ANCHORAGE - Those who knew him said that, more than anything else, Glenn Godfrey was a joy to be around. Hundreds of people considered him a friend. The state's law enforcement community looked up to him. He had faith in God and cherished his four children and dozen grandkids more than just about anything.
Understandable, then, that when his son, Glenn Godfrey Jr., sobbed during his tribute to his dad, there were few other dry eyes inside the Anchorage Baptist Temple on Friday afternoon.
More than 2,400 mourners filled the East Anchorage church to give their last respects to the retired Department of Public Safety commissioner.
The ceremony drew the very top from state and local government, as well as former government officials and U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens. Also paying respects were contingents from other Alaska police departments, the military and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Except for the high emotion expressed by nearly everyone who spoke during the 2 1/2-hour service, the event had all the trappings of an official state memorial service. An Alaska State Trooper color guard marched in the American and Alaska flags. Contingents of various police agencies sat stiff in their formal uniforms behind the altar. Gov. Tony Knowles ordered state flags flown at half staff for the day.
The recently retired Godfrey was shot to death Aug. 3 in his Eagle River home. Anchorage police said the shooter, 33-year-old Karen Brand, also shot and wounded Godfrey's wife, Patricia, and then took her own life. Investigators have said that Brand was distraught over the end of a relationship with Glenn Godfrey during a time he and his wife had been separated.
Patricia Godfrey remained in serious condition at Alaska Regional Medical Center. Plans had called for her to watch the ceremony on television. But state trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson said she decided at the last moment against viewing the proceedings.
The circumstances surrounding Godfrey's death were barely alluded to, as when speakers would say, in the general sense, that Godfrey was like any other person - not perfect.
Rather than dwell on the death, speakers at the afternoon memorial remembered Godfrey as a law enforcement leader, a Native leader and a friend and a father.
"He was never too macho to give us kids a big bear hug or give us boys a peck on the cheek," said his youngest son, Gerad Godfrey. "He always let us know he loved us."
The service ended with Godfrey's 12 grandchildren gathering outside the church. Led by their family pastor, the Rev. Kent Redfearn of the Muldoon Community Assembly of God, the youngsters recited the Lord's Prayer, then let loose white helium-filled balloons.
Godfrey - an Aleut who grew up in Kodiak - retired earlier this year to accept a position with Koniag Inc., the Native regional corporation for the Kodiak area. Godfrey had been a board member since 1989 and board chairman since 1996.
Juneau Empire ©2013. All Rights Reserved.