The Friendly Funeralista

Two Families Well Served

Posted on: January 19, 2011

The City of Toronto came to a standstill yesterday for the funeral of  Sergeant Ryan Russell, a beloved member of the Toronto Police Service.  Sergeant Russell was killed on January 12, 2010 by a man driving a stolen snowplow.  The driver of the snowplow was apprehended and charged with first degree murder.  Ryan Russell leaves behind his wife, Christine, their 2-year-old son, Nolan, his parents, Glenn and Lynda, and his sister, Tracy.  

The full honours police funeral procession included officers on horseback, The Toronto Police Pipe and Drum Band, a shrouded police cruiser, and 12,000 police personnel from the Toronto Police Service and other police services from all over North America marching on foot.  In the first video you will see that the Toronto Fire Service has provided a canopy for the procession as it makes its way through Toronto’s financial district.  The second video provides footage from the entire procession.  Torontonians, although perceived by much of Canada to be a heartless lot, came out in droves to honour this fallen officer and to bear witness to the human cost of public safety. 

On a personal note, I was pleased to hear that colleagues at the Jerrett Funeral Home were looking after the Russell family.  Funerals for fallen officers involve much pomp and ceremony and high levels of protocol.  Sometimes the family can get lost in all these big plans.  The Jerrett directors clearly remembered that their first responsibility was the grieving family and advocated as necessary to ensure that the wishes of the family were honoured.  Yesterday’s funeral had a good balance of tributes for Ryan the husband, dad, son and friend, and Sergeant Russell, the fallen officer.    It  looked to me like both families, the Russell’s and the Toronto Police Services, were well served.

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