1000s remember Father Lloyd, Halifax police chaplain

Thousands gathered Friday to say goodbye to an honourary inspector who served with the Halifax police as Chaplain for 47 years.

The funeral for Lloyd O'Neill, a 47-year veteran of the force, filled two churches Friday

Both St. Agnes Catholic Church and St. Theresa's Rectory were filled for O'Neil's funeral service. (CBC)

Thousands of people gathered Friday to say goodbye to an honorary inspector who served as chaplain with the Halifax police for 47 years.

The turnout for the funeral of Father Lloyd O'Neill, known by most simply as Father Lloyd, filled St. Agnes Catholic Church so quickly a second church, Saint Theresa’s Rectory, was opened for the overflow. A video stream of the service connected the two.

Lloyd O’Neill died Monday of natural causes. (Submitted)
O’Neill died Monday of natural causes.

RCMP officers, police, correctional officers and friends all had stories of father Lloyd — but no one better than his brother Joe.

"He would give his coat to anyone. And by mistake one day he gave the monsignor's leather jacket to a poor man on the street,” he said. "That did not go over well."

O'Neill's work was difficult. He would comfort a mother who lost her son in a car crash. 

He was also there to comfort and provide support in the wake of the Westray Mine explosion that killed 26 coal miners and the Swissair Flight 111 tragedy that killed all 229 people on board.

Joe O'Neill had wonderful stories to tell about his brother Lloyd. (CBC)
"When you were in his presence and he was talking to you, there was nothing else. He was there and worried about you genuinely," said Bill Moore, deputy chief of the HRP. "He just had that quiet, calming effect. You knew that there was someone really caring about you."

Once, O'Neill was called during a hostage situation in Halifax that the police were having difficulty with.

Joe O'Neill said his brother talked the knife-wielding man out of the house and onto the veranda while a dozen police officers watched.

"Lloyd got the man settled down a little bit, put a bear hug on him, put him on the ground and held him until the officers came. Lloyd said ‘Officers, look after this young man.'"

Joe said he didn’t know what 'good' meant until he heard the stories about what Lloyd did for people.