Procession will escort fallen deputy to memorial service

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kalamazoo County sheriff’s deputy killed in the line of duty over the weekend will be honored with a funeral procession and memorial service Sunday.

The memorial service for Ryan Proxmire, who has been posthumously promoted to sergeant, will begin at 1 p.m. at Miller Auditorium. Doors will open at 11:30 a.m. The memorial service will air on WOOD TV8 and stream on

Ahead of the service, a procession starting at 11 a.m. will escort Proxmire and his family to the auditorium. People wishing to pay their respects may stand along Stadium Drive between 9th and Howard Streets.

“Sunday, we’re going to have a celebration of life (for) a deputy, a law enforcement officer, a servant leader in our community, who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Chief Vernon Coakley said. “This is certainly an opportunity for the community to pay their respects.”

Drivers are advised to expect traffic along Stadium Drive and around the Western Michigan University campus. Those attending the memorial service should get to the auditorium via Oliver Street. The I-94 off-ramp at 9th Street and the US-131 off-ramp at Stadium Drive will be closed during the procession.

“We’re hoping that that will have an opportunity to have light traffic through these areas of our cities and the county of Kalamazoo,” Coakley said.

A private family service will precede the procession. There is no public visitation.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered flags lowered to half-staff on Sunday to honor Proxmire.

“We all strive to make the kind of lasting impact that Deputy Proxmire had in his nine years with the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s department,” Whitmer said in a Friday statement. “Deputy Proxmire was a staple in Kalamazoo County, and his passing leaves a tremendous hole in the hearts of so many people who had the chance to know him personally. The Michigan and United States flags will be lowered across the state to honor Deputy Proxmire’s memory and serve as a reminder of the incredible sacrifices that men and women in uniform make every day. My heart goes out to his family, friends, fellow officers, and the entire Kalamazoo community.”

Proxmire was shot the night of Aug. 14 south of Galesburg while chasing a suspect who was firing from his fleeing van. The deputy died the next day at the hospital.

The suspect kept leading other deputies on a chase until he crashed into a field south of the village of Climax, There, authorities say, he got out of his van and started shooting again. Deputies returned fire and the suspect died.

—News 8’s David Horak contributed to this report.

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