By Joey Cresta
Hampton Union, Thursday, April 19, 2012
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON -- Many who attended the public wake for Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney on Wednesday evening couldn't help but smile when they thought of a man they knew from childhood sleep-overs, golf outings, ski trips and other memorable moments in life.
A line of people stretched out far beyond the front door of the Remick & Gendron Funeral Home for the public viewing of Maloney in an open casket wearing his newly awarded Medal of Honor. According to those who visited, New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft and defensive tackle Vince Wilfork sent a floral arrangement and Patriots logo to be displayed at the wake alongside Maloney's never-been-washed Wilfork jersey. Wilfork was the late chief's favorite football player.
Others described television screens set up throughout the funeral home displaying pictures of Maloney and his family. It was a solemn occasion and many left the funeral home in tears, but others left with grins after sharing stories about Maloney with friends.
North Hampton resident Linda Tourtellot recalled having slumber parties with Maloney's sister and that Maloney would bring them cookies to try to win over their affections. "I think he actually did fingernails one time," she said.
Tourtellot said she and many others reminisced about Maloney's wild side from the old days, noting, "If he didn't go this way, everyone would be in shorts and Hawaiian shirts."
"He loved to golf and he loved to fish, but he couldn't golf and he couldn't fish," joked Stratham resident Kim Peirce, wife of Rye Police Sgt. Jeff Peirce, who also works part time for Greenland Police.
Kim Peirce, like Tourtellot, knew Maloney from childhood. She said that when she first moved to the area, "he was the first person who let me sit on the bus with him. I always sat with him every morning."
Peirce said it was "hard to put in words" the emotions going on inside the funeral home. She said that Maloney's wife, Peg, was doing well and speaking with guests who were helping her through the period of mourning.
As a wife of a police officer, Peirce said the April 12 shooting has reminded her of the dangers inherent to the job. She also thinks that, given the tremendous turnout at Wednesday's wake, Maloney's family is realizing the reality of the situation as well.
"People are sharing a lot of their happy memories," said Greenland Town Administrator Karen Anderson, who was among the first to enter with other town officials and the families of local police officers. "This is what makes it real though. I don't think it can get any realer than this."
Dover resident David Stockbridge, a friend of Greenland Police Detective Dave Kurkel, said all the Greenland officers are "holding each other up" through this difficult time. "You can tell it's one big happy family," he said.
According to Stockbridge, Kurkel was the officer who drove Maloney's wife to the hospital the night of the shooting and stayed by her side until 5 a.m. the next morning. Stockbridge summed up the events of the past week by saying, "A great man lost senselessly."
When asked how Maloney would react if he knew how large his wake and funeral had become, Anderson said, "He'd probably be saying, 'Enough already.'"
There are estimates 6,000 police officers may attend Maloney's funeral today at Winnacunnet High School.