis)

Diller, of Massapequa Park, was a three-year NYPD veteran. He was shot while conducting a traffic stop. The fatal shot entered Diller’s torso, beneath his vest, police said.

He later died at Jamaica Hospital.

Guy Rivera, a 34-year-old Queens man with a lengthy rap sheet, was charged Monday morning with murder of a police officer, attempted murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, authorities said.

Police say Rivera was the passenger in a car driven by Lindy Jones, 41, when officer Diller and a second NYPD officer approached the car, which was idling at a bus stop around 5:50 p.m. Jones, of 45- 19 Rockaway Beach Boulevard in Queens, was charged with criminal possession of a weapon.

Citing law enforcement sources, the New York Post has reportied that the two men were “believed to have been planning a robbery when Diller and other cops intervened.”

Diller was laid to rest Saturday afternoon at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale.

All photos by Andrew Theodorakis of GLI/Yellow House Images

The line of police officers at Jonathan Diller’s funeral stretched to Merrick. (Andrew Theodorakis)

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