Fallen cop's family, colleagues gather to remember her
Deputy Barbara Pill's funeral closed local streets
WEST MELBOURNE, Fla. — Family, friends and Brevard County Sheriff’s Office deputies gathered Tuesday at the Calvary Chapel Melbourne to honor Deputy Barbara Pill's life and service.
Pill was remembered today as someone who dedicated her life to law enforcement and to protecting others.
"This day is much more about the way Deputy Barbara Pill lived than the way she died," said Brevard County Sheriff Jack Parker. "We have a choice in this world as to how we wish to live this life. Some choose to enrich themselves. While some choose to enrich the lives of others. Barbara's choice was the latter. And she spent every opportunity she had serving others and making their lives safer and better."
Pill's family also spoke at the service, including her son Ryan Pill.
"My mom never failed us, she was always there for us and loved us unconditionally, she had many rules, she had many rules that she excelled in," said Ryan Pill. "As a mother, she would kiss our wounds as we fell, but she insisted we get back up. As a wife, for more than 30 years, she always loved and supported our dad. As a grandmother she cherished and spoiled my daughter every chance she got."
Pill's funeral was held on Tuesday at 10 a.m. at 2955 Minton Road in West Melbourne.
A procession from Fountainhead Funeral Home, in the 7300 block of Babcock Street, commenced at 8:30 a.m. and traveled north on Babcock Street to U.S. 192, or New Haven Avenue. It then turned westbound on U.S. 192 and traveled west until reaching Minton Road, where it proceeded southbound until reaching the Calvary Chapel Melbourne.
BCSO notified motorists of traffic stoppages and delays along the funeral processional route. The route closed in the directions specified to all vehicle traffic between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Minton Road, between Eber Road and U.S. 192, also closed in both directions at the same times.
Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi attended the service, as well as more than 4,000 mourners. Seating within the sanctuary became limited and an overflow area within the campus was established to house additional attendees with a live feed from the sanctuary.
The public were welcomed at both the church and along the processional route.
"We welcome the public," said Major Mike Demorat. "They make up the community we serve and they are welcome to attend the service here. There's going to be a lot of law enforcement officers, a large procession of law enforcement and motor deputies. They're going to be escorting the family members, so if they line the route, that would be really welcomed."
Many people lined the 8-mile stretch of the route whether they knew Pill or not. Many of the mourners said they wanted to pay tribute to the deputy who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Kathryn Johnson said her husband, who is a Melbourne Police Officer, was one of the first responders to the scene of Pill's fatal shooting and feels she needs to support law enforcement.
"To support the law enforcement," said Johnson. "They do the most to help everyone and they get the least recognition."
Other said this is an important reminder about what law enforcement goes through everyday.
"Everytime an officer goes out we know they put their life on the line," said Jim Frye. "We all should thank an officer on a daily basis for all they do for us, to protect us. And that's what she did for 30 years."
The service lasted an hour and a half.
No graveside services were conducted.
A trust fund has been set up for the family of Pill. Anyone who would like to make a donation can do so at any SunTrust Bank. Donors can make check or cash donations to "The Pill Family Benefit Trust."
Reprinted with permission from WESH