After a two-hour memorial service attended by hundreds in the main gym and hundreds more viewing it on video in the old gym, the funeral procession slowly drove toward Cedar Cemetery with Kinterknecht’s flag-draped coffin carried on the Leapin’ Lena, an antique fire truck he loved.
By the time the funeral procession reached the cemetery, the sun had broken through the clouds and David Kinterknecht, a great cop and beloved family man, was laid to rest under a sky as bright as his smile.
Hundreds of police and fire department personnel from all over the state, many with their families, walked hand in hand and arm in arm behind Kinterknecht’s family as they walked onto the grounds. A thousand or more more paid silent tribute as they watched the procession along the route.
“It’s a sad day,” said Art Slater, who lives down the road from the cemetery and watched from across the road as the procession arrived. He said he hadn’t attended the public funeral service at the high school.
“It’s a day of remembrance and a day of sadness,” he said. “I watched it on TV, and it was touching.”
The service began with Pastor Ben Garate giving an opening prayer, followed by a eulogy by John King, Kinterknecht’s brother-in-law.
King, a Las Vegas, cop, said he and Kinterknecht had known each other since they were teenagers and in the police department’s Explorer Cadet program.
He talked about Kinterknecht’s childhood, how he loved the snow and how his baby sitter taught him to ride a horse.
“Early on, he wanted to be a policeman, but he also wanted to be a fireman,” King said. “He was a bit confused on whether to carry a gun or a hose.”
Kinterknecht’s big grin and his sense of humor were remembered by colleagues and family, often through tears and breaking voices, as they recalled the man who was so full of love.
King said his wife Denise and her brother often squabbled as kids, but David was always there to support his younger sister.
Along with the tears, there were moments of laughter. King told of how police Cmdr. Gene Lillard would drop off David at his grandmother’s house for a daylong visit.
“Gene didn’t know they both loved soap operas,” he said.
He also told the story about on a family camping trip, David took a moment to walk behind a tree and came back screaming for everyone to get in the car.
“He’d seen a bear cub, and said wherever there’s a cub, there’s a mama,” he said.
King said David was a playful person who loved to have a good time, and loved his family more than anything, King said.
“He would go out of his way for anyone who needed him,” he said.
Montrose Mayor Jose Abeyta spoke next, telling of the sacrifices law enforcement officers make every day, like missing holidays or their children’s events, or the ultimate one, the loss of one’s life.
“They make this sacrifice so we can have comforts and safety and can dial 911 if we need help,” Abeyta said. “I want to thank his family for sharing David Kinterknecht with this community.”
Montrose Fire Chief Bob Pistor said the police and fire departments were Kinterknecht’s second family.
“Look around and see the great number of police and firefighters,” he said. “All over our state, flags are flying at half mast, and David deserves it.”
Tom Chinn, Montrose chief of police, said Kinterknecht was “a leader of outstanding character, and he was humble.”
Gov. Bill Ritter then spoke, invoking his right as governor to speak for the people of the state as he addressed Kinterknecht’s wife Kathy and his daughters, Andrea and Amanda
“For David, his was the noble pursuit of justice,” he said. “He is a victor over death and pain because of the way he lived out his life.”
Next to speak was Kinterknecht’s teenage niece, Kaylee King. She smiled through her tears as she remembered her uncle.
“I’ll always remember the day we saw the bear and will never forget the look on your face,” she said.
Even though it was difficult at times for her to speak, Kinterknecht’s 16-year-old daughter Andrea spoke of what she learned from her dad. “You always said go out and make a difference and I hope I can make my mark on people like you did.”
With about 750 people standing under the trees surrounding Kinterknecht’s family seated by the grave, Pastor Garate read the 23rd Psalm and the Lord’s Prayer. A 21-gun salute followed, then a bugler played “Taps” and the bagpiper played “Amazing Grace.”
At the end of the ceremony, the flag draping David’s coffin was folded in silence and given to his wife, Kathy.