Phil Trexler

Some from the funeral procession snapped pictures or shot video. One child waved while some police officers fought tears.


It took less than a minute for the mourners of retired Officer Frank Mancini to pass by the Harold K. Stubbs Justice Center in downtown Akron. But the memory of dozens of police officers standing at attention along South High Street will last much longer.


Mancini, 72, died Monday after spending most of his life as a quadriplegic from a bullet wound that paralyzed him in 1965. On Friday, Akron officers gave Mancini a final salute.


The officers were supported by other city workers, judges, City Council members and Mayor Don Plusquellic and his staff.


Police Chief James Nice was visibly moved by the showing. He said some from the procession said “Thank you” as they drove past.


“It does choke you up,” Nice said.


“It’s hard to see something like that and not be moved. Officer Mancini was somebody who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the Akron Police Department and the citizens of Akron.


“He spent his life paralyzed and still died at too young of an age. It’s heart-breaking and I can tell you, there’s not an officer in the department that doesn’t realize what Officer Mancini gave to the city.”


Mancini died Monday morning at Summa Western Reserve Hospital in Cuyahoga Falls from complications of pneumonia.


He was shot April 10, 1965, along with Officer Eugene Hooper and reserve Officer Harold Wintrow while trying to stop two armed robbers. Hooper died, and Wintrow and Mancini were paralyzed.


One shooter, now 72, remains in prison. An accomplice who cooperated with prosecutors was released in 1977.


Mancini, paralyzed from the chest down, remained close to his fellow officers. They called him brave, humble and modest. The Frank Mancini Award is given annually to civilians who assist police officers in acts of heroism.


Friday’s procession began at the Clifford-Shoemaker Funeral Home in Cuyahoga Falls and made its way through downtown Akron toward its final destination, Holy Cross Cemetery.


A line of saluting officers spread from University Avenue north toward the Summit County Courthouse.


“I thought it was a beautiful way to honor someone’s service to the community,” Ward 4 Councilman Russel Neal Jr. said.


Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or ptrexler@thebeaconjournal.com.