Gordie Howe’s life and legacy celebrated at Detroit funeral

Hockey icon Gordie Howe, center, is shown in a 1963 file photo huddled near the boards with teammates during a break in a game between the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens. Howe died early Friday morning. He was 88. Howe is regarded as one of the best hockey players of all time -- known for his toughness, durability and scoring acumen. (AP file)

DETROIT (AP) – Hundreds of people, including Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky and Gary Bettman, bid farewell to Gordie Howe at a packed, two-hour funeral service in Detroit.

Gordie Howe’s son, Murray, began the service with a eulogy Wednesday that emphasized his father’s toughness and generosity. He also shared a story that brought smiles and laughter from the mourners. “Well, my dad leaned in close to Maureen and looked around to make sure that nobody else was listening and he said I know where Jimmy Hoffa is buried and Maureen said “you do?”, said Howe. “And he said, in the ground.”

The service was held at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, about six miles from the home of Howe’s longtime team, the Detroit Red Wings.

Dozens of fans stood in line a couple hours before the funeral, which was streamed online by the Red Wings. The cathedral, which hosted Pope John Paul II in 1987, has a capacity of about 900.

Murray Howe has said his father’s remains will be cremated. The family requested donations be made to the Gordie Howe Traumatic Brain Injury Initiative, the Howe Foundation or the Gordie Howe Fund for Alzheimer’s Research.

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