Patrick J. Conroy, 83, of Northeast Philadelphia, a retired Philadelphia police officer, died of cancer Monday at Holy Redeemer Hospice in Philadelphia.

Mr. Conroy served in the Police Department for 24 years. He received several commendations, including for the capture of five burglary suspects, and was active in the Fraternal Order of Police. To support his nine children, he also operated a wallpaper-hanging business. After retiring from the force in 1974, he was a groundskeeper for the Philadelphia School District for 15 years.

He volunteered in the library at St. Casimir School in South Philadelphia and was active with its home and school association. He was a former Democratic committeeman in South Philadelphia and was always helping neighbors in need, Mr. Conroy's relatives said. It was appropriate he died on Christmas Eve, they said, because he loved the season and the Christmas spirit.

Mr. Conroy dropped out of Bok Technical High School in Philadelphia to help support his family and later earned a general equivalency diploma. During World War II, he served in the Navy in the South Pacific.

In 1947, he married Emma Bloemker. She died in 1991. He married Florence Chase in 1992 and moved to the Northeast.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Conroy is survived by sons Gerard, Richard and Michael; daughters Patricia, Catherine, Bridget, Margaret Mary, and Noelle; stepsons Leonard, Gary and Scott; 40 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren. A daughter, Isabella, died in 2001, and a stepdaughter, Alison, died in 1994.

A Funeral Mass will be said at 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. Christopher Church, 13301 Proctor Rd., Philadelphia. Friends may call from 6 to 9 p.m. today at the Givnish Funeral Home, 10975 Academy Rd., Philadelphia, and after 10 a.m. tomorrow at the church.