Funeral held for Ocala police chief killed in plane crash

Friends, family remember Ocala Police Chief Greg Graham

A funeral was held Friday for Ocala Police Chief Greg Graham, who died Sunday in a plane crash.

OCALA, Fla. – A funeral was held Friday for Ocala Police Chief Greg Graham, who died Sunday in a plane crash.

Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn said he expected a large turnout for the fallen police chief.

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“We’ve had people across the country California New York that have reached out with their condolences and have donated anonymously to a charity in his name or have paid for some part of the funeral & that’s a true testament of who he was,” Corie Byrd, spokesperson for the Ocala Police Department said.

During the funeral, pictures showed Graham’s life story and his adventures and his love for the community.

His children, also first responders, shared their stories about their father on stage Friday.

“My dad is my favorite person in the entire world and I quite don’t know what I’m going to do yet without my daddy,” Kaylyn Graham said.

“I know right now he knows that he can rest easy because I got this. Thank you all for being here,” Tyler Graham added.

Guinn and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody were among the speakers.

“One of the best decisions that I’ve ever made was picking up the phone and called Greg to come back to Ocala to be our chief. It wasn’t one of the best -- it was the best decision I’ve ever made as mayor,” Guinn said.

Graham led the police department since 2012, but his career with the department dates back to the 1980s.

”He loved Ocala and Ocala loved him," Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said.

Ocala Police Department Deputy Chief Mike Balkin called Graham “one of the greatest lawmen I’ve ever known.”

“He was a true mentor, a true leader (and) a forward-thinking professional,” Balkin said.

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Full honors were presented in front of the church following the service. This included a 21-gun salute, taps and a presentation of the flag.

About the Authors:

Ezzy Castro is a multimedia journalist on News 6's morning team who has a passion for telling the stories of the people in the Central Florida community. Ezzy worked at WFOR CBS4 in South Florida and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Being from Miami, Ezzy loves Cuban coffee and croquetas!