Courtney Hooser is getting married in September. But her father, Santaquin Police Sgt. Bill Hooser, won’t be there.

“I’m completely broken,” she said, fighting emotions during her father’s funeral. “My dad no longer gets to walk me down the aisle. ... I will never understand why this happened.”

On Monday, family members, co-workers, city and state leaders, as well as police officers from across the state and across the country, paid their final respects to Hooser, who was killed in the line of duty a little over a week ago.

During an emotional ceremony in Orem at Utah Valley University’s UCCU Event Center, the two personas of Bill Hooser were remembered — “Cop Bill,” the by-the-book law enforcer who became the best instructor the Santaquin Police Department ever had and revamped how new officers are trained in the field; and “Bill Bill,” or simply “Dad,” a dedicated husband, father and grandfather who, when he wasn’t working, loved being in the outdoors and with his family.

“My dad loved being a girl dad,” his oldest daughter, Shayle Terry, told the congregation. She recalled how her father went to every dance recital and gymnastics practice she and her sister had, learned all the cheers of their cheerleading squad and would go dress shopping with them for dances.

She also recalled how her father met his future wife, Kinda Edwards, at a young age, and how the two quickly became inseparable.

“She was his world, and he was hers,” Terry said.

And when it came to his job, “Being in law enforcement set his soul on fire.”

The most emotional speech of the ceremony came from Hooser’s youngest daughter, Courtney Hooser, who said she had been filled with anger, sadness, grief and confusion since her brother-in-law, also a police officer, arrived on her front porch on the morning of May 5 to deliver the tragic news.

“It will be a day I will never forget,” she said while trying to hold back her tears.

Courtney Hooser said in preparing a speech for the funeral, she ended up scrolling through old text conversations with her father.

“I keep wishing for just one more story for him,” she said. “My dad is nothing short of a hero. I’m so grateful to be raised by such an admirable man.”

Ashley Dowd, Bill Hooser’s niece, asked the crowd to give her uncle one last round of applause, which turned into a standing ovation as the clapping from the audience echoed throughout the arena.

From a professional side, Santaquin Police Lt. Mike Wall called Hooser “irreplaceable.”

“Bill was about as squared away as you could get as an officer,” he said, while also calling him a “phenomenal” field training officer. “He really cared about making sure those (young officers) were squared away and kept them safe and returned home to their families.”

Wall said Hooser wanted all the officers he oversaw to serve at the highest level.

“Bill demanded excellence and he would not stop with anything less,” he said. “It saddens me to know no matter how hard I look, or how far I go, I will never be able to replace Sgt. Hooser. He truly, truly was irreplaceable. A peacekeeper, a friend, and really was a one-of-a-kind guy.”

Santaquin Police Chief Rodney Hurst echoed those sentiments, calling Hooser “the best field training officer I’ve ever seen” who “personally revamped the entire training program.”

But Hurst says over the past couple of weeks, he also learned of the special bond Hooser had with his wife and daughters, and he admitted he is “envious” of the relationship Bill Hooser had with his wife Kinda.

“I am so inspired by the Hooser family,” the chief said.

Even Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said the tight bond between the couple was evident from the first time he spoke with the family.

“To hear Kinda, Bill’s wife, talk about their love affair, their first date when she was 17, how scared she was, when there was hard times in their family, when they lost their job and didn’t know what to do and where to go and found the law enforcement community and their calling and their purpose. We lost a good one,” the governor said of Hooser.

Cox also recounted how there’s nothing like having to make the call to a family who has lost a loved one in the line of duty.

“I hope no one ever has to make that call and I wish I never had to make that call and, at the same time, I wish everyone got an opportunity to listen in to that call,” he said Monday.

But Cox said even after receiving the horrible news, the Hooser family never second-guessed the late career switch Bill Hooser made. Instead, his wife told the governor during his call to her, “We are a law enforcement family.”

“There was so much courage and strength on that call. ... They didn’t lament that he chose law enforcement, that the very calling that they found their place ended up costing them their husband and father, that wasn’t their lament. They were so proud of what he did and how he did it, and the other people who do it. I hope all of us can leave better people today and more committed to finding our own calling,” the governor said.

“Sgt. Bill Hooser is a hero. My prayer for all of us is we will learn from his life.”

Police officers from across the state formed a cordon of honor stretching from the events center and across the parking at the conclusion of the services. A procession led by dozens of bagpipers and drummers led Hooser’s casket, draped with an American flag, to the awaiting hearse. From there, a long police escort would take the casket to Hooser’s final resting place at the Santaquin City Cemetery.

Highway overpasses were lined with servicemen and servicewomen saluting the fallen officer. The streets leading to the UCCU Center in Orem and on Main Street in Santaquin were lined with blue ribbons American flags and residents honoring the man who helped keep their community safe.

“This kind of stuff just doesn’t happen here,” said Sean Steele, who has lived in Santaquin for 27 years. “We’ll let them know we back the blue.”

Steele lives across the street from the Santaquin City Cemetery, where hundreds of first responders brought Hooser’s body to rest on Monday afternoon.

Ray Campbell of Santaquin was “heartbroken” about Hooser’s death. “It has put a cloud over our whole community,” she said. “I’m sad it took all this to happen for us to all be loud about our support for police officers.

At the gravesite, Hooser was honored with bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace” and a 21-gun salute.

“Just a sobering reminder of that thin blue line that stands between us and the bad guys and the people that are willing to step forward and serve and pay the ultimate sacrifice,” Cox said. “It’s just been remarkable to see the depth of sorrow and the height of compassion as people have all come together to help them, not just the family but the chief of police, the mayor and the other officers, to see the other agencies step up so they can have time with their families to mourn, that’s pretty impressive.”

Hooser was born in Cleburne, Texas. He was the second of seven children. His family moved to Utah in 1984. Hooser’s first “real job” was framing, his family said. “He gained a passion for building and carpentry. He built furniture pieces to rival master craftsmen.”

But about 10 years ago, while living in New Mexico, Bill joined the volunteer reserve deputies for the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office and developed a passion for service. It was then he decided to make a career switch and become a police officer.

Hooser started his police career eight years ago with the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office in New Mexico. In 2017, he returned to his native Utah and became an officer with the Santaquin Police Department. In February, Hooser, 50, was promoted to the rank of sergeant.

On May 5, while assisting a Utah Highway Patrol trooper with a traffic stop involving a semitruck and 53-foot trailer, Hooser was killed when police say the semi driver intentionally rammed into both his police car and the trooper’s vehicle and also hit Hooser.

“The suspect made a U-turn abruptly, deliberately hitting officers and intentionally hitting both vehicles. He also struck the Santaquin officer, causing fatal injuries,” said Spanish Fork Police Lt. Cory Slaymaker.

The suspected driver, Michael Aaron Jayne, 42, was arrested a few hours later in Vernal after allegedly stealing another semitruck and two other vehicles. He was hospitalized with injuries he suffered after crashing on U.S. 40. Jayne was released from the hospital and booked into the Utah County Jail on Saturday. As of Monday, formal charges had not yet been filed against him.

Family members said Hooser wasn’t even scheduled to work that Sunday morning but had agreed to fill in for another officer.

Without mentioning him by name, Cox on Monday called Jayne “an evil human being” and “despicable,” while also honoring the officer and UHP troopers who risked their lives that day.

“There are heroes all among us every day doing this kind of work,” he said while encouraging Utahns not to take for granted the unsung work that officers do every day.

Contributing: Emma Everett Johnson