Marc Bence/For Metro Edmonton
«It was important to set aside the evil that took him away and concentrate on the life he had.»
The photos displayed inside Memories Funeral Home yesterday told uncountable stories of Robert Michael Brodyk.
Hundreds of friends and family members — more than the chapel could seat — gathered round, remarking on Brodyk’s jovial character and general "love for life."
Here was Bob on his wedding day, looking just as he did when he died last week at age 56 — maybe not quite as grey, but the smiling, moustached face was the same.
Here was Bob the Oilers and Eskimos fan, the party man who women feared to dance with, for he’d spin his partners around, "he’d send you flying," with exuberance hard to match.
Here was Bob the patriarch, father of two daughters and a son who sadly passed away of leukemia at 5 years of age, and whom Brodyk joined at Holy Cross Cemetery.
"He was buried right next to his son’s grave," said John Strikwerda, Brodyk’s brother-in-law, who offered a eulogy at the Catholic service.
"I’m hoping for the words Father Len spoke and Father Les spoke — that all of us will show more loving in our lives and try to change this wicked, vicious world that it is sometimes into a better place," said Strikwerda.
"It was important to set aside the evil that took him away and concentrate on the life he had."
But the pain of Brodyk’s passing on Halloween was still fresh for his mourners, brimming with unspoken anger. The violent manner of his death — murdered in his home with his own baseball bat, as police believe and are investigating — was "senseless," undeserved for such a gentle soul who had no known enemies, and "wouldn’t hurt a fly."
Many questioned the change in Edmonton society, wondering what criminal element had robbed them of their right to feel safe.
"People talk about closure," said Strikwerda. "I don’t know what closure is. I think it’s a meaningless word.
"But I think all of us would like to see a conclusion to the investigation for two reasons: one, that this person doesn’t do this to someone else, and two, to answer to the law.
"That’s our hope."