James P. Monaghan, a former state trooper and Bel Air police chief, died March 14.
James P. Monaghan, a former state trooper and Bel Air police chief, died March 14. (HANDOUT / HANDOUT)

James P. Monaghan, a former Bel Air police chief who earlier had been a Maryland state trooper, died Tuesday of lung cancer at his daughter's Fallston home. He was 93.

The son of Michael Monaghan, a Koppers Co. worker, and Mary Monaghan, a homemaker, James Patrick Monaghan was born in Wicklow, Ireland.


Mr. Monaghan, his mother and several of his siblings came through Ellis Island in New York Harbor in 1930, en route to Baltimore to be reunited with their husband and father, who had arrived earlier.

They lived on Regester Street and Mr. Monaghan attended city public schools. He later earned a General Educational Development certificate and studied law at the University of Baltimore.

Mr. Monaghan entered the Army in 1942 and served with the 101st Airborne in Europe. He landed behind enemy lines on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and was wounded two days later. He was wounded a second time in 1945 in Belgium.

He was discharged in 1945. His decorations included a Purple Heart, European-African-Middle East Service Ribbon, Distinguished Unit Badge and the Good Conduct Medal.

In 1946, he became a Maryland state trooper and was originally assigned to the Eastern Shore. He was transferred to the Kennedy Highway barracks in 1965 and settled with his family in Bel Air, where he lived for the next 52 years.

At the time of his retirement in 1977, he had attained the rank of second lieutenant. In 1978, he was appointed Bel Air police chief, a position he held until retiring for a second time in 1985.

From 2000 to 2010, he worked for Daniel McDonnell, his son-in-law, owner of Caliber Homes, delivering supplies to job sites.

He was a lifetime member and a past commander of American Legion Post 39 in Bel Air.

Mr. Monaghan was an avid golfer and a member of Winters Run Golf Club. He also enjoyed carving decoys.

His wife of 60 years, the former Diane Rosina Rayne, died in 2008.

Mr. Monaghan was a communicant of St. Margaret Roman Catholic Church, 141 N. Hickory Ave., Bel Air, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Saturday.

He is survived by his daughter, Patricia Diane Monaghan McDonnell of Fallston; three brothers, Michael Monaghan of Carney, William Monaghan of Coconut Creek, Fla., and Dennis Monaghan of Orlando, Fla.; a sister, Norah Monaghan of Essex; three grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. A son, James Patrick "Ricky" Monaghan, died in 2001.