HPD officer gets sendoff full of love
Harry Coelho was stricken by a heart attack while trying to break up a fight
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A police officer who died from a heart attack while trying to break up a fight last month touched many lives, friends and family said.
More than 100 police officers lined Maunakea Street outside the funeral parlor where services were held yesterday for Sgt. Harry Coelho.
Coelho, who also was an assistant pastor at Once a Month Church, was eulogized as a family man with a passion for life and a love for God.
"He lives in each and every one of us," said Coelho's son, Matthew, who said his father was a teacher, mentor and leader.
Coelho is the 42nd Honolulu police officer to die in the line of duty.
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Three things remind Roy Ogasawara of his friend Honolulu Police Sgt. Harry Coelho, who died last month in the line of duty: his friendly smile, his warm handshake and a big bear hug.
"(Those) were his trademarks," said Ogasawara, deacon at Mililani Baptist Church, in Coelho's eulogy.
Hundreds gathered downtown yesterday for services at Borthwick Mortuary to remember Coelho, the 42nd Honolulu police officer to die in the line of duty. More than 100 police officers stood in formation on Maunakea Street during the service.
Coelho, 48, collapsed and died of a heart attack after trying to break up a fight during a church service he was attending at Haleiwa Beach Park on May 20.
"He fell to his knees," said Pastor Roy Valenciana of Once A Month Church. "He died trying to protect the well-being of the people in the church. ... He didn't hold back when he had to protect the flock."
Coelho was taken to the Wahiawa General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
"That's Harry. That's exactly how I would expect Harry to go. He'd be trying to help somebody and then he'd be gone," said Mitch Dudoit, a pastor of My Father's House Ministries.
Coelho worked for the juvenile services division in the police department and moved to Honolulu from Whitmore Village recently because of health problems, Valenciana said.
Honolulu Capt. Frank Fujii said, "Harry was an impact person. Once you met him you were given a gift."
Coelho was a born-again Christian, family and friends said. He became assistant pastor at the Once A Month Church about six months ago along with his wife Janet.
He also helped at several ministries, trying to bring God to the people in the community, said Dudoit.
Coelho graduated as a three-sport athlete from McKinley High School in 1976 and went to Oregon to play football for Linfield College. Coelho stopped playing football after a knee injury and graduated in 1980 with a degree in sociology, Fujii said.
He returned to Honolulu to chase his dream of becoming a police officer and joined the department in 1985, Fujii said. He was promoted to sergeant in 2003.
HPD Detective Dwight Sato attended McKinley High School with Coelho and remembered him as a varsity running back on the football team.
"He led by example. He wasn't one to yell at people. You see him play harder, you play harder," Sato said. "I never heard a bad word about him. He was a true gentleman."
Coelho is survived by his wife Janet, his mother, son Matthew, daughter Maya, sisters Tracie Coelho and Yvonne Sasano, and brother Dexter.
His ashes will be scattered at 8 a.m. Saturday at Magic Island at Ala Moana Beach Park.