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Friends and family say goodbye to "kind and gentle giant" Marc Hovingh

A community said goodbye to Provincial Constable Marc Hovingh on Nov. 28, sharing stories about the kind and caring man that he was.

Marc Hoving, 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. "I've felt no anger...whatever you're dealing with, love will do a better job than anger."

Lianne shared a story of a ride along that she took with her husband, chuckling at how Marc's supervisor had prodded Lianne to push her husband to write some tickets while out on patrol.

On two occasions Hovingh 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. "He told me that he didn't know what that person was going through and what kind of day they were having and that he had a chance to make their day better by letting them off with a warning."

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 love for the water.

"He worked as a marine operator, he loved to go out on the water," 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 privelege 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."