A funeral service was held Saturday afternoon for an Ontario Provincial Police officer killed in the line of duty last week on Manitoulin Island.

Const. Marc Hovingh is remembered as a dedicated and kind husband, father, and officer who took pride in serving his community.

Hovingh funeral

“Marc loved life and he loved to live life well. He loved to laugh like we all know. He could laugh with you, he could laugh at you and he could laugh at himself. In the midst of the tough and trying times he was able to bring you joy and laughing,” his older brother Hans Hovingh said at the service, which took place at Manitoulin Secondary School in M'Chigeeng First Nation.

The hearse carrying Hovingh’s body was led into the school by several officers and followed by Hovingh’s wife, Lianne, and his four children.

Family and friends gathered for the service wearing masks and physical distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ontario Premier Doug Ford, along with Solicitor General Sylvia Jones and Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell, also attended the private funeral, which was streamed live for the public to watch.

OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique spoke on behalf of the police force and acknowledged and thanked Hovingh for his 28 years of service.

“I stand before you today with a broken heart. Asking myself how, how is it possible to be so sad but yet so proud at the same time. Feeling so sad and empty inside at the tragic loss of Marc while at the same time immensely proud of provincial Constable Marc Hovingh and both humbled and honoured to be a member of the OPP,” Carrique said.

Hovingh funeral

Hovingh’s long-time friend and colleague OPP officer Marie Ford said Hovingh had a “tremendous presence” and always “supported the underdog.” She also told his family that the OPP will always support them.

“Lianne, Laura, Nate, Sarah and Elena, if you look around this room and see the people in uniform they are my brothers and sisters and I know they would do anything for me. They are your family too and we will always be there for you,” Ford said in an emotional speech.

Hovingh’s wife was the last family member to deliver a speech during the service. She thanked the OPP, the community and the public for what she said “feels like an ocean of love and prayers that has gently covered us and comforted us.”

“We live in a broken world. This became very real to our family on Nov. 19 when the unthinkable happened and we lost Marc, my husband and best friend, the amazing father to our children, family and friend to many and respected and loved colleague,” Hovingh said.

Hovingh funeral

She added that her family has felt “no anger since Marc’s death” and that the community on Manitoulin Island has come together during this difficult time.

“I won’t pretend to fully understand why it took a tragedy like this that has affected so many people to reveal this outpouring of love but I will trust that there is a reason I am not writing the story and god is,” she said.

The service ended with a flag presentation by OPP officers and a recessional.

Hovingh funeral

Police forces across the province took to social media on Saturday to pay their respects to Hovingh and his family.

The OPP West Region tweeted "South Bruce OPP is keeping the Hovingh family in our thoughts as we say goodbye to Constable Marc Hovingh today. Rest easy Marc, you served with honor and we will always remember you as a hero in life.”

And the Niagara Regional Police Service tweeted "Today, we honour the sacrifice of OPP Constable Marc Hovingh as he is laid to rest. While we can’t gather to mourn with our police family, we are gathering virtually to support his family and friends. Marc will be remembered."

SIU continues to investigate incident on Gore Bay

Hovingh, 52, died on Nov. 19 after an incident on Manitoulin Island that also resulted in the death of a civilian.

Hovingh was one of the officers who responded to a call for an unwanted person on a property on Gore Bay.

Manitoulin Island shooting

When officers arrived, they encountered a man and there was an interaction, according to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).

Hovingh was shot during the incident and was pronounced dead in hospital.

The civilian was also shot and taken to a hospital, where he later died.

He has been identified as 60-year-old Gary Brohman of Gore Bay.

The SIU continues to investigate the incident.

-With files from The Canadian Press