At the funeral of Sheriff Terry Marketti, the hundreds of people filling the church Tuesday morning sang in harmony, but they were not singing church hymns.
Marketti's loved ones said their final goodbye to his favorite song, Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline."
"We would like everyone to join in Terry's favorite song," said Mark Jorstad, a long-time friend of Marketti.
On cue, the people packed in the church rose to their feet, some swaying to the music and others raising their hands in the air, when "Hands touching hands" was sung.
"I think he heard us," said Jorstad before the room filled with the sound of clapping.
Marketti died in his sleep of natural causes in the early morning hours of Friday, Dec. 14. Coroner John Callahan said the sheriff had been fighting medical issues.
Marketti's wake was held Monday afternoon and through the evening. People waited in a line that went out the door of the church to give their respect. The wake and funeral were held at St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Marketti's hometown of South Wilmington. He was then buried at Braceville-Gardner Cemetery in Braceville.
Honor Guard members of the Grundy County Law Enforcement Managers Association served as the pallbearers. They carried Marketti out of the church, passing hundreds of people who watched through their tears. Marketti's casket was draped with an American Flag.
Grundy County Judge Lance Peterson, a colleague and friend of Marketti's for about 20 years, gave the eulogy for his late friend. A job that he called "the greatest honor I've ever been bestowed."
"When I think about the number of people in this church here, and the people lined out the door yesterday, I realize we all know what a special person Terry Marketti was," he said.
Peterson said one of the qualities that made him so special was how important his family, friends and profession were to him.
Marketti was a member of the Grundy County Sheriff's Department for 34 years.
"Terry did everything at the sheriff's department from sweeping the jail, to hunting down murderers like Edward Moore, to holding its highest position," Peterson said.
This was why he always stood behind his employees and co-workers, he said, because he worked every job they did.
Marketti took over as sheriff when his boss and best friend Jim Olson suddenly died. It was a difficult time for him and the entire community. Now as the county faces another loss, Deputy Chief Kevin Callahan has stepped up just as Marketti did, Peterson said.
The late sheriff served on numerous boards for charities and local organizations throughout the years, such as Operation St. Nick, the No Tolerance Task Force, village boards for South Wilmington and Gardner, Gardner Fire Protection District, Grundy Area P.A.D.S., We Care of Grundy County, plus many more. He was generous with his time and in donations to these organizations, other charities and to individuals.
Peterson reminded the grieving of the good times he and others shared with Marketti.
"All his work and all his dedication he put in is one thing, but everyone who knew Terry knew
along the way he had fun," he said.
There are many stories to share, but "first, there is not time, and second we're in church and we will have to wait for the Legion Hall," continued Peterson, getting knowing laughs from the crowd.
But there were two things this successful man could not do.
"He couldn't say no, and he couldn't sing. The problem is no one told him he couldn't sing," said Peterson, reminiscing about Marketti singing "Sweet Caroline" and Johnny Cash songs whenever given the chance.
Marketti's heart and humorous personality drew people in.
"His sense of humor and infectious laugh made him someone you wanted to be around," Peterson said.
And once you were around him, you were sure to hear about his family, he said. He often shared stories about his brother, nieces and nephews. Peterson said Marketti's love for them was apparent to anyone who knew him.
Peterson described his friend's life as short, but a life Marketti fully enjoyed.
"The biggest part of Terry was his heart," he concluded.