Dozens of uniformed animal control officers braved the 41-degree temperatures Saturday to pay their respects to Roy Marcum, who died in the line on duty on Nov. 28 in Galt while retrieving pets believed abandoned in an eviction.
The 43-year-old Elk Grove resident was married to his wife, Tina, and had four children between them.
At the memorial service, held at the Liberty Towers Church of the Nazarene, many of those not wearing uniforms donned Oakland Raiders garb in honor of Marcum’s favorite football team. His youngest daughter, Jackie, quietly distributed homemade lapel pins made of Raiders ribbon.
In the half hour before the service, her mother, flanked by law enforcement chaplains, greeted every person who entered the door with a kind word. Garth Brook’s “The Dance” played over and over.
“Glad I didn’t know the way it all would end, the way it all would go,” the singer crooned. “My life is better left to chance.”
Outside, animal control vehicles lined the parking lot. Many dignitaries, including Supervisor Don Nottoli, attended the 90-minute, standing room-only service which included several eulogies from those who loved Marcum most.
Jackie Marcum read of stories about her dad, the man she called her best friend. He once let her take home a one-month-old pitbull mastiff puppy that she begged to keep; it ultimately went into foster care.
“If it wasn’t for him, a lot of animals would be on the street, homeless, starving or dead.” Jackie Marcum said through heavy tears.
On the service bulletin was a picture of Petunia, fondly referred to by some as Marcum’s second wife. The rescue dog went to work with the officer daily, including the fateful day last month when she sat in his vehicle during the entire ordeal.
Roy Marcum earned straight A’s through high school and college, and joined the U.S. Air Force, where he served for 10 years. As a military officer, he guarded nuclear silos.
But it was when he returned to his hometown of Sacramento that Marcum met the love of his life, Hernandez said.
His future wife shared his love for rescuing animals. When the time came, Marcum proposed to his wife with a restaurant plate with the words “Will you marry me?” written in chocolate. They married in Hawaii.
The Marcums’ wedding song — “Amazed,” by Lonestar — played as loved ones’ sniffles became audible.
In his spare time, Marcum was an outdoorsman who loved to camp and was a part-time backyard mechanic, a hobby he bonded over with his son, Roy, Jr.
Marcum worked as an animal control officer for 14 years. In that time, he interacted with both Galt police officers and local citizens, according to Galt Police Chief William Bowen.
The Sacramento County Animal Control officers patrol just under 1,000 square miles and are on the job 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. They also respond to approximately 1,600 calls a month, ranging from dog bites, loose animals, injured animals in distress, animals locked in cars and animal abuse cases.
The Nov. 28 call was supposed to be routine. Police believe Joseph Corey, who turns 66 today, fired a shotgun through his front door that killed Marcum.
“Today, he would want us to celebrate his life,” Hernandez said Saturday. “He would tell us his murder has no place here.”
Sgt. Craig Walton, who attended the service, reportedly had to be pulled off Marcum by paramedics while fruitlessly trying to give the officer CPR. Marcum was pronounced dead at a nearby church.
“Roy dedicated his life to helping people and animals with the work he performed on a daily basis. I have to believe he is now reunited with all of his pets that have crossed over before him,” David Dickinson, director of the county’s Animal Care and Regulation Department and Marcum’s boss, said.
“While working with Roy, I learned that there was practically nothing he would not do to get the desired result when helping the animals in need. He was always the guy that would work longer or take on extra shifts when manpower was low. Our department is now one man down, but never forgotten.”
A memorial fund was opened to support Marcum’s family. Donors are asked to make their checks payable to “Memorial Fund for Roy Marcum.” They can be submitted to Premier West Bank, 9340 East Stockton Blvd., Elk Grove, 95624. For questions, call 916-685-6546.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at email@example.com.