‘The Ultimate Partner' — Fallen SJPD Officer Mike Katherman Remembered as Loving Father, Husband and Son

Thousands gathered at SAP Center in downtown San Jose for a memorial service to honor Officer Michael Katherman, who was killed in an accident a week ago.

Katherman's co-workers, family and friends remembered him as a loving husband, father and colleague, someone who was just as passionate about riding bikes as he was about protecting his community, about playing baseball with his kids as he was about patrolling South Bay neighborhoods on his motorcycle, He loved his work, San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia said, calling Katherman the "ultimate partner."

"Mike died doing what he loved: Riding a motorcycle patrol," Garcia said.

A motorcade arrived to the arena at 10:27 a.m. after a roughly 12-mile trip from the Darling & Fischer Chapel of the Hills funeral home in Los Gatos.

Hundreds of officers in uniform stood in two long rows as the procession arrived. Behind the hearse carrying Katherman, more officers came in police motorcycles flashing red and blue lights.

Two San Jose fire trucks extended their ladders to hold an American flag outside the center's entrance at West Santa Clara and South Autumn streets.[[383837491, C]]

Katherman, 34, was fatally struck by a minivan about three miles away from the arena at North 10th and Horning streets on June 14.

Katherman was on a police motorcycle heading north and was hit by the minivan as it was making a left turn to Horning Street. The driver stayed at the scene and cooperated with the investigation, police said.

Katherman was an 11-year veteran of the department who leaves behind his wife, April, and two children, Josh and Jason.[[383840261, C]]

About a dozen flower arrangements, including one that read Katherman's badge number 3900, were placed on and around the stage inside the arena.

Pictures of Katherman through the years were displayed on the Jumbotron.

"Mike was a very passionate person, he was always 'all in'... Mike's passion for defending the residents of San Jose: All in," said Katherman's father Tom Katherman.

The ceremony began at 11:13 a.m. with an honor guard playing bagpipes followed by Katherman's casket and family.

"He doesn’t want us to be sad ... He wants us to rejoice. He wants laughter," said Myke Whittington, Katherman's friend from the police academy.

"To Mike's family, we cannot begin to imagine the anguish and loss you're going through, however we do feel your pain ... We hope you truly know and feel that you're part of our family,"said San Jose Police Assistant Chief Dave Knopf.

Garcia talked about what he learned about the officer in the past week.

The chief said he didn't personally know Katherman, but called him an "exceptional cop and an even better man."

Through conversations with Katherman's friends and family, Garcia said he learned the officer had a "zest for life," sense of humor and strong Christian faith.[[383774081, C]]

"He was the ultimate partner and you knew you would be safe with him," Garcia said.

In a video montage shown during the memorial, Katherman thanks his wife for helping him become a San Jose police officer.

"She had my back from Day 1... I think at times she was more excited that I was becoming a police officer than I was," he says, smiling, sitting next to his friends.

After the service, a procession took place through Interstate Highway 280 and U.S. Highway 101 to a Gilroy cemetery.

Outside the SAP center, Katherman was honored with a flyover and final salute, as the American fly was flown high.

People lined up on the freeway to wave flags and catch a glimpse of the motorcade escorting fallen SJPD officer Mike Katherman to a private burial in Gilroy.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the Katherman family. As of Tuesday evening, 208 people had raised $34,215 of a $100,000 goal. 

Riya Bhattacharjee contributed to this report.

Fallen Officer Michael Katherman’s, Dad Tom Katherman speaks at the memorial service.
The memorial service for fallen Officer Michael Katherman at SAP Center in San Jose.
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