By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario - The life and death of Phil Poirier, former two-time mayor of Cornwall, was celebrated by hundreds of mourners at a standing-room-only funeral Saturday.
Poirier was 68-years-old.
His funeral took place at St. Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church on April 12.
A mix of family, friends, local residents, and politicians gathered for a solemn ceremony delivered by Reverend Jerome Pastores. He expressed the shock of Poirier's passing, which could be felt by many in attendance.
Pastores said he met Poirier for the first time two weeks before he died on Tuesday, April 8. Since August he was battling a rare form of cancer.
"I didn't believe it was his time," he said.
The reverend was called back two days after to read Poirier his last rites at the Cornwall Hospice.
"I saw a different Phil, he couldn't speak," said Pastores.
Even at the end when he could no longer talk, he wouldn't give in; as the priest read a prayer, Poirier's lips mouthed the words.
For many, this small moment is a testament to his level of commitment, which was at its peak when it came to family, friends, and the City of Cornwall.
"If you were given just one moment to see for yourself the many people here - Phil, you were loved and you do not die alone," he said.
Poirier was the former proprietor and president of Poirier Business Machines.
The eulogy was given by Gib McIntee, a friend of Poirier's for 51 years.
"It was obvious Phil enjoyed being mayor and he thoroughly enjoyed talking about it after his terms were over," said McIntee.
He described the last few weeks spent with Poirier as a period of reflection for the long-time politician, who was elected Cornwall's mayor in 1988, and again in 2003.
"To sum it up, Phil Poirier was a great lifelong friend and I was privileged to have been associated with him for all of these years. I will miss him, as will everyone else who has gathered here today."
More to come.