A community said goodbye to Provincial Constable Marc Hovingh on Nov. 28, sharing stories about the kind and caring man that he was.
Marc Hovingh, a 28 year veteran of the Ontario Provincial Police died on Nov. 19 in a shooting on Manitoulin Island.
Friends, family and co-workers gathered on Saturday to say their final farewell to Hovingh, while pulling back the curtain on the type of officer, friend and family man that he was.
The terms "mountain of a man" and "gentle giant" were used by many who spoke at Hovingh's funeral at Manitoulin Secondary School.
Hovingh's wife Lianne thanked everyone in attendance and those who have sent their condolences in the wake of the tragic death of her husband.
"Thank you for what feels like an ocean of prayers," said Lianne. "We as a family have felt no anger with regards to Marc's death...whatever it is that anger and outrage is helping you accomplish, love will do a better job. I truly feel that if the world wants to see what love looks like right now, they just need to look at Manitoulin Island."
Lianne shared a story that was emailed to her the day after Marc passed, by the son of an old family friend who had gone on a ride along with Hovingh.
On two occasions Hovingh had pulled over a motorist and knew who they were; one of whom had been having a tough year and the other's wife was pregnant, and on both occasions Hovingh let them off with a warning.
"He pulled over a third car that day and I asked 'what's the point if you're just going to let him go?'" said Lianne, reading from the email.
Hovingh's response, as told by Lianne through the email was as follows, "I could go and write five or six tickets a shift if I really wanted to. It comes down to this, when I pull someone over I have no idea what their day had been like, good or bad. If I write that ticket, which some people deserve and will get, it will completely change their day. So if I have a chance to make that person's day better by letting them off with a warning, sure I'll get heck from a boss down the road, but I will never put stats about the welfare of the people I've been blessed to serve."
Hovingh's brothers Al and Hans both spoke about their "little" brother, with Hans recalling what a kind and gentle person Marc had been for as long as he'd known him.
"He was a man of kindness, of gentleness and of love," said Hans. "He was always ready to drop anything to help someone. He loved his pets all of his life, I'd often catch him snuggling with his pet rabbit, Bun-Bun."
Both brothers spoke of Marc's sense of humour and love of laughter.
"He loved to laugh, whether it was to laugh with you or at you," said Hans. "He wasn't afraid to be different."
Emotional and tear-filled remarks were shared by one of Hovingh's longtime colleagues, Mary Ford, who spoke of Hovingh's character and love for the water and his time working as an OPP marine operator.
"Marc was true to himself, he didn't need to be promoted and he didn't need accolades," said Ford. "Marc, you are a hero, we love you and we miss you."
Ontario Provincial Police commissioner Thomas Carrique was stoic, but heartfelt in speaking of his fallen comrade.
"Thank you to Lianne, Laura, Nathan, Elena and Sarah (Hovingh's children) for the honour and privilege to honour Marc," said Carrique.
"I'm here with a broken heart, I'm so sad but so proud at the same time; proud of the manner in which Marc served his community. I feel gratitude to Marc for his dedication to duty, yours was a meaningful life."