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Hundreds Honor Westchester's First Probation Officer In White Plains

William E. Mounteney, the first probation officer in Westchester County, was honored in a formal ceremony and a monument placed on his grave..
William E. Mounteney, the first probation officer in Westchester County, was honored in a formal ceremony and a monument placed on his grave.. Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- William E. Mounteney, appointed 100 years ago, helped establish best practices in probation, but sadly died a pauper and was buried in a Kensico Cemetery grave that remained unmarked until Thursday.

In a morning ceremony, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and Commissioner of Probation Rocco Pozzi, unveiled a monument that was placed on Mounteney’s gravesite.

With funds raised from the Westchester County Probation Officers Association, the monument reads “William E. Mounteney, 1874-1963, First Probation Officer, Westchester County, N.Y., Appointed 1915.”

In a second, more formal afternoon ceremony, a full program of prominent speakers was held at the Westchester County Courthouse in White Plains to honor Mounteney and to celebrate the Probation Centennial.

“Mr. Mounteney may not have had any blood relatives outlive him, but he has 200 members of a probation family today that know of him and appreciate all he did to establish best practices in the important work of probation.," Astorino said. "It’s nice to think that Mr. Mounteney, a former pastor, is looking down on us today with gratitude that he’s being remembered 52 years following his passing and 100 years following his appointment."

Prior to becoming a probation officer, Mounteney had a 20-year career in ministry that took him to churches in upstate New York, New York City, New Jersey and Westchester. He was also an award winning chicken farmer and volunteered during World War I at age 43 to serve in the American Expeditionary Services as an overseas secretary in Europe.

“I believe that… one of the great duties of the present-day citizen is to lift the ideal… lay aside bigotry and prejudice… practice the art of optimism,” Mounteney once said. “This is the best country in all the world. It is going to be a better country – better than our fathers hoped, better than we ourselves have dreamed.”

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