‘He’s the mayor of heaven now’
Rob Ford eulogized as man of the people
Rob Ford, Canada’s bestknown former mayor, was eulogized Wednesday as a consummate politician and loving father whose serious personal failings garnered international notoriety but only passing mention on a day devoted to saying a final goodbye to him.
In a packed downtown cathedral, family, dignitaries and members of the public paid their respects to the leader of “Ford Nation,” who captured as much attention in death as he did in life.
“He’s the mayor of heaven now,” Ford’s daughter Stephanie, 10, told the service as her younger brother Dougie stood by her side. “He helped a lot of people. He was also an amazing dad.”
Ford, a loved-or-loathed larger-than-life politician, became a certified celebrity in light of his admitted crack cocaine use, alcohol abuse, lewd comments and at times outrageous behaviour that transformed his mayoral office into an unprecedented spectacle.
It was left to Rev. Andrew Asbil, rector of St. James cathedral, to note the improbable heights of both adulation and infamy that Ford scaled as mayor.
“You and I, no matter how hard we try, will never have the same notoriety nor popularity nor household fame as Rob Ford,” Asbil said in his homily.
“Very few of us in this room know what it’s like to carry the burden of living your failings and your weaknesses in such a public way as Rob Ford. And — this is important — very few of us will know what it’s like to experience the love and admiration of so many for the work that we do in the same way as Rob did.”
Ford, whose clarion call was “time to stop the gravy train,” died last week at age 46, 18 months after a cancer diagnosis scuttled his bid for a second term as mayor, although he easily won election as a councillor in his west-end ward.
For two days this week, he was granted the rare honour of lying in repose at city hall, where thousands filed past his Toronto-flag-draped casket.
On Wednesday, a procession saw him leave city hall one last time for St. James, where scores who were unable to get inside waited patiently on the lawns.
Evelyn Cappelli, among those who made it into the service, called Ford “a man for the people.”
Rob Ford’s son Dougie cries into his mother Renata’s coat as he watches his father’s casket being placed in the hearse following a funeral service at Toronto’s St. James Cathedral on Wednesday.