Ontario Provincial Police Const. Marc Hovingh faced each day with “bravery and resolve” and was “nothing short of heroic,” OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique told mourners attending the funeral service for the 52-year-old officer on Saturday.
“I stand before you today with a broken heart, asking myself how, how it is possible to be so sad but yet so proud at the same time,” Carrique said.
“We are grateful and forever indebted to you for your service.”
Hovingh died last week in the line of duty on Manitoulin Island, located about 180 kilometres southwest of Sudbury, Ont.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the funeral — being held at the high school in the First Nations community of M’Chigeeng — is by invitation only. The service is being livestreamed online, and some Manitoulin residents are watching the livestream together at a drive-in in Little Current. The service began at 1 p.m.
Premier Doug Ford is attending the funeral and is set to speak, as well as family and friends.
In his opening remarks at the service, Joel Lock remembered Hovingh as someone who “gave completely of himself to neighbour and friend.”
Hovingh died on Nov. 19 following a shooting in Gore Bay. A civilian involved in the shooting also died. Sudbury police, as well as the province’s Special Investigations Unit, are investigating what happened.
Following an autopsy in Toronto, Hovingh’s body was transported back to Manitoulin Island on Monday, escorted by OPP vehicles. A visitation was held on Friday at Mindemoya Missionary Church, where Hovingh was a parishioner for 20 years.
Community members are remembering Hovingh as a devoted Christian, community member and father. He served as an OPP officer for 28 years.
Colleague and friend Marie Ford remembered Hovingh as someone with an “unparalleled” sense of humour, as well as someone who “supported the underdog.”
She said Hovingh’s care for his community “went hand in hand with his work as a constable.”
“Over the past week, I have heard numerous stories about Marc and the loads of little things he did to help brighten people’s day. I never knew about most of them, because Marc didn’t need credit,” Ford said.
“If we could all be a little more kind to one another, if we could be a little more humble and if we could do things, kind things, when no one was watching, I am sure that our little corner of the world would be brighter.”
Hovingh is survived by his wife, Lianne, and children Laura, Nathan, Elena and Sarah.
“It’s to Marc’s family who he held dearest that we ache with words we cannot express,” Lock said.