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Funeral services held for decorated 100-year-old Canadian fighter ace

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Funeral services were held Friday morning for Second World War fighter ace James "Stocky" Edwards in Courtenay, B.C.

Edwards was a decorated Canadian fighter pilot who died on May 14 in his home just three weeks shy of his 101st birthday, with his wife, Toni, and close friends by his side.

James 'Stocky' Edwards was widely considered Canada’s greatest living fighter pilot. (Submitted)

Prior to the service at Christ the King Catholic Church, Edwards' daughter, Dorothy Edwards, shared some of her memories of her father with the media.

"It's a really sad day. He's my dad and he's not here now, but he was a hero when we needed heroes and now we need them again," she said.

Dorothy called her father an inspiration and noted that the funeral was being attended by many military personnel and friends who also admired him.

'DID EVERYTHING HE COULD'

Edwards was active in various charities and outdoor activities right up until his death.

"I think that he passed happily knowing that he did everything he could," said Edwards.

"Almost all [his interests] had the outdoors in common and the environment," she said. "He was a hunter and a fisherman and a painter. He had a whole lot of [passions], more than hobbies because he did them so well and for so long."

Edwards was well known internationally for his achievements, even being decorated several times by both Canada and France.

He was known for being humble, and his daughter says his children were unaware of their father's heroic past.

James 'Stocky' Edwards

"We didn't know at all about his heroism during the war and when we started to ask he would just pass it off," she said. "He was humble but proud in a very, very quiet way."

It wasn't until her father was approached by others that Edwards and her siblings realized the details of Edwards' past.

"People started just coming to seek him out from all over the world, really. He would accommodate everyone. He would do that with strangers that were interested," said Edwards.

Two Canadian military CF-18s jets and a Cormorant helicopter conducted a flyover above the church as Edwards' casket was being moved Friday. 

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